Lessons of Easter 2021: The pandemic the path to gloryWednesday, April 07, 2021
At this time of year, when we take time to reflect and celebrate the saving Passion and the glorious resurrection of our Lord, by which the pride of Satan is vanquished, and the mystery of our redemption in Christ is accomplished, we do so aware that we are all impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
We are contending with the reality of the pandemic that has put a damper on our way of life in every aspect, restricting movement, restricting social contact, especially at this time when we usually take the opportunity to connect with family and friends; then there are so many whom we know that are sick and have died.
Yet, the celebration of our Lord risen from His own suffering and death coincides with our reality. Can we allow this mystery of faith to become our reason for hope amidst our trials and tribulations? Would that our travails would be completed in the same cycle of a couple of days as Jesus's suffering, death, and resurrection. But, another Easter is with us with worse conditions than a year ago. Thus, the mix of faith and reality requires us to avail ourselves to an extended cycle of the Easter mystery of the passion to await with confident hope, the resurrection, relief from our pandemic trials.
Just as we do not gloss over the harsh reality of our experience, we also do not gloss over what Jesus experienced before His victory — the mockery and persecution, the scourging and suffering, the rejection, the agony, and how He responded with humility and obedience during the horror of His passion.
The requirement of faith is that we not only remember the ordeal of Jesus' passion and the glory of His resurrection, but that we also reflect on the lesson being communicated to us that must be applied to our experience.
The lesson as St Paul exhorts: “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ” (Phil 2:5). This attitude is a confident trust in the providence of God while struggling with trials and tribulations. Even as we cry out in union with Jesus Christ, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me”, (Mt 27:46) or make the plea, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me,” (Mt 26:39) faith invites a trusting surrender: “Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it” (Mt 26:39). Thus, our attitude will be characterised by the trust, humility, and obedience of Jesus Christ.
Jesus says to those burdened by the unpleasant experiences of life: “[L]earn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart...” (Mt 11:29). So, the lessons we can consider as we reflect on Easter are:
1) Jesus knew and was committed to doing God's will in His suffering. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as You will.” (Mt 26:39)
2) Jesus was humble and obedient. St Paul writes, “[T]hough he was in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:6-8)
3) Jesus showed that hope does not die nor diminish because of the suffering and problems that make living hazardous and difficult at times. Hence, St Paul states, “Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name...” (Phil 2:9)
So, we must have among ourselves,the same attitude that is also ours in Christ. With these words Paul reminds us that we must be like Jesus, the suffering servant, who is the model of the attitude we, as suffering servants, must have in the face of suffering and death.
So, as we reflect on the glory of Christ in Easter, let us not forget that the passion and the cross paved the way, for Jesus's victory and glory.
May this thought renew our commitment, or awaken a commitment, to not lose hope because of the pandemic. Instead of driving us to despair, may it be a pathway to triumph and glory.
For the courage to persevere along this pathway, we pray: Father, help us to bear witness to you by following the example of Jesus's attitude towards His suffering and make us worthy to share in His resurrection glory. Amen!
Kenneth Richards, DD, CD is Roman Catholic archbishop of Kingston. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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