Reflection 041220 (Easter Sunday) April 12, 2020
Acts 10:34-43/ John 20:1-18
It feels strange to celebrate Easter in social isolation instead of with our Christian sisters and brothers, as it should be. However, it also feels special to meditate on the resurrection of Jesus as many of God’s people are sick and dying from COVID-19. Also, like the disciples of Jesus during his time of suffering and death, we are scared. It feels like we are living in the period between the death and resurrection of Jesus; scared, sad, and behind closed doors. Spoiler alert for next Sunday: the disciples were behind closed doors and scared when Jesus came to them and said, “Peace be with you.”
This Easter reminds us of how precious life and our relationships are. Easter is about life. The resurrection of Jesus is a metaphor for the life we are called to live as disciples. We need a spiritual revival, which is our resurrection. Learning from our social isolation that makes us cherish all the mundane things and people in our lives that we used to take for granted, let us wake up, come alive again, and cherish life; every moment of our lives. Let us appreciate all our blessings that are so mundane that we don’t usually think about; our relationships and gathering with people in our lives, and ordinary activities from which we are cut out. Let us start living fully, both for ourselves and in our relationships with others. We observe in the biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus that his disciples looked for their teacher in the wrong place. They came to the tomb because they knew that he was dead but looks can be deceiving, can’t they? They met the resurrected Jesus when they turned away from the tomb and was able to see clearly. And the joy that Mary experienced when she was finally able to recognize the man in front of her!
This Easter, let us ask ourselves if we are looking for the divine in the right places. Where are we looking for the presence of God? Where are we seeking happiness? There are a lot of attractive things in the world that look worthy of seeking, but are they really? People seek wealth, material comfort, and power. But maybe those things are the tomb of Jesus. Only when we look away from the worldly things and look to the Spirit of God inside us can we encounter the divine and receive God’s guidance. This Lent in my social isolation, I heard God’s voice saying we should rise to the occasion in this crisis and evolve into a better version of humanity; and this is what I am preaching to you. During Peter’s sermon in Acts 10:39, he says we are witnesses to all that Jesus did. As witnesses and followers of Jesus, we should “follow” his beliefs and lifestyle, and “witness” them through our lives. Jesus was all love and compassion because God is. Just as Jesus was all love and compassion, so should we.
I pray that this Easter will teach us to be more compassionate like our teacher Jesus. As we all participate in stopping the pandemic, I wish we will start thinking of and caring for others more as Jesus would have done. God led us to eternal life through the life (and death) and teachings of Jesus. As his followers, we are called to live a life that gives life to the world and its people; a life-giving life. When we fully drink in our blessings and feel the joy and gratitude, we are giving life (to ourselves). When we help someone feel loved in their loneliness, we are giving life. When we help someone feel hope in their despair, we are giving life. This Easter, let us pray for overflowing gratitude for our blessings and compassion for others. Let us celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the true life that God promised us by living a life-giving lifestyle. Love yourselves. Love all God’s creatures as your own. Do not stay silent at social injustice and the suffering of the marginalized. We are witnesses to the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus, whom we follow. Let us celebrate his resurrection by reviving our souls and starting to live a life-giving life.