Alleluia! Alleluia!! The Lord is Risen!!!
Readings: (1st: Acts 10: 34. 37-43; Ps 117: 1-2. 16-23; 2nd: Col 3:1-4; Gos Jh 20: 1-9)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
As a young boy, I longed for Easter season because I loved to sing and hear this traditional Easter hymn (Victimae Paschali): “Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Christians, haste your vows to pay, Alleluia! …” (Composed by an Unknown author, between the 11th or 12th but translated from Latin to English by Lane E Leesen in Catholic Hymns, 1853). I was simply interested in this song without actually reflecting on the import of Easter. However, as I grew up, I realized that Easter is more than this, because I came to understand the full meaning of the Paschal Mystery.
Once, I was passing by a neighbor’s house and was attracted by his little son who was sitting expectantly in their small flower garden as if he was waiting for someone. I called out to him, Chuka! What are you doing there? His quick response was, “Father, I have just planted my seed here, and I am waiting for it to grow now, so that I can have my seed back.” I smiled at him and said to him, Chuka, but before you get your seed back it must remain there for some days, rot, germinate, grow and bear fruits. This will take some weeks okay? The poor boy looked at me in disappointment and said, “If that is the case let me take my seed back.” Of course, he dug up his seed and off he went.
Today we sing and shout Alleluia because unlike Chuka, our patience, hope and faith has not failed us. Chika was not ready for the ordeal, for his seed to rot, and “resurrect” in order to bear him more and better fruits. Today is the greatest of all Sundays in the Christian calendar because of the newness and renewal of life that it brings. Not only is it the beginning of the new life of the glorified Christ, it is equally the beginning of the new life of all true Christians. We celebrate today the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness, and of peace over chaos. We celebrate also hope, patience and the fulfillment of God’s Promise to his people. We also celebrate today what makes the Christian religion unique amongst other world religions, the resurrection of our Lord. This Easter day as Paul succinctly puts it: “We bless God the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ who in his great mercy has given us a new birth as his sons, by raising Jesus Christ from the dead” (Act 2: 42-43). What this means is that the death of Christ was ours. So, his resurrection and new life is equally ours now.
Today’s gospel tells us that Jesus left the linen cloths with which he was buried in the grave when he resurrected. In order words, he did not cling to any “worldly” thing or allowed them to pull him down. There are two questions we need ask ourselves this Easter. The first is: Did I resurrect with Christ this Easter? The second question is: What have I left in “my grave” this Easter? If we must rise like Christ, we must be equally ready to detach ourselves from all unnecessary mundane things that we are strongly and madly attached to. Jesus understood and obeyed the natural law which holds that for one to rise up he/she must leave something behind. If we fail to do this, the law of gravity which Jesus himself understood and obeyed might prevail against us. God forbid!
The core message of Easter therefore, is that today, day we like Christ have risen above all the obstacles that pined us down in the grave. It is a message that, even though death and the grave were parts of God’s salvific plan, they will not linger for eternity (Ps. 30, 5). It is a blessed assurance that God is faithful to his promises, and will deliver us from all the perilous situations. It is an assurance that our day of glory will surely come. Today is indeed, “a day that the Lord God Himself has made, let us rejoice and be extremely glad in it (Ps118, 22).” Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Peace be with you!!