Peace be to all of you my brothers and sisters in Christ!

“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misinterpreting God, because we testified of God that He raised Christ.” (1 Cor 15:14-15)

Jesus has risen! He has finally overcome death. He has won over the enemy. The tomb is empty! God had the last laugh! He finally emerges as the victor. Easter is about Satan’s lie and God’s truth.

Yet in spite of Christ’s triumph, unfortunately we never learn. “We still are made to believe in the lies peddled by the evil one. Up to this day, we still get mesmerized and convinced of Satan’s falsehoods.” (With thanks to Fr. Rufino C. Siscon Jr.) For this Pope Francis calls our attention to “the great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, in the desolation of anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures and blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of His love is no longer felt and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us nor it is the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.”(Evangelii Gaudium 2)

This Easter Season we hear the definite conclusion of the story of Jesus: that He has overcome death… He has risen from the dead! The story of the Passion, Suffering and death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday is also a story of the triumph over justice, of evil over goodness. Jesus was falsely charged of crimes He did not commit, and unjustly sentenced to a death He did not deserve. His good friend betrayed Him, His trusted companions deserted Him and His number one man denied Him. The people He loved demanded His crucifixion and chose to have the bandit Barabbas released in His place. If that were the end of the story, that would be a bad story. We know that the story of Jesus did not end there. Christ has risen from the dead, so we proclaim, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in Him!” We rejoice because our faith in Christ has been vindicated! Truth has triumphed over falsehood, justice over oppression, goodness over evil, and lie over death. Tragedy has turned into divine comedy.

As Catholic Faithful of the Bureau of Fire Protection, I urge you to stand up for Jesus not only in religious activities but in your private and public life. Speak up for Jesus and His Church in public discussions. Do not be afraid to be identified as Catholic Christians. Thus we should not only commemorate and celebrate Christ’s victory. Rather, we should also be able to make a difference as children of the Resurrection and express our desire to share in His victory. And if we want to make this Easter celebration really meaningful, significant and relevant, we must renew our commitment to join or to be with Christ in His fight against the forces of evil, falsehood, oppression, corruption and death. Let us not grow weary in proclaiming the truth, justice, goodness with honesty and sincerity. Let us not give up on life, our life lived in Christ. Let us hold on to the faith and believe that through Christ, with Christ and in Christ, we will have our definitive victory. We stepped forth before the world with an utterly new fearlessness in order to bear witness. You have been called to be Saints. You are sent forth as Heroes. Take courage! Choose to be brave!

Finally, I wanted to take this moment to let you know that I am always praying for your safety. I also wanted to be sure to pass on my words of deep appreciation for your sacrificial service to our country as you have given so much of your time and skills to keep our people safe and protected. May St. Florian our Patron Saint be your inspiration as you dispose your sworn duties with so much dedication and commitment.

May Jesus and His Mother Mary be with you and with us all.

Happy Easter to everyone!

(signed)
REV FR (CINSP) RANDY C BALUSO, T’Ocarm
BFP Chief Chaplain