WITH the Holy Week celebration and all its rituals over, let us return to our normal activities, but hopefully not forgetting the messages of Easter, particularly that of Pope Francis’, about how the Catholic world, men and women alike, should stand steadfast in what the faith is really all about.
"Unlike the disciples, the women are present – just as they had been present as the Master breathed his last on the cross, and then, with Joseph of Arimathea, as he was laid in the tomb. Two women who did not run away, who remained steadfast, who faced life as it is and who knew the bitter taste of injustice. We see them there, before the tomb, filled with grief but equally incapable of accepting that things must always end this way," read Pope Francis' Easter Vigil homily.
He then made us imagine how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary must have looked like when they went to see the tomb as written in the Gospel of Matthew 28:1. Their faces must be filled with pain and sorrow, the Pope said, the sufferings from dire poverty, the contempt because they are immigrants, the deprivation, and the exploitation.
To be filled with grief but refusing to accept that things must always be what they are said to be, that is the message of the two women who waited on till Jesus Christ breathed his last.
"Their faces mirror the faces of women, mothers, who weep as they see the lives of their children crushed by massive corruption that strips them of their rights and shatters their dreams. By daily acts of selfishness that crucify and then bury people’s hopes. By paralyzing and barren bureaucracies that stand in the way of change. In their grief, those two women reflect the faces of all those who, walking the streets of our cities, behold human dignity crucified," the Pope said.
These are the faces that are mirrored all around and among us.
"In our hearts, we know that things can be different but, almost without noticing it, we can grow accustomed to living with the tomb, living with frustration. Worse, we can even convince ourselves that this is the law of life, and blunt our consciences with forms of escape that only serve to dampen the hope that God has entrusted to us," the Pope said.
While the Romans thought they have killed what they deemed as a threat to their existence, the rebel leader, the creator proved otherwise as out came the risen Lord, and that is where the faith is rooted on. Not the Easter eggs.
From scared, sorrowful, and shattered selves, the two Mary's went back to the city to meet up with others, their mournful gait and sad looks laid aside to proclaim that "He has been raised."
"In the resurrection, Christ rolled back the stone of the tomb, but he wants also to break down all the walls that keep us locked in our sterile pessimism, in our carefully constructed ivory towers that isolate us from life, in our compulsive need for security and in boundless ambition that can make us compromise the dignity of others," the Pope said.
Let us remember his message because it hits very close to home. It is us, it is our reality, it is what the world has become and can become if only we hold on to our diversified faith tracks and what these truly tell us: to love one another, religions aside.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on April 18, 2017.
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