April 16, 2023 – Second Sunday of Easter (Sunday of Divine Mercy)
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/041623.cfm)
Happy Easter to all. Last Sunday we celebrated Easter Sunday. We celebrated and proclaimed our Christian faith that our Lord Jesus Christ has indeed risen into our lives. Today we are now on the 2nd Sunday of continuing celebration of Easter season. So, how is life after Easter Sunday?
After the preparations of Lent and the celebrations of Holy Week – after Easter Sunday surely, we are back to our normal ways – back to our usual routine, schedules, activities, programs, tasks, and responsibilities. But as we go along our normal ways and live our usual lives, we also wonder how is the message of resurrection of the risen Lord make sense and become more real now in our day to day living.
Yes, we believe that the Lord has risen. But how and in what ways the risen Lord has resurrected and can be resurrected into our ordinary lives today? Paano Siya naging at maging Buhay’ng-Muli sa Buhay ko at natin ngayon? This is the very challenge of Easter to us Christians during this Easter season.
While reflecting on the revival of Lazarus from the dead, Pope Francis once in his homily said that each one of us has a small tomb inside our hearts – that somehow somewhere in our lives, though still alive and breathing, is dying and dead inside. Yes, somehow, we are still & get used with isolations in our small caves, even after pandemic lockdowns & quarantine. Our small tombs are usually our dark secret holes and shadowy caves where we usually hide and bury our anger, hurts, pains, sufferings, failures, frustrations, anxiety, fears and addictions from ourselves and others.
And inside our small tomb, we do have the choice whether to be alone on our own, miserably struggling and grieving with the “why’s of life”… OR to invite the risen Lord to be part of our search for answers and sense for all these happenings in our lives. For Pope Francis, we need to recognize our dying and dead self-inside, and invite the risen Lord to be our Guest inside our small tombs and allow Him to be part of our death and dying within, and be resurrected into our New Life with Him.
Brothers and sisters, the empty tomb of Easter reveals to us that the risen Lord is not in his tomb, but out here and there revealing himself into our ordinary normal lives and offering us life and life eternal. The same way as He appeared before His disciples, the risen Lord is showing & will appear Himself to us in our ordinary lives anew with a promise of not only new normal but more so, of life eternal.
The mistake of Thomas in our gospel today is not so much for doubting the Lord’s resurrection but more so for being absent – he was not there when the Lord appeared the first time. Thomas at first did not recognize his own small tombs and invite the risen Lord to be part of his ordinary life. Only when he was with the other’s disciples in locked door room – present in their own tombs and allow the Lord to be part of His life that Thomas came to recognize and believe in the risen Lord.
Meaning, the risen Lord only wishes to be invited and partake into our own isolation inside our small tombs and in our ordinary lives so that He can share to us New Life with Him. No more being alone – on your own in your own tombs. Thus, no more hiding, navel-gazing, just looking into oneself – licking wounds, brooding, and sinking in anguish.
For the Easter message of Lord’s resurrection to be more real and meaningful now in our lives then, we must invite the Lord into our small tombs and allow His to be part of our usual day to day struggle with life. The Lord is risen and has indeed resurrected again and anew in our lives now – if and when we invite Him to be part of our small tombs and our ordinary lives. He also can only resurrect and bring our death and dying back to life anew if only and whenever we invite and allow the Lord to be part and be with our normal life’s-struggles and triumphs.
To have a more real and meaningful celebration of Easter Season then, Let the risen Lord in and allow Him to be our Guest – to be there and be part of our small tombs and our ordinary lives these days. And perhaps ask ourselves once again: What is the risen Lord offering me now here inside my tomb, inside my isolation? What is it in to me and what’s in for me? What are benefits and the purpose of letting Him be part of my life now: Healing, Peace, Mercy, Forgiveness, Hope, Mercy, Love, Release, Liberation, New Life, Holy Spirit…..?
Although we are back to our usual normal lives after Easter Sunday, we also know and believe that with the risen Lord in our lives now, life will never be the same again and as usual, but ours would now be a new normal life and better than before, IF and Whenever we invite and allow our risen Lord to be part of our small tombs and our daily ordinary lives. Siya Nawa. Hinaut pa unta. Kabay pa. Amen.