He is risen and is living by our side

A VICTORY OVER death is what we celebrate in Easter. But this year, Christians around the world are forced to stay indoors with no celebrations. ‘Death’ is all around and it is not going to go away. Our experts project a few hundred thousand deaths in the world in the next couple of weeks or months.  Who will survive this Covid-19  coronavirus scare? 

Christians observe the Holy Week praying and meditating on the passion, crucifixion and death of Jesus and walking the Way of the Cross. But this year, the Holy Week was observed not only by the Christians, but by the whole world as millions, infected or affected by Covid-19, walk their own way of the Cross. The world watched in shock the visuals from India of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers with their families and belongings, walking for days to return home, after the government imposed a 21-day lockdown. 

Make no mistake. When death looms in the air with fear and anxiety engulfing humanity, the message of Easter reverberates in our ears: “He is risen!” The most infamous execution in history could not hold him dead for three days. A Good Friday inevitably results in an Easter Sunday. For the world that continues to walk the way of the Cross, Easter brings the message of hope: We will prevail over this time of tempest. 

One of the striking images in the world media a couple of week ago was of Pope Francis on March 27 crossing the empty square of St. Peter’s Basilica alone under the pouring rain to lead the world in prayer. And his meditation on that night of the Urbi et Orbi blessing was about Jesus calming the tempest. On the greatest of all Christian feasts–Easter–marred by the pandemic, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on the question of Jesus: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”

To the disciples screaming for their lives on a boat caught in the tempest, Jesus questions their faith.  He taught them on that day a life principle: If you have faith, you won’t be afraid.  For the one who does not believe, Easter is no more than a myth. But for the believer, it is the foundation of his life—an assurance of the resurrection, a new beginning. 

This Easter calls on us to choose what matters and what passes away. As we pass through this unprecedented time of ‘Easter at home,’ we come to the realisation of the truth that we are not self-sufficient. 

Pope Francis’ words of reassurance are worth reflecting on: “If we turn to Jesus and hand him our fears, he will conquer them, because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.”

The world is reeling under the fear of infection and death. In spite of this being Easter, we are in the midst of isolation with fewer chances to meet up and no common celebrations. And there are a lot of people in the city who are in crisis on varied fronts—spiritual, emotional, economic and political. We experience the loss of so many things—jobs, wealth, health and social life. It is in the midst of these helplessness, once again we have chance to listen to the Easter proclamation: He is risen and is living by our side.” jose

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