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Friday, 10 April 2020 12:17

An Easter at home brings new life, new hope

Written by Fr Firminus Wiryono SVD

Fr Yon Wiryono headshot 150

Dear sisters and brothers,

The Easter celebrations this year are very interesting and certainly very different. It’s really our first Easter Triduum without the richness and the beauty of our liturgical Services, which we normally experience as a community of faith in our parishes.

However, this doesn’t mean, that we are skipping Easter this year. The Easter celebrations are not being cancelled, but they are being celebrated in a different way. 

We are celebrating Easter in our “Home-Church”, in the place where the heart is. Home, sweet home. Really, as never before, we are presented with an opportunity to journey more intentionally as a domestic church, gathered in our home, with those we live with or alone, to follow online all the Easter liturgies. We pray together and we are still  connected with one another from our home.  As our churches have been shut, let us worship God within our homes. Remember how the early Christian celebrated the Eucharist, as they gathered in a home.

Even though Easter is a bit different, the Spirit remains the same, the core values of the celebration of our faith remains the same: the resurrection is the foundation of our faith, it’s the greatest of all the miracles. 

However, Easter will have no meaning for us if we don’t embrace the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ in our own daily lives, in our own resurrection into new life. 

Also, there is no  meaning if we don’t embrace the mystery of cross and suffering, in our daily lives, as our own way to accepting the cross and subsequently the resurrection. 

As we embrace the suffering caused by the coronavirus crisis, we  come to an experience of the suffering of the cross. Only through that cross are we able to rise in our resurrection, after our present crisis is over.

What is our resurrection? First of all, we must come to a realisation that after the coronavirus,  it is only through suffering, that we are able to see what really matters in life. Money? Sports? Cruises? All these matter very little when compared with our wonderful gift of life. More than that, we have come to the realisation, as Fr Richard Rohr said ‘that life is not about us, but we are about life’. We are not our own. That’s why during this coronavirus crisis, everyone around the world is in solidarity and supporting each other to live a safe and a protected life. Life is precious and fully alive in us, because Jesus, who is the life, lives fully in us. That is the Easter message. Jesus, who is the Resurrection and the life, lives in us and remain present in us, especially in our struggles and in our fights against the coronavirus.

Secondly, as resurrected people, love is both who we are and who we are still becoming. The message of Easter is life and love revealing themselves as the same thing, which is the final and complete message of the Risen Christ: that is, the life of Christ and the love of Christ. His love is for our life, and His life is for the love of each of us. After His resurrection, Love is all that remains. Love and life are finally the same thing. That’s why, our call to life is our call to love, because to love means to be alive, and to be alive in the Risen Jesus means to love.

Finally, the Resurrection is life-giving. In other words, resurrection means Christmas. One might ask, why?  Let me explain it this way. Why was it that the first witness of the Resurrection was a woman named Mary Magdala? She loved Jesus more than  any other disciple. Why was it that  a woman had this privilege and not Peter, as the head of the disciples?  In another story, God sent His angel first of all to Mary in the Christmas story.  Could the reason be that women are essentially linked to the witnessing of the birth of a baby. Perhaps  the reason why the Resurrection was witnessed firstly by a woman is because the resurrection gives birth to new live

The death of Christ gives birth to new life. When Jesus died, the blood and water flowing from His side was a sign of faith that His death gives us new life, because water and blood are linked to  giving birth: water and blood accompany the newborn baby out of the womb of a mother.  Therefore, the mystery of the Cross, manifest in the death and the resurrection of Jesus brings new life and new hope to all who believe. 

Hopefully Easter this year, in the midst of coronavirus crisis, will be the instrument that brings new life and renewed hope to our lives, to accompany us in our way through these days of suffering and struggle.