Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Like the pealing of the parish Church bells that pierces the silence of the early dawn of Easter Sunday, the voice of the Christian soul renewed by the refreshing grace of Holy Week breaks out with the great proclamation of hope: “Christ is risen; Christ is truly risen.”

This message of Easter, however, is not just a doctrine that emulates the spirit of man, neither is it a mere story of a past happening. It is a celebration of today, a breaking of the news that Christ is truly risen today. In the liturgy of the blessing of the new fire during the Easter Vigil, I was suddenly struck by the rite of inscribing some symbols into the Paschal Candle. In it was to be etched the year 2007, but over and below it are the giant Greek letters of ALPHA and OMEGA, the symbol of the resurrected Christ. He is the Beginning and the End of everything, Jesus Christ who is yesterday, today, and forever. Christ the resurrected is contemporary. His resurrection was not just an event of the past: it is a current occurrence of which message of hope is directed to the modern Filipino.

This then is the joy of Easter, the joy that is the fruit of an experience of the triumph of Christ over death and over all the negative incidents that endlessly impinge on the spirit of man. The resurrection of our Lord strongly affirms that life is stronger than death, that love is more potent than hatred, that good is mightier than evil. Resurrection brings home the bliss of Easter: “We are free: we are free to be good; we are free to love; we are free to live.” The Holy Father, Pope Benedict the XVI, spoke of this freedom in his Easter Vigil message when he said: “In the resurrection of Jesus, love has been shown to be stronger than death, stronger than evil. Love made Christ descend, and love is also the power by which he ascends. The power by which he brings us with him. In union with his love, borne aloft on the wings of love, as persons of love, let us descend with him into the world's darkness, knowing that in this way we will also rise up with him.”

It is along this faith of the resurrection that the Church wants us to take up our life again with all its precariousness and complexities. In the growing poverty of our people, the corruptions and differing crimes in society, the politics of compromises and shady transactions, the violence committed to the weak and the defenseless, the trafficking of women, the sexual abuses of minors, the spiritual emptiness and the weak moral fiber of our leaders, in all these the children of the resurrection should not grow faint and withdraw. On the contrary they should be there in the thick of all this mess, deeply engrossed in the great work of reshaping the face of the Philippines. With much love, compassion and determination they sure will make a difference.