EASTER MESSAGE FROM THE GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE, (GCBC). APRIL, 2017.
Peace be with you!
Dear people of God, it is with exceeding joy that we, members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, (GCBC), greet you with the words of the Risen Christ, the same words which he pronounced when he first appeared to his disciples on the evening of Resurrection Sunday. The passage of scripture which recounts this encounter, John 20:19-29 captures, in our humble estimation, the spirit of the Easter Season and provides the basis for profound reflection for the individual Christian, for the Church and indeed for the nation.
The greeting “Peace be with you”, was pronounced three times by the Risen Christ in the passage just referred to. Each time Jesus greeted them with these words he sought to reassure the disciples who were faced with a particular threat. In the first instance, the evangelist John recounts how Jesus appeared to his disciples when these had locked themselves in for fear of the Jews. The mention of the Jews recalls the events that led to the crucifixion and the death of Christ. The disciples faced the real threat of persecution from the same Jewish and Roman authorities who had put Jesus to death. It is in this situation of fear of death that Jesus first appeared to his disciples with his message of peace. His greeting “ peace be with you” , was an indication that he had conquered death and with it the fear of death. His victory was first and foremost a victory over death in all its ramifications - physical, spiritual, moral and psychological. That was the message behind the first greeting of peace.
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