The Victory of Easter in the midst of COVID-19
The Good News of Easter in the midst of COVID-19
Happy Easter Everyone!
Let me begin by drawing your attention to these figures: 1,777,666 – Known COVID-19 cases to date. Of that number, 108,867 comprise deaths. Here in the US, holding the highest number of cases globally with 529,951 cases. Of that number, 20,608 comprise deaths. These numbers continue to surge as we speak.
So, where is the Good News? Where is the Victory of Easter that we are supposed to celebrate today? Where is the victory of the Cross from Good Friday? Well, here’s the Good News: Of the 1.7 million cases, there is 404,372 recovery record, which is more than half the recorded deaths. In the US, it’s the same. Of the half a million cases, there is 32 thousand recovery record, which is also more than half of the recorded deaths, even if we count its highest number from yesterday which is around 2 thousand – the highest recorded number of deaths in a day.
I believe that these are little victories which we should give ourselves credit for. Since the pandemic, though our churches have closed its doors to services in public and have to follow the “Shelter in Place” guidelines, we have been livestreaming Masses, offering prayers to one another and have continuously reached out virtually to help one another in the best though unusual ways.
Some more silver linings: WearGooVibes.co beautifully summarizes the learnings, I call “victories” from recent events. It started by saying, “Things will never be the same again.” We learned …
- to appreciate what we have – food, home, family, because not everyone have it.
- how to be selfless, helping others even if it means risking our own lives,
- to appreciate the sacrifices of others who aid and save strangers,
- to be united because for the first time after a hundred years, the whole human race is fighting as one,
- leaders took charge of their nations and took care of its people; and the people followed and prayed for their leaders’ success,
- to value our life because we saw from thousands of people dying that life is very fragile, so we learned to spend our remaining time doing what truly matters,
Above all, we learned that we are just humans who need bigger than us to protect us, we NEED GOD!
Today, we are here to acknowledge our little victories and learnings. We are here to REJOICE even though we are not fully disposed to taste and acknowledge this wonderful feeling as many of us could be mourning, afraid and are anxious about tomorrow! But, we rejoice because life has triumphed over death; justice over injustice and goodness over evil. Jesus’ passion which we have described as FEAR, PAIN and SOLITUDE is overcome by His grace, love and presence.
On Good Friday, Jesus was falsely charged of crimes he did not commit, and unjustly sentenced to a death he did not deserve. His good friend betrayed him, his trusted companions deserted him and his number one man denied him. The people he loved demanded his crucifixion and chose to have the bandit Barabbas released in his place. It was a story of betrayal and lies, dishonesty and meanness, unfaithfulness and wicked violence directed against an innocent and apparently helpless victim. All this reached its peak when Jesus was scourged, mocked, led on the death march, nailed to the cross, died and hastily buried in a tomb.
Today, however, we hear a different story. There is one last important chapter. In this chapter, Jesus rises from the dead in all glory and majesty. His enemies are shamed and confused. He is the Lord who will prevail over all mankind. For us, this is truly good news … this is EASTER!
The significance of Easter reminds us that Holy week does not end on Good Friday (in FEAR, PAIN and SOLITUDE) nor does it end on Holy Saturday. It ends on Easter Sunday commemorating His resurrection. And even so it ends, it marks the beginning of a new life. A life that we are called to live in faith and hope in the Risen Christ. We may think that we have suffered so much and that our trials may seem unending but let us all remember that Christ suffered too. He suffered and died but was able to conquer death in obedience to the Father.
At the start of Holy Week we shouted, “Hosanna to the King!” An exclamation recognizing our dependence of Him which means “save me” in Greek; on Good Friday we joined the crowd saying “crucify him!” An exclamation condemning Christ to the cross. Today, we say “Hallelujah!” An exclamation of rejoicing where after acknowledging our sinfulness, we go back to Him in repentance as a renewed Christian.
On Easter Sunday, we are all called to look to the East, to the sunrise, to the start of an era in our lives, to the first spring of energy, to the first ray of hope, to the first song of joy, hallelujah!
Happy Easter to one and all!