“We fully trust that humanity and the Filipino people shall overcome.”
Two millennia after the crucifixion, people continue to mock and reject the Messiah by their iniquities. We remain blinded by sin because of pride, selfishness, and unwillingness to love and acknowledge Christ as our savior. Yet by his suffering and death, Jesus teaches us the way to redemption. By his sacrifice, the Lord has shown us that sacrifice and death to oneself is not an object for mockery and derision but a way to redemption. To this day, we continue to look for redemption in all the wrong places. We continue to be lured by would-be messiahs who promise utopia or paradise but in the end are often merely illusionary.
With elections just around the corner, the whole country is bracing to choose a leader, one who, we all aspire, will bring us out of the quagmire of poverty and inequality and steer the nation toward prosperity and security. Much like in the days of old, each has his own self-defined version of God, just us we harbor unique notions of what a leader should be – our own version of a messiah.
God’s sacrifice shows us the guidepost on how to choose the right leader. During the traditional Sunday blessing following Palm Sunday Mass, Pope Francis said leaders should be “willing to make some sacrifices for the good of the people.” And at various moments of his pontificate, following the example of Christ as his guide, the Holy Father enumerated to us Christ-like qualities that a good leader must possess. The Holy Father said that a good leader fosters leadership in others, is willing to serve, is close to the people, is humble, is poor in spirit, and is not averse to undergo sacrifice for the common good. It is thus imperative that we choose a leader, not based on his promises, but because he impersonates the qualities that Christ manifested in his life as well as in his passion.
And His resurrection.
We learn from the scriptures that as Jesus was suffering the agony of the cross, his disciples, fearful for their own safety, abandoned their master and fled. This is so because they did not understand what is written in the scriptures that on the third day, He will rise from the dead.
But it is also written that in time, as they learned about Jesus’ resurrection, they were emboldened by his spirit and boldly left Jerusalem to enter the whole world, as dangerous as it was, to share this Good News.
Yet the women, yes the women of Jerusalem, were present from the beginning until the end. They stayed with Jesus and his mother at the foot of the cross. One of the women, Mary Magdala and the other Mary visited the tomb in the morning of that fateful day to anoint the body and discovered the empty tomb.
In his Easter message last year, Pope Francis pointed out what the Risen Christ means to us Christians. According to the Holy Father, because of Easter “it is always possible to begin anew, because there is a new life that God can awaken in us in spite of all our failures…in the cross of suffering, desolation and death, and in the glory of a life that rises again, a history that changes, a hope that is reborn. In these dark months of the pandemic, let us listen to the Risen Lord as he invites us to begin anew and never lose hope.”
Pope Francis emphasizes that the Risen Lord is the guide of history, “…He invites us to overcome barriers, banish prejudices and draw near to those around us every day in order to rediscover the grace of everyday life. Let us recognize him here in our Galilees, in everyday life. With him, life will change. For beyond all defeats, evil and violence, beyond all suffering and death, the Risen One lives and guides history.”
Francis’ call for renewal of spirit, faith in the Risen Lord and Christ as guide of our history which he enunciated on Easter of last year remains true, if not moreso, to this day. Humanity has gone through so much during the last few decades. Violence, death, sickness and enormous suffering have come to visit many. On top of this, the war in Ukraine is seriously threatening the stability and security of the world while the Philippine elections in 2022 looms as a big reversal of democratic gains from 1986 and could cast a big shadow over human rights.
But through Christ’s resurrection, we fully trust that humanity and the Filipino people shall overcome. For Christ has already turned defeat into victory, our sorrows into joy. And on this, we can believe in and live by because the Risen Christ is the guarantee of our vindication and the certainty of the final victory.
Website: tonylavina.com Facebook: deantonylavs Twitter: tonylavs