Easter Reflections and Greetings from Fr. Gregory
Dear brothers and sisters in the risen Christ!
We have been waiting for this time for a long time! As Christians, we are entering the greatest celebration in the Catholic Church – Jesus’ Resurrection! In these days we run with the women and the apostles to the tomb of our Lord to see and make sure that he is truly risen. We run to recognise and profess our faith again: The True Messiah Jesus Christ really lives! The empty tomb explains what Jesus preached and did when visiting the cities and villages of Palestine. This empty tomb confirms all his miracles and signs.
Perhaps some of us watched the movie directed by Kevin Reynolds – “Risen”. This beautiful film tells of an investigation after the mysterious and incomprehensible disappearance of Jesus’ body. We can see there the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus seen through the eyes of the main character of the film a Roman officer Clavius. Pontius Pilate ordered him to find and arrest the apostles of Jesus, who according to him stole the body of the Master. Clavius, following the alleged thieves, went primarily into the depth of his heart. Watching this film, we get the impression that what the Roman officer sought and wanted the most was “freedom from killing and dying”. He wanted to free himself from the evil and violence that filled every day of his life. He was a ruthless killer, carrying out orders, but at one point he wanted to change his life. This young man and soldier gradually achieved his goal, looking life and meeting the true disciples of Christ. Clavius wondered a lot about the meaning of life and asked himself many difficult questions, and he slowly and gradually realized that not everything could be explained only by the human mind. The answer to his questions and dilemmas was not human wisdom or philosophy.
So, what influenced his life the most and completely changed it? It was above all a testimony of the life of the Apostles and the incredible goodness he experienced from them. At the end of this film there is another beautiful scene in which Clavius meets the risen Jesus. Jesus says to him, “You have seen me and you still have doubts. Can you imagine the feelings of those who will never see me but will want to believe!?”
Reading the gospel of the resurrection, we can say that the apostles and women were very happy and privileged because they saw Jesus many times. But what does it look like today? Can we – people living in the 21st century – rely only on the testimony of Jesus’ disciples? Can our faith be based only on the history of over 2,000 years? Can’t we personally experience the miracle of the resurrection and see the empty tomb? The answer to this question is very easy and optimistic: each of us can meet the Risen Lord. How can we do it? Let’s look again at the gospel that faithfully describes the Resurrection of Jesus. The apostles, concerned about the testimony of women, made an effort to go to the grave. This attitude is of great importance to us, because our faith always requires some effort and dedication, or – in other words – we should take a step forward towards Jesus.
Once, in a very interesting book, I found a metaphor that I remembered: “Only dead fish swim towards the river, live fish always swim against the current.” Using this wise metaphor, we can say that Jesus’ disciples were like living fish. They made an effort … They could see the empty tomb of their Master and entered the path of faith only because they decided to go against the tide, they decided to be active! This is a very important lesson for each of us: to be able to believe and see the risen Jesus, we must first become active even in these extraordinary and sad circumstances caused by the shadow that has covered the whole world. We can meet the risen Jesus by reading the Word of God. We can meet him in everyday prayer and every Sunday Eucharist in which we can participate through the media, because every Sunday is for us Christians a “little Easter”.
Dear brothers and sisters! At the end of my reflection, I want to thank you for your concern for me. Thank you for so many phone calls, emails, letters and Easter gifts. I’m sorry I can’t answer you all, but I will repay you with my prayers. Thank you also for your generosity for the parish. I want to tell you that I’m really well, and most importantly I’m not alone! Jesus is with me because I celebrate Mass every day in our parish house in the room in which Father Wilson lived, prayed and worked. I remember him every day in my prayers, but I also pray for our parish, for people affected by the virus and for those who look after them. I am not alone here either because one of our seminarians Jithu is with me. I am very grateful for his friendship, support and good company!
Finally, I wish you a happy Easter despite the shadow that covers our world. I wish that this great feast of the resurrection will change our hearts, that we will have the courage to swim against the current! Let’s ask ourselves what does it mean for me to swim against the current: at work at school, on holiday, in church or at home but also in isolation and in quarantine. Let our Lord’s empty tomb be a call and an encouragement to us: It is worth sacrificing everything for Jesus, because he is the source and meaning of life; He is the beginning and the end of our life! Let’s go with joy and announce that Christ really lives!