The story of the passion and death of Jesus leaves us without words. It contains all the ugliness that can be found in life – hatred, violence, injustice, abuse of power, betrayal, mockery, deceit, ingratitude. The story is a concentration of evil that leads to the unjust condemnation of Jesus and then to his brutal death and his sealed burial in the tomb.
No wonder then his disciples felt traumatised and ended up disillusioned after they witnessed the triumph of evil that brought their every hope to nothing. For the disciples, the death of Jesus was the end of all he had stood for.
All they were left with were the teachings and the memories of Jesus who had gone about doing such good to the people in need, the sick, the poor, the outcasts. With his death and burial, everything came crashing down.
If the story had ended there, one can rightly speak about the triumph of evil, ugliness, and cynicism. But it did not! One event had yet to take place that would leave the disciples of Jesus more tongue-tied than his death had left them all.
On the day that the Risen Jesus met with his disciples, they could scarcely believe their eyes. He rose from the dead! In several other encounters he subsequently had with them, Jesus showed them clearly that he overcame death, that he is alive. This is why Easter is the greatest story, the most beautiful feast imaginable for all humanity because Jesus defeated death and rose to a new life.
Let us, therefore, rejoice with Jesus Christ triumphant, our Saviour. With his resurrection, we attained a new life. We won with him. It is the definitive victory of good over evil, life over death, of love over hatred. He is alive! He is not simply a person who lived long ago and whose memory we treasure. He is alive and therefore today he invites us to allow him to fill our lives with his peace and joy. With his resurrection, Jesus gives true meaning to our lives.
His way is victorious not because it necessarily has popular consensus. The passion itself showed how the crowd could choose to discard the good to embrace the bad, to follow what is fake to the detriment of the truth, to prefer a killer over the master of life. His way is victorious not because everything runs smoothly, without any difficulties or suffering, or because there are no challenges left in life.
The way of Jesus is victorious because it is true. It is the way which does not have the tomb as its destination, but moves beyond, to eternal life.
It is victorious because it is true in this very life, where it brings real joy and peace. So when we choose the way of love, forgiveness, honesty, justice, peace, unity, when we treasure life, we are choosing the victorious way. It is the way that the living Jesus shows us, it is the way of true success, of the hope that does not deceive.
Whenever we lift someone up broken by the trials of life, whenever we help anyone to overcome the obstacles that are hindering him or her from living a decent life, we are sharing in the resurrection of Jesus. Whenever we offer true hope to those who are losing heart, every time we stand with those who are suffering and are victims of injustice or abuse, we are sharing in the resurrection of Jesus. Every time we strive to save human lives struggling to survive between sea and sky in their quest for shelter, and at the same time protect human lives that have been conceived but not yet born, we are on this victorious way shown by Jesus himself with his resurrection.
When we choose to rise from our sin rather than justify it, we are sharing in the resurrection of Jesus who gives us new life.
Thank you, Lord, for saving us through your passion, death and resurrection. Help us to treasure the peace and joy you give us, and to always walk in the way of victory.
✠ Joseph Galea-Curmi
This article was published on The Malta Independent on Sunday on Sunday 21st April 2019.