Mission Society of the Philippines

Easter Message 2024

by Fr. Reginaldo V. Lavilla, MSP



“When he (Jesus) was at the table with them, he took 

the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.  And he vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’” (Luke 24:30-32).

Dear brothers and sisters:

May our hearts be filled with the joy of the Lord’s resurrection today and always.  Jesus Christ is risen; he is truly alive.  Happy Easter to all!

The truth of Christ’s resurrection gives us a sure assurance that in him and through him, God had already been and will always be victorious over sin, suffering, pain, and death.  The light of Jesus’ resurrection dispels the darkness of this world, giving us all hope and life.  We can and should trust this truth, for the proof is already before our eyes.  We only need to allow the grace to open our minds and hearts to live in this truth.  Jesus is everything; he is the reason for living; he is the reason why we are missionaries, why we are willing to spend and be spent, to sacrifice our lives, and to be generous in giving ourselves.  In Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do all things to help build up the kingdom of God here on earth. We are sure of this, and St. Paul said, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor 15:14).

On the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), the risen Jesus wanted to give the two disciples who were crushed by the seeming defeat of their expected Messiah, a sure and lasting evidence of his victory over death and his constant presence in their midst.  He promised to be always with his disciples when he gave his great commissioning to go and make disciples of all nations, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20).

First, he taught them that he was the one to whom Moses and the prophets had spoken.  Note their interior stirrings, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

Let us not underestimate the power of the Word of God to transform the hearts and minds of people, including the priests of Christ.  Our fidelity to the Word-made-flesh and his message, guarded by the Magisterium, and putting aside arbitrary interpretation of the Scriptures, will truly bring fruitfulness in our ministry, and we will see that God’s Word has the power to command, to effect change in one’s life, and even to heal our wounded and broken souls.  Hence, when we find ourselves discouraged and feeling helpless in our work of evangelization, let us turn to the Word, and may we do it constantly and pray for the grace that the Lord will keep our hearts burning as we study, listen, reflect, meditate, and pray the Holy Scriptures.  At the same time, may we impart the same burning zeal to our brothers and sisters we serve.

Second, after Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.  After which, he vanished from their sight.  He left his Eucharistic presence to assure them that he would always be with his disciples to the end of time.  I would like to echo the words of St. John Paul II in his letter to priests, “Let us open our eyes ever wider- the eyes of our soul- in order to understand better what it means to celebrate the Eucharist, the sacrifice of Christ himself, entrusted to our priestly lips and hands in the community of the Church” (Letters to My Brother Priests, 1984).

Our missionary work finds its firm foundation and nourishment on these two tables, the table of the Word and the table of the Holy Eucharist that made up the One Body of Christ, and he who is the head supplies all the necessary graces and blessings we need to continue the missions he has entrusted to us, to go out and make disciples of all nations.  Let us just ask Jesus and pray for one thing: that each of us may continue to grow and “learn to serve better, more clearly and effectively, his presence as Shepherd in the midst of the people of today’s world!” (ibid).

Let me close this Easter message with the words of encouragement from the same St. John Paul II letter.  “We may not be ensnared by the temptation of ‘uselessness,’ that is the temptation to feel that we are not needed.  Because it is not true.  We are more necessary than ever because Christ is more necessary than ever!  The Good Shepherd is more than ever necessary! We have in our hands- precisely in our ‘empty hands’- the power of the means of action that the Lord has given to us.”

The promulgation of the 10th MSP General Assembly’s Thrusts, Directions, and Resolutions is also sent alongside this Easter message.  I pray that we will all try our best to live in the spirit of solidarity and put into flesh what we have discerned as our direction for the next five years.  Let us ask our Blessed Mother's help and intercession to guide us in our journey and bring more fruit to our missionary work.  I hope that one day, we may come to share our stories of the power and the glory of the Risen Christ working in our lives and the lives of the people we serve.  God bless us!

Fr. Reginaldo Lavila, MSP                                                                                                               

Father Moderator

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