In non-tropical countries, Easter season occurs during springtime and springtime comes immediately after winter. It is during this season of the year, when cold days are fading and sun starts shining brightly, rivers coming back to life, animals are roaming again freely from hibernation, lifeless brown trunks starting to put on leaves and flowers blooming once again. What a sight to behold!
One of the memorable events I recall about Easter time happened during my childhood days. People were looking forward for Easter season to witness the re-enactment of the meeting of Jesus and Mary after His Resurrection. I remember I have to go with my mother during the wee hours (4 a.m.) of the morning to watch a liturgical play wherein one of the highlights is the meeting (“salubong”) of Virgin Mary and the Resurrected Jesus. Coming from opposite direction, the statue of Mary which is covered with a black cloth and Jesus, are scheduled to meet at a designated place. Throngs of people would accompany Jesus’ group while others would accompany that of Mary’s. Thereafter an angel (a little girl chosen among the select few to portray the character) suspended up above would be assigned to take off the black veil from Mary and then people would sing and rejoice. Innocent child as I was, this particular event amazed me, brought goose bumps and joy into my heart, primarily due to the festive atmosphere and with the belief that Jesus has indeed truly risen from the dead during that particular hour and time of day!
As I grew up, this event unfolded to include other rituals such as the blessing of the oil and water outside the church and the candle lighting ceremony where candles held by the people in the church are lit by the holy flame or the so-called Paschal candle.
While the said ceremonies are considered sacred, these are merely symbolic as far as I know. The true meaning of Easter is that this is the time where all of us, as one priest said, should start to be the rays of hope to the downtrodden and the hopeless, the lighted candles in the middle of darkness, and the helping hands to show compassion to the poor and the abandoned. That is the essence of Easter , the glory of Jesus Resurrection, and for this we have the valid reason to be glad and rejoice!
As we marked this great feast, let us recall the many wondrous deeds and favors God has granted in our lives. How many miracles did we receive so far from Him, regardless of the magnitude? What favors and prayer requests have been answered by Him? When were the times that He healed us? I have not been so vocal about God’s responses to the said hows, whats and the whens, but I would like to tell you all that He has provided me many wonderful things in all aspects of my life. I am sure God has acknowledged the gratefulness of my heart despite my weaknesses and I am so deeply touched by it. I know in my heart that God will have answers to my other petitions in the long run, in His time.
And so today is the appropriate time for us to start returning the favors to our Creator and Savior. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, let us offer our praise, honor and glory that He so deserves by giving and sharing to those in need the light, hope and love provided us by God and at the same time renewing our own lives to the fullest for Christ’s sake.
Having said this and with the resolve to do even better, for sure God will be very glad!
Allow me to greet you all: A Joyful and Blessed Easter season!