God’s merciful love surprises us and surpasses every kind of human misery and apathy. The abysmal contradiction of the events recalled during the Holy Week has often baffled me. Mortal and sinful humans sat on the judgement seat to decree death sentence to the incarnate Word who proclaimed and lived the Gospel of love and forgiveness. Political and religious powers joined hands in that dark hour of humanity. The fury of a mobilized mob moved the motion to crucify him. After a mock trial and quick execution, love was buried in the tomb of human hearts hardened by selfishness. It is to this dead end that sin and selfishness can lead our individual and collective human destiny.
I think of the way of the cross lived by our fellow humans in the midst of violence, terrorism and poverty in many parts of the world. Men and women as well as the earth, our common home, are often on the cross as they are discriminated against, rejected, manipulated, battered, traded for, or destroyed to satisfy selfish human interests. I have my own share in them too. The agony of their crucifixion is captured as images and videos in the digital coffin of global network and carried by social media for a short viral diffusion for all to see before they are buried in the private cemeteries of short-term digital memory. The real danger is that, after the initial fleeting sense of horror, human hearts may get immunized against such suffering of humanity and the planet, by constantly witnessing this crucifixion happening on a daily basis.
Easter awakes us from this spiritual slumber by pointing to Jesus’ life as the valid and necessary way to live our humanity. The survival of humanity and the planet, and celebration of life and love on earth cannot be brought about by the strength of muscles, the power of guns, or the lure of money. The vulnerability of self-giving love, forgiveness, dialogue, care for others, and sharing of resources could be threatening to the law of the flesh, but powerful in the law of the Spirit (cf. Rom 7). The Risen Lord beckons us to walk in the law of the Spirit.
The Easter egg is an image of God’s working in us. A fertilized egg cannot be forced open from outside to bring forth life. The seed of life in the egg has to mature, and, in its own time, it will break open the shell with the very force of life from within. No wonder, Christ came as that seed of love and life in the core of creation that awaits in eager longing for the liberation of the children of God (cf. Rom 8:19). The maturing of the covenant of love written in the human hearts (cf. Jer 31:31) is the hope of humankind and our planet to live and celebrate our fundamental unity in diversity.
Because of Easter, we can welcome the dark nights of suffering and rejection with the certainly that a bright day would follow. Without the light of Easter it is difficult, if not impossible, to make sense of the suffering of the innocents, the mystery of evil, the struggle for justice and peace, self-donation in marriage and family, and religious consecration. When we have truly encountered the Risen Lord, we readily become his disciples to proclaim that Love can triumph over the forces of death.
Wish you happy Easter! May this Easter bring forth in you a new sprout of hope to create a better world, a home for all.
Mathew Vattamattam, cmf