Easter and start again | Philstar.com
When Pope Francis celebrated the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on April 3, 2021, his most inspiring words in his homily were: “It is always possible to start over. Powerful words and three messages that continue to be relevant and much needed today.
Drawing inspiration from the Gospel reading of Mark 16:1-7 of the finding of the empty tomb – identical to the accounts of Luke and John with remarkable detail of the presence of a young man dressed in white, at the tomb , which tells of Mary and the other women to say to the disciples: “He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.
Pope Francis explains beautifully what it means to “go to Galilee”. It is to start again, “to return to the place in our heart where Jesus first called us to follow him”.
“In this Galilee, he continues, we learn to marvel at the infinite love of the Lord, which opens new paths on the path of our defeats”.
We are reminded that from the “rubble of our hearts” God can create a work of art, from the “ruined remains of our history”. It is also to move away from the tomb, to take new paths.
The second of Pope Francis’ messages is that as we walk away from the tomb, we should be strengthened by the thought that Jesus “is alive here and now.”
The reassuring words of the Pope: “He walks by your side every day, in every situation you live, in every trial you have to endure, in your deepest hopes and dreams… He opens new doors when you step expect the least; he urges you not to indulge in nostalgia for the past or cynicism about the present. Even if you feel that all is lost, please let yourself be amazed by the newness that Jesus brings: He will surely surprise you.
Draw your strength from the knowledge and certainty of the presence of Jesus in our daily lives and of those who share in each of our actions, each cross, each triumph. This knowledge brings us to Pope Francis’ third message, that Jesus loves us “without limits.”
With our renewal of baptismal promises during the Easter rites, the Pope reminds us once again: “Let us open our hearts, embrace life again and receive and share the love given, completely and eternally, by our Lord Jesus – living , here and now. .”
The Holy Week liturgy is always a deeply moving experience for me, often feeling like living it for the first time. It’s still familiar, but new and spiritually invigorating.
This is linked to my deep interest in the history of the religious traditions of the Church, which makes me appreciate even more the traditions that have been handed down to us today.
One book I keep turning to is “Many Books, Many Faiths” by Robert Ellwood and Barbara McGraw. This history of the great religions of humanity delves into the beginnings of Christianity.
They wrote that almost everything we know about Jesus comes to us through the hands of those who knew him since he himself left us no written document that he himself wrote. Christianity has never been an individual religion. It was communal. The disciples left their jobs and families and formed a new social group around Jesus. Remember that the disciples were always available for the preaching and miracles of Jesus and were told the deeper meanings of the parables.
In early Christianity, the church met for worship early in the morning on Sunday (commemorating the resurrection) because then it was just another ordinary working day. To avoid legal problems and possible persecution, Christians gathered quietly in private homes and catacombs. It was not until the 3rd century that churches began to be built.
Worship combined scripture, prayer, and instruction with the Eucharist, the sacred communal meal commemorating the Last Supper. Mass and Holy Communion remain the principal acts of worship in the Catholic Church.
I derive great comfort and serenity from the discovery that when I read about the practices and rites of the early Church, much of the worship and teachings of the Church have remained fundamentally unchanged. His message to me each Holy Week is that the true faith and its fundamental values are essential and enduring principles. These values must be timeless guiding principles and stand the test of time.
May our Easter this year lead us to beautiful beginnings not only in our personal lives but also for a more equitable Philippines for all sectors, especially the marginalized. And that the May 9 elections keep their promises.
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Meeting of young writers on April 23 with Roel SR Cruz, 2-3 p.m. Write Things’ six-day summer workshop “Writefest” (now in its 8th year) on May 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27 is now open for registration. Open to 8-17 year olds, it will take place from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. each session.
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