THE PASSERBY | The joy of Easter

By Fr. Roy Cimagala
Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE)
Talamban, Cebu City

YES, we have every reason to be most happy when we
celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Let’s hope that
when we greet each other, ‘Happy Easter,’ we would really mean it and
know what is behind that greeting. Let’s exhume that happy greeting
from the tomb of our usual formalisms and clichés. Let’s get real!

With Easter, we celebrate the tremendous truth of our
faith that Christ, our savior, is risen, never to die again. With his
resurrection, he has conquered sin and death, and is offering us the
way, the means and the power to do the same. This is the greatest news
of all time. Nothing can outshine it.

Easter marks the completion of Christ’s redemptive work on
us. With it, we now have the way to reach the fullness and perfection
of our humanity as truly the image and likeness of God, children of
his, meant to share in the divine life, because that is what God wants
for us. We are now given the way to arrive at that ideal meant for

It would be good if we can meditate more deeply on the
significance of Easter and continue to draw practical resolutions to
guide us in our earthly life. What a pity if Easter time would just be
a feel-good moment with hardly any tangible effect on our lives, on
the way we think, speak, react, behave, etc.

During this Easter season, we will be repeating many times
the responsorial psalm, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us
rejoice and be glad.” And we sing, “Alleluia, alleluia,’ in response.
With these words, we are told that Christ is truly alive.

He is not dead, nor is he just a character in history, a
significant one, no doubt, but just a historical figure. We are not
left orphans. We need to adjust our consciousness to accommodate this
fundamental, tremendous reality.

We have to understand that Christ’s death was meant to
conquer our sin and death. And he now invites us to die with him so we
can also rise with him. This is the “happy exchange” he is offering
us. He assumes all our sins without committing sin, dies to them to
put our sins to nothing, then rises.

We then have to understand that our resurrection in Christ
would always pass through his cross. We have to make sure that we pass
through his cross, not our man-made crosses, which actually can also
be made into Christ’s cross as long as we refer our crosses to his. We
should be ready for this.

That is why we really need to activate our faith to the
full, and with it, the corresponding virtues of hope and charity.
Everything else will flow from there insofar as our duty to correspond
to Christ’s redemptive work on us is concerned. All the human virtues
we need to develop, all the means we need to develop our spiritual
life, especially the sacraments Christ instituted for us, will come to
mind as a consequence.

The only thing that can nullify this good news is our
freedom, that is, when we would stupidly use it to deny Christ, either
openly or secretly, directly or indirectly, without repenting. And we
should not take this possibility lightly, because even Peter, the head
of the apostles, came close to it by denying Christ, not only once,
but three times. But he repented. That is the difference between our
salvation and condemnation, between our glorification and perdition.

With Easter, we can now face our life with confidence,
even if we commit mistakes and fall into sin. Let’s remember that
Christian life is not so much a matter of avoiding sins as following
God’s loving will. This means that we pray always, we follow his
commandments, we do his will which is nothing other than for us to be
holy and do continuing apostolate, helping one another to go to