Easter Vigil, 2012, Sacred Heart Cathedral

Some Christians want us to believe that being a Christian means living love, peace, joy, in short, all the good things of life all the time. They even go to the extent to say: “If you give generously, e.g., RM 1,000, God will repay you a hundred fold, e.g., 100,000. I will respond with a very strong vulgar term to shock you into the truth. “Bull Sh*t.” Being a Christian means following Jesus Christ who walked the life of a human person, was tempted, trialed, suffered, died and buried. Yes, He was resurrected and promised us also resurrection if we die with Him, which is love which brings with it peace and joy. Hence, said St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians chapter 15 verse 14:“… if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”

Christianity is both the cross and the resurrection. One without the other is not Christian. It is the same with human life: it is both suffering and joy. Only non-living things like stones have no suffering and joy. Christ’s passion and suffering death and resurrection is patterned after what it means to be human.

The Holy Week celebration is the height of Christian celebration which embraces all — from creation of the universe, the fall of human beings into sin, evil, and Christ’s  coming to save us through his death and resurrection.

The resurrection of Jesus is God’s protest against the finality of death or in the words of St. Paul “the pledge of sin.” It is love outdoing evil and violence. It is laughter in the tomb. And it is God who has the last laugh.

What do we see today?  Natural disasters, violence and hatred, cheating and corruption, conflicts and wars – they all disfigure so many people. And this is happening all over the world.

What has Jesus, the Son of God, to say to us in all these ugly scenes in the world?

In celebrating Easter, like JESUS, the Son of God, , we proclaim, and more than proclaim, we participate in God’s protest against violence of all kinds – physical, psychological and spiritual; against discrimination, exploitation of weaker brethren (e.g., the migrant workers) and terrorism. Resurrection has meaning only when we share in Christ’s triumph over death brought about by selfishness that causes pain to others, greed that feeds corruption, power that breeds injustice and hatred that bursts into revenge, terrorism and war. To accept this litany of deaths as inevitable is to empty the resurrection of its power.

We see resurrection when we see tired nurses hugging people back to life, when we hear of the many selfless doctors and voluntary social workers bringing health to the sick and dying, when we hear of Malaysian Catholics and other Christians go to Africa, India, Myanmar and other countries to bring a ray of hope to the poor and marginalized. We experience resurrection ourselves when we, through love, bring compassion and a smile to the face of a suffering person and a song to the heart of a grieving person.

ONLY intertwined with Christ, can HE, CHRIST, change our suffering, sorrows, pains, frustrations, anger, etc., into a resurrected life of peace, joy and love.