WE’RE midway to Lent and soon we’ll be celebrating Easter Sunday, the time of great rejoicing, which is far more joyful than Christmas. Handel’s Great Alleluia would soon be sung in great jubilation announcing Christ victory over death in many churches. The great American theologian Paul Tillich even observes that no less than nature, over and above the people, is also rejoicing in its own way probably without you ever knowing it. There was great earthquake St. Matthew observed (28:2), birds chirping while people are rejoicing, Tillich writes.

Ergo, it’s practically all creation would be celebrating come Christ*s resurrection from the grave. From there we could ask: Death where is your sting; death where is your victory? And the lighter side of this celebration is that even politicians are also there, taking the opportunity of greeting the whole flock of voters, hopeful their names would be remembered when election comes, as if election is their equivalent of resurrection.

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Easter is one of the great foundations of Christianity, without whose incident, it would at least require rewriting of the Bible. Incidentally, there exist in fiction of such thought, specifically in Irving Walace’s The Word (Dominion Press, Blackburn, Victoria 3150, 702 pp). It’s actually one of Wallace*s bestseller (as many of his books are) and was even featured in a TV series starring David Janssen, James Whitemore and Florinda Bolkan. The book is too engrossing a material to read that you would not even notice your coffee turning cold as you leaf through its pages until the end.

It tells the story of the most astonishing document on a first century papyrus discovered by an Italian Archeologist in the ruins of ancient Roman seaport of Ostia Antica: the first and original gospel in the hand of James the Just, no less than Jesus’ younger brother. As the source of four gospels of the New Testament, it was indeed the discovery of the century, whose importance far outweighs all other breakthrough there is in life. It was such really a great book to read all the way until you know that the plot was merely a concoction of a mad genius who would like to make it even against the clergy of the Catholics Church that caused him terrible misfortunes: imprisonment and banishment from civilization, until his great escape, which led to his magnum opus. As usual, you’ll be caught on the trap that is Irving Wallace, whose mind is no doubt always pregnant with meaning, and whose creative juice is always there to hook you up.

But here’s one piece of literature and it*s satisfaction guaranteed that it will make your day, especially now that we are in Lent, during which we reflect on the importance of life.

It’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail (Dale Publishing, New York, New York 489 pp.) , written in collaboration by the triumvirate scholars, the same authors of The Messianic Legacy, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. You have probably read or seen Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons and lately, The Symbols. Holy Blood, Holy Grail is the book Dan Brown actually took much of his Da Vinci Code materials; reason that Machael Baigent et al sued Dan Brown for alleged plagiarism. If you appreciated Irving Wallace’ genius in packaging his plot in his The Word, here wish you’d not end up going nuts after reading the book. In fact, I foresee that you would probably be restless until you question the very foundation of your belief in Christianity, whether you are protestant or Catholics. It doesn’t matter for as long as you*re a practicing Christian. So how well spiritually grounded are you? Do you use your belief in the Almighty as your crutch in life that taking away such as your support system, your faith easily crumbles to the ground like a sandcastle?

The book actually could be a book of the century. (There maybe others like A Thief in the Night, an investigative work looking into the death of the Smiling Pope, the shortest Pope ever to reign. Or The Gospel of Jesus Christ * A Historical Search for the Original Good News - by scholar James M. Robinson (Harper Collins, New York, NY, 239 pp.)

The book tells he story of a young Catholic priest Berenger Sauniere assigned at Rennes-le-Chateau, Southern France, who stumbled upon parchments, undoubtedly very important treasures which proved an unorthodox idea kept alive for centuries.

The discovery happened when the young priest have his Church rehabilitated and improved. It was such as intriguing discovery that no less than a battalion of German laborers were brought in to secure said important discovery. All told, the story came into full circle as the authors conducted their own independent research, which led them to dark corners of history as they stumble upon bloody crusades, secret societies and all extraordinary mazes of history before they finally pose their questions.

As they put it: Is the traditional, accepted view of the life of Christ in some way incomplete? Specifically, is it possible Christ did not die on the cross? Is it possible Jesus was married, a father, and that his bloodline still exists? Is it possible that parchments found in the South of France a century ago reveal one of the best kept secrets in Christendom? And is it possible that these parchments contain the very heart of the mystery of the Holy Grail?

Incidentally, such questions were asked almost three decades ago, specifically February of 1983, when the book came out of press. By all means, the questions still remain very valid unfortunately. Not even the alleged discovery of Jesus burial somewhere in Israel (or Egypt?) by the director of Titanic few years back lend credence to that hypothesis. But as usual nothing comes out conclusive in the absence of DNA.

It is hoped that something better comes out but so far, nothing. Holy Blood, Holy Grail remains truly an excellent piece of literature. The incontrovertible proof of Christ not dying on the cross is still undoubtedly a fiction today.