CELEBRATING EASTER IN A WORLD THAT IS MORE LIKE A GOOD FRIDAY. Vol. 5, No. 17

The chance of peace amidst the explosion of war makes us wonder what lessons this feast could have for these tragic days. Days in which our nation has become religiously chaotic, morally degenerating, politically disoriented, economically down-turning, developmentally dilapidating and culturally disintegrating. Financially deflated and depleted, socially terrorised as well as thumbing moral relativism. The most agonizing and unbearable aspect of this horrendous condition is that even as we struggle to survive in such a failed nation, our lives are recklessly snuffed out from us and butchered mercilessly as often as possible. To mention the gory details and several carnages experienced, upon which we have lost thousands of innocent lives in this conscienceless country would make me to think that the Good Friday is not yet over.
In critical moments in which the whole atmosphere is oozing not only with hunger, diseases, corruption and sufferings but also series of deaths too numerous to mention, it becomes difficult to continue thinking of Easter feast in a world that is more like a Good Friday. To be more realistic, the numerous bombs in the churches and hotels of Sri Lanka on the very morning of Easter remains a poser to our belief in the risen Lord.
However, the answer to these precarious situations of life is to be found in two distinct scenes in the life of our Lord. The first took place in the garden of Gethsemane when the Saviour in the full majesty of his person goes out to meet the devil in the guise of Judas. He surrendered himself into the hands of Judas and the soldiers with these words: “this is your hour, and the power of darkness “. The important word here is hour. For apparently, evil has its hour and uses it to turn out the light of the world and to deliver it into the stingy darkness of despair.
The second scene took place early in the Lord’s life when the Pharisees sought to get rid of him by making him blasphemous and intended to kill him. The Lord’s response is interestingly significant here. He said “go tell that fox who has in mind to kill me that he is helpless. He cannot kill me until I have done my work and I have three days work to do. This was a figurative language. The important word here is the Day. Put the two scenes together and there emerge this lesson: evil has its hour but God has his Day. And that evil hour is inseparable from God’s day.
Unless the seed has its hour when it falls to the ground and dies, it will never have its day when it rises to the newness of life. Without the world with evil and its hour, there will never be a day of peace. Unless there is a Good Friday in our lives, there will never be any Easter Sunday. Unless there is a crown of thorns, there will never be the beam of light. Unless there is a scourged body, there will never be a glorified body. And there is the answer to the question of Easter. How can we celebrate Easter in a world that is more like a Good Friday.
By seeing in this world, the apparition of God’s love, that without this hour of suffering and sacrifice, we might never come to a national resurrection. This is predicated on the fact that peace is not a passive but an active condition. It is not something that is given but something that is achieved. Our Blessed Lord never said blessed are the peaceful but he did say Blessed are the peace makers. Peace must be made and it must be won in a battle. Just as in every day, there must be hour, so also, suffering and tragedy are parts of the day. Hence evil has its hour but God will have its day. Our Lord Jesus Christ after his resurrection, kept the scar of his defeat and he will keep it for all eternity, in order to show that he is the prince of peace, only because he was once a captain of ours and the Lord of hosts. His glorious scar became a radiance sun in heaven. Scars that he received the day he fought his battle for peace on earth. The via crucis is the via pacis. The way of the cross is the way of peace.
However, to pass through that hour of evil alone, is no guarantee for peace, we have to pass through that hour with our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us not forget that the thief on the left on the Good Friday had his hour but it was not burning with divine Love and therefore, he got nothing. The thief on the right passed his hour illumined with Christ and therefore come to his day, so the Lord said to him, this day. “This day, you shall be with me in paradise”. And St Paul would say if we die with him, we shall also live with him. Indications therefore emerge that only those that pass through Calvary hour with him, shall overcome the day of victory.
Look out upon the nations of the world: Belgium, France, Germany, Finland, Italy, Phillipians, Greece, Russia, Mexico, Morrocco, Spain, Libia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and so on. Think of how many that are suffering in these lands, especially in the name of Christ. Above all the battle field in the world, beyond the theme of national slogans, the scheeming of forces, the debate of politics, the selfish clashes of economic forces, there is one common factor uniting us all. We are all prostrate before the Cross of Christ, we have all been kissed by some Judas, smitten by some soldiers, misjudged by some Caiaphas, mocked by some heretics, crucified by some Pilate. And in this hour of darkness, we have a place that the Easter holds with us. That to the extent we unite our suffering with Christ, we shall rise with him beyond every political failures, economic blundering and social pressure. This is predicated on the fact that we have been signed with the sign of the Cross and sealed with the seal of salvation, because we have born our cross in Christ in that hour, we shall rise with Christ in the day, for evil has its hour but God has his Day.
Applying this lesson to our country, if it is true that those who have their hour with Christ will have their day with him, then the inverse is true. We shall have our day of victory only on the condition that we have our hour of darkness with Christ. We want victory in Nigeria, a victory with justice but Easter teaches us that there can be no day of victory unless we pass through the hour of struggles against evil and illumine ourselves with our Savior. It’s the only way to enter into glory. Just like our Blessed Lord told the disciples on their way to Emaus, know you not that the Son of Man must suffer in order to enter into glory, so also we Nigerians have already begun to pass into that hour of sacrifice. We have not chosen it, it’s been forced upon us by our enemies but we are in it. Like the saviour on Calvary, we are already being stripped.
Previously, we thought good and evil as points of view. But now we are dying to that false notion. If there are wrong, then there must be right, if there is devil, there must be God. In the midst of all world sufferings, we either suffer on God’s side or we take the path of Satan. The implications of both are apparent. The former will grant us a day of victory while the later will crush us onto eternal damnation. Let us set our priorities right!

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