As I sat to write this article, what struck me was the song, It’s My Life from the rock band, Bon Jovi. In a nutshell, Jon Bon Jovi says – this song is not one for the faint hearted or a prayer for the faith-departed (those who lack confidence). But for the ones who stood their ground and never backed down in the face of tomorrow’s hardships. For one has got to make his own breaks when he faces the one life he has to make. We may never know if Jon Bon Jovi is reflecting the values of the Christian faith through his song.
What we do know, unlike Bon Jovi’s lyrics, is that ‘my life is a gift to me from God’ and ‘I am not free to do with it what I wish, much less to end it’. Also, we know that Jesus stood His ground for the cause of justice, love, compassion towards the poor, which was a total antithesis to the strict legalistic Judaic law. For this, he suffered, died and His Resurrection brought us new life.
As we celebrate the most important feast of the Catholic calendar—Easter, we rejoice in Christ’s resurrection. In fact, every time at the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, we commemorate Jesus’ death and resurrection in the words, ‘Do this in memory of me’. It simply means that the Eucharist is a connection with Christ’s death on the Cross – A Supreme Sacrifice.
As a Christian, I’m called to selfless sacrifice. So, do I join the fire brigade or the armed forces, to put my nation before self? Not at all. Consider this simple example among many others. I only give to those who I judge are worthy of my charity. In doing so, I am guilty of discriminating and neglecting those who urgently need my help and are suffering under the pain of poverty. It is to the latter that I must sacrifice.
Someone may ask why does God’s creation permit suffering. If God’s creation was perfect, why did he allow suffering? Every day we hear of human tragedy. Loss of a loved one to cancer or an accident; terrorists mercilessly gunning down citizens, and honest hardworking people robbed of their savings or valuables through commercial frauds or armed robberies, our missionary priests and religious attacked because of their faith and trees axed indiscriminately for commercial gain.
How are these things possible if He is a God who loves and cares for us? God took pleasure in all of His creation (Revelation 4:11), and He loved people most of all. But when Adam sinned, there was a change, and along with that change, Suffering and Death entered into His creation. The whole universe now suffers from the effects of sin (Romans 8:22). We need to realise that we have rebelled, we have disobeyed, we have destroyed God’s creation and we are in need of Salvation from sin.
Jesus gave His life for us and through His death we gained redemption. ‘Do this in memory of me’ ring in my ears every time I am at mass, but nobody dies for another these days. In fact, we see a man being kicked and beaten to death or a girl being raped in a train compartment, and onlookers get swift into action with their smart phones, clicking videos and pictures while the victim is breathing his last. How disconnected and hard-hearted have we become?
Yet in our fast-paced lives, we ‘die a hundred deaths’ of anxiety about the future, fear of facing challenges, pain of humiliation/embarrassment, anger of envy/crab-mentality. Is there someone who can help us in our need? Yes! Jesus who showed us that to live we first must die. For He said, ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit’ (John 12:24). That is the WAY of the Resurrection.
A group of children performed an activity, where they were in a very dark room. They were frightened and clung to one another. Then the teacher lighted a candle and by reflex, the children unanimously said ‘Hah’. The teacher used the lighted candle to ignite the many candles that were placed on stands on one side of the room. The entire room was filled with light and they all shouted this time, ‘Hallelujah’, which would mean, Praise be our Christ, the Light of the world. That is the TRUTH of the Resurrection.
Jesus’ resurrection renews the hope and strength we had at Baptism and lets us know that death is not the end. We are consoled that life has not ended, but has changed for something better. God Gives Us New Life in Christ. ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new one has come’ (2 Corinthians: 5:17). That is the LIFE of the Resurrection.
The Resurrection of Jesus gives us the power of Resilience—to pick up the pieces of our lives however broken they may be and to start anew, stronger than before, letting the setbacks and difficulties drain their resolve. Nature is the best teacher. A tree will not die even if it is hacked and chopped. The bleeding bark will heal and from the stumps that are left, new shoots will arise and the tree will grow back with a renewed strength to its former size. That is Resurrection to A NEW LIFE—A NEW BEING—A NEW RESOLVE.
by Maria D’souza