At Easter old traditions reappear - cleaning the house, cooking traditional dishes, coloring eggs, in red perhaps because this brings health, exchanging greetings and gifts -; but the world, especially those who call themselves Christian, have at least understood what announces a risen "body"? How is it then that there is trafficking in human beings and the absurd trafficking of organs?
Easter traditions are many: cleaning the house, cooking traditional dishes, coloring eggs, in red perhaps because this brings health, exchanging greetings and gifts. Easter is represented with curious symbols: a bunny for children or the fire lit by natural means (silica, two pieces of wood, a big lens). There are farmers who spread ashes over the fields to propitiate the harvest or to symbolize the end of winter and the coming of spring. Somewhere eggs are hidden in the garden to entertain the kids and decorated wreaths are hung at the front door and painted eggs to the trees of the garden to create a party atmosphere. The bells keep silent in Good Friday and are played again on Easter night. The churches are kept in the dark and the faithful will light a candle that afterwards is taken home. In a London pub, "The Widow's Son", are preserved two hundred specimens of the traditional hot-cross buns because the legend says: "A widow was waiting for her son, a sailor lost at sea. She never wanted to despair and continued every year to prepare those sweets for him." There are young people who remembering an ancient fertility rite spray the girls with spring water and families that on Easter morning go to the grave of a relative and consume there a picnic with colored boiled eggs red, the symbol of new life. Always and everywhere the symbols are life, its return, happiness, peace.
And yet, reading the news this month one wonders: the world, especially those who call themselves Christian, have at least understood what announces a risen "body"? How is it then that there are trafficking in human beings and the absurd trafficking of organs? Wars, displaced, death by hunger in the South Sudan desert?
Pope Benedict in his Urbi and Orbi 2010 message asked to overcome the multiple tragic expressions of a death culture and build a future of love and truth. The Resurrection is to bring light and strength to the leaders, so that economic and financial activity can be centered on truth, justice and fraternal aid criteria. Is it not an absurdity to build hospitals and hotels, and now fitness and even cemeteries for dogs and cats, and let children and elderly die of hunger in the desert or accumulate substantial economic gain on the back of prisoners and those evicted from the wars? "There is no religious and human justification for these things, this is not human." Pope Francis was referring to the attacks in Paris, but his word reaches all situations in which human logic and any sense of faith ceases.
"Almost without realizing it, we have become unable to feel compassion to the others' sufferings, we neither cry before the others' drama nor are we interested in taking care of them, as if it was a responsibility alien to us, somewhat we are not involved in," repeats Pope Francis. While "The life of every community requires that we fight for the end of the cancer of corruption, the cancer of human exploitation and labor, and lawlessness poison. Within us and with others, let us never tire of fighting for truth and justice."
Easter is not only a Christian feast, but also a paradigmatic event for the whole human society. "Death with Life contended: combat strangely ended. Life’s own Champion, slain, yet lives to reign", sing the Catholic liturgy. In his resurrection, Jesus is the firstborn –the one who causes the vaginal opening, according to the biblical expression-; He removed the stone from the tomb and opened from earth’s womb a path of unity for humanity: unity of purpose, of hearts, and of physical and psychological relationships that make us one in the unity of one Life. A heart opened to the universal communion, does not exclude anything or anyone. Easter such as an historic event for the believers, Easter such as a parable of life is essential for a journey towards justice. "Jesus has proclaimed the victory of Life over death. This Life, sold at a cheap price, betrayed, condemned, nailed to a cross and locked in the dark of a tomb, found the power to rise again and give himself to every person who lets himself be engulfed by the unconditional love of God. Like then, even now life is betrayed and sold. We live in a world where radicalism is likely to take over, where there is no place for the impoverished and the crucified of history, where walls are built and bridges torn down. A world where the economy of selfishness and death creates scraps of humanity and the search of welfare but just for personal benefit and where we become increasingly unable to open up to the gift that becomes a blessing and is fragmented so that it may be shared."
Easter 2017 announces that another world is possible, a world where life triumphs and where we all have life in abundance. Easter, even for the unbelievers announces the victory of Life over death, calls us to make common cause with those who are discarded and rejected, a means to let ourselves be overcome by the Life of God so that we may share it with the neglected of history.
Let us celebrate Easter as resurrection!