Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed, Alleluia!
I don’t know about you but for me the sound of this greeting still echoes in my heart and mind and perhaps, it will stay there for a while and for always as a constant reminder that God’s love is everlasting. I hope that each one of us somehow feels that joy and peace, when once again we reminisce the scene on that first day of the week, early in the morning, while it was still dark, and the stone that covered the entrance of the tomb was removed! Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus is anchored on two things: the empty tomb, and the appearances of Jesus. There are stories that are hard to believe but are true. The greatest gift God has given to each one of us is the gift of Hope through the Resurrection of Christ the Risen One! Hope, in spite of the current situation we are all facing because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s Church or public celebrations of Easter have been improvised! Indeed, it is an unusual celebration of Easter Sunday and I’m sure the majority of us Catholics felt being “doubtful” for the first time. The time when, for us to stay safe, we need to stay home. Public Masses, prayers, gatherings, places and spaces of worship are suspended and closed. We wonder: how are these online Masses and prayers going to work? Prayers online? How much is this going to impact our Lenten and Easter celebrations? Big time! Indeed, it was a challenge. Like me you probably say yes, we celebrated Paschal Triduum and Easter Sunday but it’s not the same as how we used to! Understandably, rightly so! However, the message of Christ’s Resurrection hasn’t changed. His ‘unfathomable divine mercy, and love, envelop the whole world and empty Himself out upon us’. Emptying oneself for someone without hesitation, without any doubt and in obedience to the Father accepted death, even death on a cross. An ultimate sacrifice, He has given us His all! By His wounds we are healed.
This Sunday we celebrate the Divine Mercy. Isn’t it interesting that on this Sunday, when God’s MERCY is our focus, we should read that our faith is more precious than gold – tested by fire…is purified by the heat of the ‘fires’ in our lives. What situation in your life is causing you to feel the heat? Unemployment or underemployment? Fear and worries, illness and death as a result of the Covid 19? Whatever it is, keep in mind that through these fires, God always keeps a Merciful eye on our lives, and mercifully will not let us be exposed to the heat for long. When all the debris in our lives has been removed, and all that is left is the pure gold of faith, there will be God’s image – shining forth – from You and Me! The experience of Jesus’ apostles in the upper room on Easter Sunday evening becomes our experience of reality in our current situation. We are in our own upper room behind locked doors. Like the apostles, we are all wounded, either in body, heart or spirit. We are wounded individually by fear, doubt, guilt and grief. Like all people in pain, some of us had erected a barrier around ourselves. The Risen Christ is here, and He knows how we are feeling. In one way or another all of us are wounded. Many people carry wounds in their bodies. But the part of us that is most deeply wounded is the heart. The heart is wounded by such things as disappointment, ingratitude, grief, rejection, and betrayal. Jesus didn’t hide His wounds. For Him they were not things to be ashamed of. They were powerful witness of how costly real love can be. Wounds are the greatest form of witness.
Like the apostles of Jesus, whatever turbulence they were going through as individuals and as a group was calmed down by Christ’s assuring words “Peace be with you”. This can also become our reality. Hope in the Risen Christ, have faith in the One that heals our wounds, and trust in His Divine Mercy and Love!
By Sr Rita Marie Apura