Happy Easter to one and all.
This is our heartfelt greeting at the start of this Season of Easter 2016. In the language of the Church who has undergone and suffered the long and weary time of Lent the greeting is suddenly transformed into words of joy and exultation, singing in its liturgical celebrations the â€œAlleluia, Alleluia, Alleluiaâ€ songs. In the context of the Liturgy of the Season, we greet each other with this proclamation. â€œChrist is risen; He is truly risen.â€ All these transmit the same message, the message of hope, of exuberance, of renewed vigour to again face the challenges of life and the ugly face of reality.
Easter is the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. It is safe to say that there is no other festival in any religion that is as hopeful, exuberant and full of life as this. For, it stamps a guarantee to one and all that there is after all a meaning to our human existence in this world in spite of the fickleness and emptiness of its day-to-day living; it guarantees solid hope to this world even if it is more often than not enveloped by the darkness of corruption, betrayals, dishonesty, selfishness, greed, poverty, human right violations, rising prices, political intrigues, in fighting, and what have you. We do not know where this darkness come from, but the Son of God, true light that He is (cf. John 1: 4), entered into this darkness of ours and lived with us. Truly human that He become that He was immediately engulfed by darkness, enveloped by it, attacked, vilified, betrayed, condemned, murdered as a criminal. But darkness did not quench the light. He came out of all these negativities triumphant, giving us the most glorious Festival called Easter, a transcendent attestation to all of us that humanity is worth living for. He came out of darkness and revealed to us that marvelous light of the resurrection.
However, in spite of the event as awesome as the resurrection of Jesus, man remains deeply entangled with the existential forces of darkness and the perennial problem of evil. It seems that the power of the resurrection has never made a dent on the invincibility of evil that has bound man to its tight grip. The Good News that â€œthe Christ is risenâ€ would once and for all put an end to manâ€™s earthly problems, sufferings, anguish, agony and death, but it appears to be a dud, an empty promise. As it is the Easter joy has been proclaimed with all the pomp that the Church could muster, but communities of believers, Christian families, and individual faithful are still struggling with the problems of hunger, misunderstanding in societal relations, violent separations of loved ones, hatred for one another, deceits and betrayal, sexual promiscuity and moral corruption, religious persecutions and prejudices, jealousies, pride, despondency, despair. Paul through converted to the faith and had an intense experience of the risen Lord in his life was not exempted from inwardly contending with his own personal existential problem of sin and evil that in his estimation had no end. And so, disgusted with his fate, he agonizingly once exclaimed: â€œIn my inmost self I dearly love Godâ€™s Law, but I can see that my body follows a different law that battles against the law which my reason dictates. This is what makes me a prisoner of that law of sin which lives inside my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?â€ (Rm 7:22-24).
The resurrection of Jesus has not taken away from man his suffering, heartaches, pain of separation, death. But it does implant to each one of us, that substance, that pledge, that energy, to face all kinds of trials with courage. This hope gives us this evidence that the triumph of Jesus over suffering and death, is also our triumph over suffering and death.
After all, meditating deeply into the mystery of the resurrection of Our Lord one would soon realize that the real miracles of the rising of Jesus from the dead is what it reveals, that is, the indescribable love of God. He is the tremendous lover who keeps watch over us in spite of our pettiness, our failures, our constant rejection of love, our ugliness. As John expressed it beautifully: â€œFor God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but the world might be saved through himâ€ (3: 16-17). Unconditional love of God: that is the reality revealed to us in the Season of Easter, the miracle that we should relish and with full-throated faith sing: â€œAlleluiah, Chris is truly risen, Alleluia.â€
+LEONARDO Y. MEDROSO, D.D.
Bishop of Tagbilaran