He is risen! He is risen!
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ three days after His death. Christians consider recently-hatched eggs to symbolize new life, and thus, new beginnings.
Not long ago, suffering became inevitable for numerous of our countrymen, even the Non-Catholic due to the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda and the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit the country.
But just like Christ, we too, rose from life.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” True enough, the whole world immediately responded with various relief efforts. Days after the catastrophes, stumbling across people wearing #BangonSugBohol and #BangonTacloban shirts became more frequent, with the proceeds of these shirts being given to relief operations. Their catchy phrases might also urge those who had yet to do their part.
Even with those who are less affected by the calamities, there are still many things to rise up from: for the Carolinians with low grades to do better in the coming semester, for the lost to find meaning, and for us to bridge gaps and tear down walls.Even in the world of sports, great athletes like Manny Pacquiao have shown that after a couple of debacles, redemption can be achieved through hard work, perseverance and determination.
Easter Sunday is called the Resurrection Day, a celebration of Jesus Christ returning from the dead. It is the culmination of the days of the Holy Week, beginning on Palm Sunday, followed by Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday, and ending on Easter Sunday, the last being what Christians believe as the holiest day of the year. The observance of the Holy Week is focused on each individual’s suffering and humiliation as he or she journeys through life. It is very important that we put emphasis on hope and resurrection.
Easter is about second chances, the promise of a new life. Simply put, there will always be sunshine after every rainfall. Each Christian is able to compare his or her own life and suffering to the observance of the Holy Week. He or she looks back, reflects, contemplates, and moves on and try to become better individuals. We never stop learning in life. We endure diverse challenges for us to grow. Small and great problems come, and therefore, we learn and teach others.
It is also fitting that the Easter message of Pope Francis for this year revolves around peace, particularly in the Middle East, in Africa and in the Korean Peninsula. In his message, he made a distinct highlight of the resurrection of Christ and of hope that people “are no longer in the power of sin, of evil. Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious! The mercy of God always triumphs!” The world has seen much hatred among people, and this has always been a challenge not only for Christians, but also for people from other religions. It is significant that the Pope dwells on peace because of the widespread misunderstanding and violence in our world today. We have the Israelis and the Palestinians who have yet to pave that ever-elusive road to lasting peace, the deaths and conflicts in Syria, and the hunger in Africa; the list goes on. We have seen one tragedy after the other, but our faith in Jesus has remained strong in spite of these difficult times. We shall continue to pray and believe. Above all, there is always hope, the same hope that Jesus showed when he rose from the dead.
In the Philippines, Easter Sunday starts with the Salubong, a reenactment of of Mary and Christ’s reunion after the latter’s resurrection. Commonly started around 4 a.m., the Salubong is usually done by bringing the image of the Virgin Mary to the local church where the image of the risen Christ awaits.Flower petals are then showered on the two images as everyone displays joy for Christ’s resurrection. Another tradition of the Salubong is the meeting of two simultaneous processions wherein male devotee walk behind the statue of Christ and female devotees, behind the Virgin Mary. The routine ends in front of the church.
With modernity, certain practices are now being forgotten little by little, to the extent that people forget or do not even know the true meaning of Easter. Akin to Easter egg hunting, we too are yet to find its true essence. To follow God’s teachings is a personal commitment. It starts from each one of us. We may not be able to ask our friends or our neighbors to be kind and honest, but we must try even if others could not. For if we spread love, kindness and humility, then maybe, just maybe, we can touch other people’s lives in our own little ways. This world would then be a much better place to live in.