“You’re very another na“, youngsters quip. This quaint “Taglish” expression resonates in Easter, notes Catalino Arevalo of Loyola House of Studies.
After the resurrection, Jesus passes thru barred doors, then vanishes, Luke and John recount. Few recognize him immediately. Time and space are no longer constraints. Jesus, Luke and John observe. “He had become another.”
Traumatized disciples locked themselves into the Upper Room. They recoiled in fright when Jesus appears. “Touch me. And see for yourself that a ghost has no flesh and bones, ” he said, displaying nail-pierced hands and side. “You’re very another na.“
Mary Magdalene wept outside the empty tomb. She thought the gardener asked “Who are you looking for”? After Jesus calls “Mary”, she “turns and (says)… “Master.” In Emmaus village, he vanished after two disciples recognized him in “breaking of the bread”. “You’re very another na.”
Would you know it is Easter from the newscasts? Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona demands his unexplained dollar accounts remain unexplained. Fugitives Jovito Palparan and Joel Reyes thumb noses at the cops. One out of three kids go hungry, Unicef reports.
North Korea prefers nukes over wheat for it’s food-short people. Over 9,000 civilians have been killed since Syrians demanded greater liberties a year ago, UN estimates. Iran and its allied Lebanese force, Hezbollah, cheer the slaughter.
Like Syria ’s president Basha al Assad, few of us think of our deaths – and what lies beyond. Yet, Easter offers a “Lazarus moment “ to all, whether buried in a pauper’s grave or air-conditioned mausoleum.
“Lazarus, come forth”, Christ cried into a Bethany grave, two miles from Jerusalem . The tomb’s stone cover had been rolled away on his insistence. “I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus told Lazarus’ sisters: Martha and Mary”. Whoever believes in me, though he die, shall live.
Lazarus emerged, after being entombed for four days. “His hands and feet (were) bound with linen strips and his face wrapped in a cloth,” John records. “Untie him and let him go,” Jesus said.
We, too, will be untied from our inevitable burial shrouds and let go. All will have our “Lazarus moment”. “The hour is coming when all those lying in the tombs will hear my voice and come out,” Christ says. “Those who’ve done good shall rise to live and those who have done evil shall be condemned. ”
Coconut levies, overpriced police helicopters, even Lichtenstein bank accounts won’t matter then. But mercy will, Matthew teaches. Easter’s bottom line is about sharing our food with the hungry, clothing the naked, soothing the sick and reaching out to prisoners. “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did it to me.”
For Christ, “his deepest hurts, were those delivered from his own select group: Judas’ betrayal with a kiss and Peter’s trio of denials”, says a note from Alfredo Roces in Australia .
“We have all felt the sting of betrayal from the trusted”. Yet, Christ’s first request after rising is: “Tell Peter….”
“There are many Easter stories, writes Irish theologian Eammon Bredin ” But they all express the same message: God did not allow Him to be held in death”. This is not some kind of “His cause goes on.” Rather, they assert: Jesus has been brought, through death — into God’s future.
That experience “brought Peter the Rock out of Simon the betrayer and a crucified Paul out of a crucifying Saul.” It also forged a church of martyrs from scattered disciples.
The roll includes Lorenzo Ruiz of Binondo, martyred on Japan ’s Nishizaka Hill in 1637 and Pedro Calungsod of the Visayas. In 1672, Calungsod was hacked to death in Guam while protecting his co-missionary: the Jesuit Diego de San Vitores. He will be canonized at Piazza San Pietro on Oct 21.
In the Easter appearances, Paul and others use a different language.. They do not say: “We’ve seen Jesus again”, but “we have seen the Lord and worshiped Him.” Those who proclaim Easter in their lives, like Mother Teresa of Calcutta or Blessed John Paul II, sometimes stammer to articulate its meaning.
After Easter, Christ was “seen by some, but not by others’, notes Oblate columnist Ron Rolheiser. The Resurrection accounts form “an almost perfect parallel “ along those of the first Christmas.
The Child was real, not a ghost. The shepherds saw him. But “experts of the law” did not. Some got the meaning and this changed their lives.” Thus, the Magi “returned to their home country by another way”. Other massacred every child below two in Bethlehem.
Many passed by Calvary only to mock the crucified. The good thief asked only “to be remembered” and won quarter-of-midnight entry into the kingdom. Herod and Caiphas “hardened their hearts.
What enables some to see while others do not? Mary Magdalene and some women go to the tomb at dawn of Easter. Peter and John race to the tomb when told it is empty. “Others remain as they are, locked inside their own worlds”.
“Whether we see or not, depends upon what’s going on inside our own hearts,” Rolheiser adds. “The miraculous doesn’t force itself on us.”
In Easter 2012, one can reach out, across 6,000 years to a man who spoke of the resurrection as itaga sa bato. Deaths had decimated Job’s family and flocks then. . His friends had long vamoosed. And skin cancer gnawed at him.
“I know that my Redeemer lives,” Job insisted. “And In the end, He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”