Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Abellanosa: The message of Easter

Fringes and frontiers

NOW that it’s Easter, business shall proceed as usual. The Holy Week was not only a period of reflection. It was also a suspension, a ceasefire if we may of everything else other than what’s “holy.”

Easter is a better litmus test of our Christianity. It was easy for any Christian to display piety on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. What are two days of holiness after all, compared to the more rigorous challenge to consistency from Easter and beyond? A more serious question, however, is whether we will carry out and sustain the “good news of hope” onwards until the next Holy Week.

It has been said that without the Resurrection of the Lord, everything else is in vain. Basically this is a truth that is yet to be understood, and more so lived by all Christians. In fact, this is the harder part of the profession of faith. Hard because to genuinely confess that He has risen requires both “faith” and “hope.” Truth to tell, suffering could only be endured in “faith” and “hope.”

What is there to hope in a country comprised of more than eighty percent Christians but around seventeen million of which are supportive of a government that is tolerant of extrajudicial killings (EJK)? What is there to hope in a government that is incapable of protecting the country’s interest from external threats? Seriously, it is easy to be a Christian for three days inside the Church, and much easier to mouth platitudes. All of these however are “useless” symbolisms and “formulations” until and unless they are translated into the realities of our daily life.

Without “faith” and “hope” beyond Good Friday, all of our piety ended in the grave of Him who was crucified. In effect, the performances of all the rituals we have had are nothing but mindless repetitive and inefficacious acts. Without transformation, our acts of penitence and prostrations were nothing but cultic exercises that reduced religion to magic or superstition.

Easter, thus, is a time for us to “renew” the face of the earth. It calls us to contribute to a “culture of life.” It also calls us to stand for the truth and side with what is right even if these would mean unpopularity or martyrdom. Precisely, the resurrection comes after the passion and death because it serves as a reminder that “new life” is costly as it may even mean death.

Real Easter happens when we courageously endure in our fight against a system that uses confusion in order to sow destruction. For sure some would call this hypocrisy. They would question those who would try the path of truth in terms of their consistency. They would label those who are searching for the truth as lacking in integrity. They would even go as far as putting into question people’s privacy and decency. But there is a mountain of difference between one who tries to be good despite his failings and he who is merely a hypocrite. It is the end to which we are moving that would basically highlight the difference.

Those who continue to prefer to close their eyes and remain insensitive to the wailings of society wasted the merits of the crucifixion. Precisely, Easter should remind us, as what Joseph Ratzinger says, that the goal of a Christian “is not private bliss but the whole.” He who believes in Christ should also believe in the “future of the world” and thus of his fellowmen.


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