By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD / Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection / April 4 2021
There’s a story about a young man who visited a seminary. On the walls of the corridors and bulletin boards were various posters which read: “Christ is the answer.”
Wondering what it all meant, the puzzled visitor scribbled the following below one of those ubiquitous posters: “What is the question?”
If “Christ is the answer,” what question is he answering?
Easter answers the question: after suffering, what? It also answers such fundamental questions like: What’s the meaning of life? Is life meant to be nothing but a vain struggle for a modicum of joy and satisfaction terminated by death?
Without the Resurrection, faith is meaningless Christ’s rising from death is the Father’s seal of approval on his life and work. As St. Paul puts it, “If Christ has not risen, in vain is our preaching and your believing in it” (Read 1 Cor 15,13).
In other words, faith in God, our prayers, our striving to do good would all be useless if Christ had not risen from death. As St. Paul puts it, “If He did not rise, let’s just eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”
Consciously or otherwise, this is the epicurean philosophy of some people today. They say: “Life is short. Enjoy it to the max since there’s nothing to look forward to after death.”
An atheist who has this thinking or one who does not believe in Christ’s teachings is like a man who, when he dies, is smartly dressed in the coffin but nowhere to go! But Jesus’ teaching on life after death is clear and categorical. At the Last Supper, he said: “In my Father’s house there are many mansions… I go ahead and prepare a place for you.”
Not just a historical event Easter is not just a remembrance or re-enactment of something that happened over 2000 years ago but is something PRESENT.
Hence, the death of Christ should teach and induce us to die to our old self. The person who struggles to get rid of pride, selfishness, hatred, dishonesty or give up smoking, gambling and other vices, that are anyway detrimental to one’s health and pocket, exemplifies Christ’s rising to a new life.
In the family, there is the challenge to rise to a new life. For an estranged couple, for instance, it can mean rising from the depth of their problem and starting all over again.
“You mean, I should forget everything–all the cheating, the womanizing my husband has done in the past–making a fool of me?” an aggrieved wife might say.
Yes. If the offending spouse is sincerely sorry and wants to start anew, then Christian forgiveness is demanded, in the very spirit that Christ forgave his enemies on the cross.
Joy of the Resurrection
Like Christ, we all have our own Calvary, our passion and death. But like the Redeemer, we too will know and feel the beauty, the joy of the Resurrection, if we but live it in the spirit of Christ.
If we suffer and die with Christ, if we die to our old self, then it won’t be only the resurrection of Jesus Christ but our OWN resurrection.
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THE LIGHTER SIDE. There was once an elderly priest in a religious community who was grouchy, critical and hard to get along with. One time he attended a Lenten retreat which he said was very effective. To show that he had thoroughly changed, he posted a sign outside his door which read: “Here lives a NEW MAN, the old man died and is buried.”
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Everyone in the community was happy of the conversion. But after some months, his old traits started surfacing and he was returning to his old self. So, somebody covertly wrote below the sign on his door: “But on the third day, the old man rose from the dead!”
LESSON: Human as we are, backsliding applies to all of us. Don’t get discouraged though. “If you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.”
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THOUGHTS TO PONDER.
Suddenly you realize that power, beauty and money are worthless when Covid-19 virus infects you and can’t get the oxygen you direly need.
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Better 2 meters socially distanced than 6 feet below the ground.
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You may party in Hell, but you will be the barbeque!