Fr MarcelBy Fr. Marcel Uwineza, SJ
Boston College, USA

At Easter, we contemplate God’s hospitality par excellence. Jesus’ crucifixion and death disclosed God’s embrace of the suffering of those grieved or put to death by human cruelty. In Jesus, we realize that the essence of salvation is not primarily to be saved from physical death, but to be in exodus on our way to the Father. Death as “the tyrant’s last weapon has been trumped. Resurrection is the overthrow of those whose power depends on their ability to deal in death” (N.T. Wright).
In the Gospels, one detail goes to the heart of Easter: the stone that covered the tomb was taken away. The veil that stood like a wall between humanity and God was rolled away and in Christ, the way to the Father is once more wide-open. The removed stone is a sign of God’s hospitality. God shook hands with us and the life of God streams in the “veins” of humanity. Hope is indeed the message, confirming Jesus’ words: “I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”(Jn 12:32) In him, all have a place. Jesus thus reveals God’s hospitality. In him, we experience an Exodus from the bondage of sin in our life; the stones in our life are rolled away.

 

We carry “stones” in different sizes and they can weigh us down. These may be things/people we are attached to and we cannot let go, these may be financial worries, or may be stones of negative ethnicity, genocide, and dangerous memories of our hi/stories. In Christ, a firm believer knows that God’s living presence is stronger and penetrates further than these “stones” of life and the absurdities of death. With the resurrection, God speaks clearly: death, sin, injustice, and evil do not have the final word. To be a Christian is to be a witness of the resurrection in and out of season. The resurrection offers the freedom to commit ourselves impartially for others with the confidence that such dedication is of decisive significance.

The beauty of Easter is that God does not fire us! God's mercy runs to meet us. If you mess up in a company, you may be fired. If you apologize, you may be pardoned, but that may influence the manager’s attitude towards you. Amazingly, Easter is a season of the full second chance, offered to all, with affirmation of the inalienable value and dignity of life at all times.

Christ asked to meet his disciples in Galilee (Mt 28:16). Similarly, he sends us back to our “Galilees” where everything started to rediscover our “honeymoons.” With Easter, Christ continues to walk with us. Through his appearances to his disoriented disciples, He invites us to walk with those who have been hurt or left unjustly behind, to know their hi/stories, to enlarge our perspectives as we enter into their worlds, to be all liberated, and be Church together.
Jesus’ resurrection points beyond history. Yet it has left a footprint within history. It is not about a certain deceased individual coming back to life, but an ontological leap that creates for all of us a new space of being in union with God. It depicts God’s unwavering hospitality, telling us: “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have called you, and you are mine.” But this leaves us with a challenge: What do we do with this invitation?

 

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