In Easter… He is alive and He wants you to be so

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In Easter… He is alive and He wants you to be so

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

I have found five lessons relevant to this year's Easter:

First: Since the 1970s, the churches in Jordan have chosen to unify the celebrations of Christmas and Easter. This was the case at a time when the churches of the neighboring countries and Arab countries in general still dream of following the same example. There are still obstacles in the way. Yet, the option of unity is always the most sublime one. We still dream of the year when the feast will be unified in the calendar and in the hearts as well.

Second: Pope Francis has earlier addressed the youth in a 200-page message titled, "Christus Vivit'' (Jesus is Alive) which exudes the glorious scent of Easter and the Resurrection to the youth of today. He says, "The Lord is with you and in you. He will never leave you. No matter how far you go, He is there by your side. He is the Risen from the dead who invites you and awaits you to return to Him, and start anew. When you feel that you are ageing caused by grief, resentment, fear, doubt and failure, He will be with you to give you strength and hope. He it is alive and wants you to be so." What is Easter? It is the fight against ageing because of sadness, resentment, fears, doubts, and failures, as well as some stones of our time placed on the door of the grave. How beautiful this appeal is: He is alive and wants you to be so!

Third: The world, whose conscience is still alive, does not lose sight of Sri Lanka's bloody Easter. The issue applies to the death of the conscience by those who concocted, planned, supported, funded, sympathized with, as well as justified murder and bombing. The media posted the image of one of the terrorists who was on his way to get into the church. He was met by a little girl who patted her on the head (in a reflection of love). She looked at him with innocence as if she was trying to restore his conscience… yet he continued his evil procession and killed hundreds. If you read the looks of the girl, you will notice that she was telling him to restore logic... Several attempts get under way to restore conscience, yet when the conscience is dead, then all efforts fail.

Fourth: The media outlets enquire about the "eggs of the feast" and the symbols of roosters and rabbits. What do they signify? They are merely popular traditions that have nothing to do with the essence of the feast, except the symbol of the rooster that crowed when Peter denied His Master who was taken to be crucified, according to a prophecy on Lord Jesus Christ. As for the Easter decorations, which follow the example of Christmas decorations, they are merely designed to make commercial gains. There could be popular interpretations of the images of the rabbits that multiply in spring, or the red-colored feast eggs that symbolize the blood of Lord Jesus… but all of this is nonsense without thinking about the true essence of the feast.

Fifth: The Christians end their fasting this year, a few days before the start of the Ramadan fasting by the Muslim brethren. This is a message of human brotherhood and of the encounter on many commonalities that reflect the human sublimeness in love and mutual respect, away from extremist thoughts, intolerance, violence and terrorism.

Happy Easter, oh Christians, and Happy Ramadan, oh Muslims!

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