Acts 10: 34, 37-43; Col3: 1-4/1Cor 5:6-8; Jn 20:1-9
Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD in his column in one of the leading newspapers in our country told a story that once he took a bus, an old lady dragging a lot of personal belongings boarded the bus. Then the conductor handed her a ticket to collect the fare. When the woman reached out her P80.00, the conductor said: “Lola, that’s not enough, remember this is an air conditioned bus.” The old lady replied, “but that’s all I have, young man.” Then the conductor said: “Then I let you off at the next bus stop.”
When the bus grounded to a halt, the old lady went down. One of the passengers asked: what was the problem. The conductor told him about her predicament. That which the man quickly said, “Ako na ang bahala sa balanse (I’ll take care of the balance).”
Fr. San Luis said: “Very inspiring. I who was one seat away from the woman somehow felt guilty. I should have responded much faster than the layman.” He continued: “Oh, well doing good is not a monopoly of priests and religious, but for everybody.”
Well, this is a simple story but we can obtain so many lessons for this especially that today we are celebrating Easter Sunday which is the feast of all feasts because it’s the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. If Christmas day is the most joyous feast in the Church, I can say that Easter Sunday is the most glorious feast of all. What are my bases why I claim that it is the most glorious feast of all?
Biblically, our Christian preaching, faith and mission to preach the good news to all people and to all walks of life would have been worthless if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead. As St. Paul says: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is void of content and your faith is empty too” (1Cor 15:14). Christ has died and risen so that we may have life and have it to the fall.
Theologically, the road to salvation could not be covered by the passion and death of Christ alone, if there were no Easter. The paschal mystery of Christ which is His passion, death and resurrection would be incomplete if Easter has not happened. So our faith today must be an Easter faith and would not only end on Good Friday or in the Calvary, we must look forward for an Easter Sunday.
Liturgically, all feasts in the liturgical calendar revolve around the observance of Easter. Therefore, I can say that the glory of Easter is very much present in the resurrection of Christ, i.e. the triumph of light over darkness, the triumph of good over evil and the triumph of life over death.
This commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus provides us the answers to such questions as: What is the meaning of life? After suffering, what will happen next, suffering again? After death, would there be a hope of resurrection of eternal life? Would there be a change? Would there be a difference after the resurrection of Jesus?
Jesus by His resurrection is showing us that life is not at all meaningless. After suffering, there is still happiness. After death, there is still life. After. And, there is still significant effect of that great resurrection event because it has become the solid foundation of our hope and trust in God. But this Easter hope does not main we have to passively wait, but rather, it challenges us to make our world better here and now.
When I took my Movie Analysis subject way back in 1990 during my theological formation, a movie was shown entitled The Fourth Wise Man. We knew through tradition in the Church that there are only three wise men who visited Jesus when He was born. We considered it as three because of the number of gifts they gave to Jesus. That movie began like a Christmas story but it ends like an Easter story. The main actor of that story was Martin Sheen who starred as the fourth wise man named Artaban who was late for the journey together with the three wise men made to Bethlehem because he stopped along the way to help someone in need and those in trouble.
For the next thirty three years, he tries to find the promised Messiah, only to miss Him at every turn because he is constantly getting sidetracked to help people. Finally, he finds Jesus but he is late because Christ was already crucified and died on the cross.
At that moment when Jesus died, the earthquake occurs and a falling tile hit him. As he lies dying, he is broken-hearted because his desire to find the Messiah alive and in that instance, his life becomes meaningless. Suddenly the Risen Lord appeared to Him and said that for the past thirty three years, he had already found Jesus in the person of all people he had helped. And so, whatever Artaban the fourth wise man had done to the least of the Lord’s people, he has done to Jesus Himself.
This is one example of not waiting passively for that Easter hope of ours. There are many other simple and yet very inspiring stories of hope and charity. Perhaps this is what Friedrich Nietzche, an atheist German philosopher meant when he said: “These Christians should look more redeemed before I believe in their Redeemer.” In other words, we have to be like Christ to others. Our way of life must be that of Jesus Christ. Can we make it? Yes, we can make it.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B