COVENANT SOLIDARITY, Sarah-Leah Pimentel •
While most of us were enjoying the Easter celebrations, delighting in the beauty and joy of the Easter vigil liturgy or the surprise and wonder of the disciples in the Easter Sunday readings, for the Christians of Sri Lanka Good Friday never ended. Death overshadowed the promise of a new and renewed life.—
The Easter candle splattered with blood of the martyrs reminds us that although Jesus is resurrected into eternal life, his body and the body of His Church remain on the cross of suffering.
The coordinated terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka did not discriminate between Christian and non-Christian. The attackers targeted three churches and four hotels. The authorities were able to prevent more carnage by defusing another bomb near the airport. About 300 people are dead and 500 are wounded. A nation is in mourning.
Even children, who should be full of life and give us hope for the future, were not spared. In Nigeria, during an Easter Sunday, a policeman – upset that the people were blocking the road – drove his car straight into a group of children who were part of the procession. He killed 10 people and another 30 are in hospital. The worshippers, in their anger, attacked the policeman and killed him, all thoughts of resurrection destroyed.
On Monday, a massive earthquake hit Luzon, Philippines, destroying lives and buildings. So far, 11 people have been confirmed dead and rescue operations continue. For them too, the joy of Easter was short-lived.
How can we truly celebrate Easter amid so much human misery?
Holy Week began with the devastating fire in Notre Dame and it seems that the destruction, suffering and death has not ended. How can we truly celebrate Easter amid so much human misery?
On the other hand, all this bad news is exhausting. We are tempted to turn away, refusing to let it affect us. After all, these are not my people, this is not my country. We protect ourselves by ignoring what is happening. Closing in on ourselves, we become indifferent.
In his “Urbi et Orbi” Easter message, Pope Francis urged the people of God against this kind of attitude: “Before the many sufferings of our time, may the Lord of life not find us cold and indifferent. May he make us builders of bridges, not walls.”
It is easier to build walls than human bridges. Within 24-hours of the Notre Dame fire, millions of euro had been donated to rebuild the physical stones of the historic church. The people of Paris gathered outside of the cathedral and prayed, a miracle in increasingly secular Europe.
The blood of our indifference
What is our response when the “living stones” of Christ’s Church are torn down?
Perhaps the image of Easter 2019 is that the Easter candle drips with the blood of our indifference, the blood of our self-centredness, the blood of the destruction we have brought to our planet.
Jesus has already redeemed everything by overcoming death once and for all. He now calls us to do the same. Only then can we truly live in the Light of the Resurrection.