Once again, Easter is upon us. For Christians, the Risen Jesus provides the sure hope that justice, mercy and love are stronger than evil and death. Christians share this Good News to the whole world, even to non-Christians, especially those who are suffering and at the brink of despair. But the hope that the Resurrection brings does not take us away from our world and our time. On the contrary, hope opens our eyes to realities of daily life but from a changed perspective.
I am inviting you to consider two points.
First, the Gospel of St. Matthew chapter 28 recounts that immediately after the Resurrection of Jesus, the soldiers guarding the tomb were given a large sum of money by Jesus’ accusers so that they could spread the news that the disciples of Jesus had stolen his body. The truth of the Resurrection of Jesus was betrayed and denied in exchange for money. This mode of acting sadly continues in our world. Hope in Jesus is forcibly discredited by offers of other sources of security and hope that money could buy. But this only leads to greed, corruption, manipulation and further despair. It inflicts death on others, especially on those who are already marginalized. This Easter we declare once again: no amount of money or power or honor could make us deny that Jesus is Risen and that He is our hope!
Secondly, in all the Gospels, the tomb where Jesus had been buried was found empty three days later. But we need to look at the accounts carefully. The tomb did not have the dead body of Jesus any longer. The tomb has been emptied of a corpse. But the tomb became the space for divine illumination and for angels proclaiming the good news of the Resurrection. The tomb is not empty after all. It is now the space of God to spread light and life. It is the space where the women received a mission to tell the disciples that the victory over evil and death had been won by Jesus. The Resurrection is about the “spaces” God offers to us to live our mission. Ordinary daily life offers many such “spaces” in our homes, alleys, barangays, schools, buses, jeepneys, markets, offices, cellphones, social media as well as in our minds, emotions, and consciences. Let the Risen Jesus empty them of death and fill them with light, love and mission. Only then can we be joyful and hopeful bearers of hope rather than servants of gloom and despair.
A Blessed Easter to you! May Blessed Mary, our Mother of Hope show us the face of her Risen Son!
+ Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle
Archbishop of Manila