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Easter Sunday Reflection – Year B, March 31, 2024 

Ref.   Ac.: 10:34a, 37-43          Ps 117 (118). 1… 23   1 Cor. 5:6b-8   Jn: 20:1-9

“To purify oneself from the old ferments of fear and become a new Passover”

The Easter Sunday Reflection is given by,

Fr. Matambura Ismael, SJ.,

AJAN Director

On this Easter day, we celebrate the victory of life, the victory of life over death. It is a day of joy, a day of celebration. “This is the day that the Lord made, a day of gladness and a day of joy.” Every year, Easter offers us the opportunity to begin a new life, to let ourselves be transformed by the simple and trusting joy of the living Christ, the Risen Jesus.

Last night, the gospel spoke about the fear of women confronted with the mystery of the resurrection. This fear which is the characteristic of every human in the face of life, this fear which enslaves and prevents us from hearing the message of resurrection.

Today, with the disciple, “the other disciple”, we have to “purify ourselves from the old ferments” of fear and welcome the bread of Passover, the new life in Christ.

For three years the disciples had followed Jesus. They had listened to his teachings full of hope. They had put all their love and trust in him. They counted on him to be the deliverer of Israel. It would be a new start for a world of justice and happiness. But then everything stopped on Friday evening. Jesus had just been arrested, condemned and put to death on a cross. It was the end of a great adventure. This created fear, a feeling of having lost everything. It was dark in their hearts. When everything goes wrong, we tell ourselves that there is no point in continuing and we want to give up everything. But on Easter morning something new is happening: life and death are reconciled.

1. Break the fear and embrace newness with faith.

The Easter Passover (Hebrew passage) represents something new. The origin of this festival dates back to the Passover of the Hebrew people who celebrated their exit from Egypt: passage from slavery to freedom. This passage was at the heart of the Alliance of the people of Israel with God and it still is today for our Jewish brothers and sisters.

Christians have given this holiday a new meaning. The celebration of the resurrection of Christ who passed from death to new life. Thus became, for Christians, the day of the Resurrection of Jesus.

Mary Magdalene, Peter and John mentioned in today’s Gospel, as well as the other apostles, women who came to the tomb, the disciples of Emmaus and more than 500 brothers, reveals Saint Paul, (I Cor.15 ,6) bear witness to this event of the resurrection of Jesus which changes the world. “Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb early in the morning; It was still dark.” She is motivated by her faith and her great love for Jesus. That is why she can break through fear, move quickly through the darkness, and even run. That is why at the sight of empty tomb “she runs to find Simon Peter and the other disciple”.

Jesus, who died on the cross, was raised from the tomb by his Father who made him Lord over the entire universe and all living beings. He becomes, as Father Teilhard De Chardin put it, the “Omega Point” which attracts everything to itself and through which all creation joins God the Father. Nothing is impossible about this extraordinary novelty anymore. Death and life are reconciled. A new life, a life “for God” appears says Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans (Rm. 6,10), and in this life, Christ leads us into it.

2. The Joy of being associated with life in God.

The risen Christ leads us into life in God: an eternal life. How can we not be joyful when we realize that we are called to enter with him into the fullness of life that he receives from God and that he communicates to us? “This is the day that the Lord has made, let it be a day of celebration and joy for us! (Ps. 117.24).

The joy of Easter is a profound joy that touches the whole being. It does not just mean a passing emotion. It is a way of being, one could say a “state of joy”. The joy of Easter radiates the lives of baptized people and believers with a light that radiates around them. It is a joy that has overcome doubt and which is lived without fear because it has found the basis on which to rest firmly: the resurrection of Jesus. The lives of the apostles after Pentecost offer us eloquent examples.

The resurrected Christ sends the message that life is worth living and that death is only a passage because life following Jesus leads to eternal life. Died with Christ, we live in him. Saint Paul reminds us of this by writing to the Christians of Rome in these terms “Consider that you are dead to sin, but alive to God in Jesus Christ” (Rm: 10, 11). This Jesus of Nazareth to whom God gave “the anointing of the Spirit and power. Wherever he went he did good and healed all those who were under the power of the devil because God was with him” (Reading 1).

3. Righteousness, service and truth: new ferments to build hope.

Celebrating Easter is, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, a call for transformation: purifying ourselves from the old ferments of perversity and vice as St Paul reminds us (1 Cor. 5.8). Easter invites us to clothe ourselves in the resurrected Christ, to celebrate with the leaven of righteousness, service and truth. We live in a world dominated by a culture of lies, indifference, death, selfishness, etc.

The Risen One challenges us. On Holy Thursday we contemplated him giving himself first in the Eucharist before giving himself on the cross. Through these gestures, we learn how to fight against selfishness, a self-centered life that blinds us and keeps us in a culture of death and indifference to the detriment of a Christocentric life, a life that sees God, that sees the other first. Responding to the disciples he said, “If I, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (Jn. 13:14-15). We are invited to imitate Christ to help transform our society. Throughout his public life, Christ put human well-being at the center. He further says that he came so that human beings might have life and live fully and abundantly (Jn. 10:10).

In the AJAN Network, we are at the service of this mission of Christ; our various ministries alongside the sick, the needy, the vulnerable and the young on the African continent and elsewhere are called to follow the model of Christ. We are now his feet to move to their encounter, we are his hands to serve them and offer them necessary support, we are his head to think about the right ways to act, etc. Our AJAN network would like our initiatives and our interventions to contribute to doing good, uplifting people and further building humanity in its entirety without excluding anyone.

The Lord is counting on us, on every Christian, to be bearers of life and joy. Many people fight against illness, physical or moral suffering, and despair. They need us to rediscover the taste for living. Our attention and our friendship must not forget those whom life crushes. A welcome, a forgiveness given, an outstretched hand to get back on your feet can bring about a miracle of rebirth. And, through all of this, a word that will testify to our faith will help them encounter the resurrected Christ.

Let us pray today that each of us becomes aware of this mission and that, like the resurrected Christ, we learn to speak more through our actions than through our words. May our hearts be this meeting place between the human and the divine to transform our world, our families, our workplaces, etc. in place of resurrection and joy. Amen.

Ismael Matambura



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