The Lord is truly Risen, Alleluia!

03-30-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

What a week this was! What a climax!

The said week, known as Holy Week, is always a week of gross contradictions and naked betrayals. These painful contradictions and betrayals involved people who were supposed to be the soul friends of our Lord and Savior Jesus and a people he “slaved” and sacrificed so much for. Led by the ever-impetuous Peter, the whole bunch of the apostles abandoned and betrayed Jesus at his hour of greatest need. This becomes particularly so painful after Peter even pompously professed that he was ready to die for him. That he would never abandon him even if others did. Did he? Not at all!

Then comes Good Friday; on this day, the entire crowd that had days earlier proclaimed Jesus as their king and in a frenzy never witnessed before, gave Him a triumphant entry into Jerusalem, turned against him and bayed for His blood! In a heinous legal judgment untypical of the Roman judiciary system, Pilate yielded to the demands of the Jews and had Christ tortured, humiliated and put to death by crucifixion. What a week this was!

However, after the terribly shocking senselessness and cruelty of humanity demonstrated on that Friday afternoon, and the subsequent despair of the day and night which followed, we come to the glorious experience of Sunday morning. This morning! In an equally dramatic turn of events, we experience the happiest endings of any episode - Christ rises from the dead! The tomb is empty as the readings of today announce! The Lord is truly Risen Alleluia!

Reflecting deeply on this however, although the tomb is empty this alone, up to this point, is no proof that Christ is risen. Mary of Magdala saw the empty tomb and says: They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him. Thereafter, Peter himself went into the tomb and 'saw' the linen cloths …

Evidently, the reality of the empty tomb notwithstanding, neither Peter nor Mary believed and professed faith in the resurrection at this point. It was only John the Beloved Disciple who did believe, and this was because he saw the empty tomb and understood the teaching of Scripture …(Jn.20:1-10). It was the Scriptures that opened his mind to the teachings of the Lord about His rising from the dead. He saw and believed!

As is always the case, the realities of life can only be properly understood in the light of the word of God. In this light, everything makes immediate sense, especially, under those confusing and seemingly meaningless circumstances which come unannounced into our human lives.

As we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, the message here is very clear for our own lives. We live in a world characterized by overwhelming routine, monotony and betrayals. We often are unable to make sense of what is happening in our lives. As a result, we get so angry with God because we imagine Him to be insensitive to whatever we are going through, be it financial loss, loss of relationship, difficult marital situations, illness, or even the death of a dear one. Yes, we often get so frustrated and confused with our situation to the point of despair. But never despair, the Lord is truly Risen and so shall we.

Remember that Easter, through the lenses of the scriptures always gives us the answer to our situations however painful they might be. When we link our situations whatever it may be, with the Scriptures, we begin to understand the empty tomb and that Christ is truly Risen and so shall we! That is how, John and Peter and the rest of the disciples eventually came to believe in the Resurrection and to understand its meaning because they finally understood the Scriptures. For them knowledge of the Scriptures became knowledge of Christ - and once they understood this, they became unstoppable in their zeal to spread the gospel. This should be the same for each one of us as we celebrate this great Easter Season. May this Season lead us closer to the love of the word of God - to the Scriptures so as to grow closer to the Risen Lord.

In closing, I would like now to invite you personally to join me and the African Priests and Nuns for a very uplifting and joyful liturgy tomorrow, April 1st , here at our Church at 10am. Come and enjoy the African spirit of Easter and the very engaging music by our African choir from St. James Catholic Church, Glendale.

The Lord is truly Risen, Alleluia!

I love you.