Monday, March 28, 2016

An Easter reflection

The amazing promise of Easter, miraculous and wondrous though it may be, cannot be one among many great things that ought to be appreciated.  It is so monumental and so significant that it needs to be re-appreciated over and over again in our lives.  Perhaps the cycle of life that we see happening all around us gives us the mistaken notion that even the resurrection is a cyclic event.  While it is true that for us Catholics, the annual liturgical cycle can give us this impression, it is a wrong impression.  We do not ‘re-cycle’ the resurrection each year.  What the Church is seeking to do is to allow us to re-look and re-enter into timeless mysteries so that we come out renewed and refreshed in our faith.  To look at Easter and think that it is just a representation of a cycle of life, is to erroneously say that there is not much difference between a mosquito larvae’s cycle of life and the Paschal Mystery.  That would be absurd.  Though, as a point of reference, one could begin by saying that in nature, things die in order for something else to live – and this is a reality that is so easy to overlook and dismiss, perhaps because its occurrence is almost imperceptible unless we pause to take it in with a purposeful act of the will and mind.

The flower needs to die in order for it to be fertilized and bear fruit for new seed is a reality that occurs at every single moment of the day.  The wheat grain needs to be crushed to become flour that gives us nourishment and nutrition.  The sun is in fact dying and burning itself up and in doing so, provides us with the much-needed warmth and light without which we would surely die.  A spouse’s own will has to experience some degree of death to give life so that the marriage experiences a flowering of mutual selflessness that mirrors the constant giving of the persons of the Holy Trinity.  These dynamics are at play in everything that surrounds us and they are but vestiges of the resurrection.  But they are not the resurrection, because the resurrection of Our Lord is a newness in a far greater and staggering dimension.

Perhaps it is because it is so easy to take these small ‘easters’ for granted in our daily lives that we think erroneously that the resurrection isn’t real, and this becomes evident in the way that we Christian can often find ourselves hesitating and even tepid in being convinced that the resurrection is at the very heart of our belief.  We seem to be far more taken in by Jesus’ power over illness (when he miraculously heals a leper or a man with a withered hand), or be intrigued with the way that he enables Simon Peter to haul in a catch of fish that causes him to be so humble that he admits of his sinfulness on the spot, that he multiplies loaves and fish in copious amounts, or that he stills and controls storms that can make seasoned sailors quake with fear.  Great and wonderful these miracles may be, they are not central to our faith.  What is undoubtedly and undeniably central and pivotal is Jesus’ rising from the dead – that he overcame humankind’s last bastion.  It isn’t a cycle at all.  We do not believe in reincarnation.  It is so vital and utmost for our Christian belief that if this was not real, and merely a legend, everything about our faith crumbles. 

But if we are truly convinced about Jesus’ absolute power over death, demonstrated by his resurrection from the dead, we have a power within us that allows us to overcome all darkness and tribulations in life.  After all, death had always been the last insurmountable bastion hitherto the resurrection of Christ.  It has a power that had never been seen, and it’s the kind of power that have caused despots and political bullies to tear their hair in frustration because the truly convinced martyrs who died for their faith in the resurrection knew that the earthly oppressive tactics of their subjugators could only go so far.  Beyond the doorway of death, beyond this life, they were simply impuissant.  But not the resurrected Lord.

Perhaps the truth is more likely that too many of us are far too mired with the daily grind of our work and family life that we don’t find it necessary or pertinent to take our faith that far.  We have become complacent as far as the true power of the resurrection is concerned, and have become Christians that are ‘soft in the middle’, causing those of us who profess to be ‘hard at our core’ being labeled as fanatical or eccentric. 

But if we are truly convinced about the power and the truth of the resurrection, it cannot but be impactful and change our lives from within.  There will be no wrong that cannot be forgiven, no trial in life that will see us despairing, and no disappointment that has the last say.  There will always be a comeback no matter how wrecked we may be, and most of all, death will never get the last word.

Each time I find myself on the brink of becoming cynical, it is often because I have lost partial sight of the splendor and power of the resurrection.  I have not become an “Alleluia” person, and perhaps like Mary Magdalene on that first Easter morning, instead of seeing the resurrected Lord, I am only seeing the gardener.  Perhaps the light from the never-setting Morning Star of Jesus had been eclipsed by my own egocentric fears and constraints.  But when I do take the effort to return to the Galilee of my faith, there is a renewal in the centrality of my faith in the resurrection and there is a resurrection experienced all over again.  God becomes my sun again and I am rightly orbiting around him.

There are usually no big resurrections in our faith lives.  But it’s the small, sometimes imperceptible ones that awaken in us the need to always believe that the final resurrection is yet to come.   This, I believe, is the subtle yet real joy of Easter. 

A blessed and happy Easter, my dear readers!

1 comment:

  1. Again Thanks Fr Luke for that wonderful insight on easter.. One Particular line form the gospel from Luke Chp 24 v 5 "Why do you seek the living one among the dead?" seem to struck me when i read it.. It is true when (including yours truly) we seem to lose hope and courage when feel with life many many challenges.. be it financial, relationships.. etc.. Rather than turn to the Lord for help.. we rely more on our own strength .. in other sources. and many a times those sources didnt turn up to what we want. As a result we lose hope and despair. It is not wrong to seek other solutions. but we have to seek also Jesus who can guide us to our problems rather than we do it alone..