Easter Message of the Provincial Superior
The Resurrection of Jesus highlights His presence in us and envelops us with His love, which takes away the fear and assures us of triumph. The sweet taste of Christ’s victory comes after His immeasurable anguish, which were narrated in the varied Gospel readings within the Holy Week. In the life story of Jesus we find His goodness in constant strife with diverse manifestations of the presence of the evil one, who defeated a good number of His disciples and followers, which in turn, incited His murder. His story contains elements of betrayal, denial, violence, abuse of power, false accusations, suffering, pain, fear and many more. As human persons, fear is our natural response against such hostile threats in our own lives. Toward the later part of this Lenten Season, find ourselves in a situation where pain, sickness, suffering and death in overwhelming figure are rapidly increasing in a short span of time, due to the prevailing pandemic. There is fear that more people will get sick and eventually die. There is fear that the next victim might be an acquaintance, a loved one, a family member and even a confrere.
These created a very dark background where Jesus shines at His brightest. The words of Jesus, “Do not be afraid…” (Mt. 28:10), lead our sight to the firmness of character and the fidelity of Jesus to the Will of the Father. Jesus showed strength and held on to the Father’s Will. He did not give up His mission. He remained in union with His Father. Jesus is strength in the midst of weakness and suffering. He is courage in the thick of fear. He is the Good in the presence of evil. No evil was able to thwart Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection pours out immense blessings for us which flush out the evil in the world. He keeps the fire burning within us, so we can hope for the best. He taps the goodness imbedded at the very core of our humanity, which drives us to reach out to our disadvantaged brothers and sisters. It is the same goodness that brings us to our knees and trustingly pray that the Lord may deliver us from every evil. The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope that all who died will rise again in and with Him. It provides healing to those who are sick. It offers consolation to the suffering and protection to the people, who in different fields of services, are trying to respond to the basic needs of others. We may be beaten, but are not defeated.
We genuinely admire and commend our religious communities who are offering their prayers and acts of penance for an end to the pandemic. We also extend our gratitude to our communities who are venturing into creative ways of helping our deprived brothers and sisters within restrictive circumstances. Our physical movements may be constrained, but our prayers and charity unceasingly flourish, and our community life steadily strengthened.
Our celebration of Easter includes continuous prayers and active participation in the Liturgy and in other practices of piety as a Religious Community. Let us spend time in prayer as a Religious Community, beyond what our Rule of Life minimally requires. Let us continue to pray for others – those who are affected by the outbreak and those who are on the front line rendering their selfless services, so that our present circumstances may improve – for healing and deliverance from all forms of evil. Let us persist in asking the intercession of the Special Patrons of our Congregation, our Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Anthony of Padua, and our Founder, St. Hannibal Mary Di Francia.
Let us refrain from forms of celebrations, which may be displeasing to or inconsiderate of the difficult conditions of our hard-pressed brethren. Let us also assist, according to our capacity, our collaborators, especially those who are struggling to sustain their respective families. Through means viable, always respecting the directives of the authorities, let us share our blessings to the needy.
Bearing in mind Jesus’ exhortation, “Do not be afraid...” (Ibid.), let us entrust everything to the Lord, with full conviction that the Good triumphs because God is with us always (Mt. 28:20).
Fr. Orville R. Cajigal, RCJ