With or without the festal celebrations of the Easter time, the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ remains central to the Christian faith.
EASTER | COVID-19 | RELIGION
By Rev. Fr. Dr. Hilary R. Munyaneza
The Easter time is the period of the 50 days that run from the Easter vigil till the Pentecost Sunday. This is the time of joy as Christians all over the world celebrate the glorious resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ.
In this glorious Resurrection, Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death. This is central to the Christian faith as St. Paul rightly teaches us that, "I passed on to you what I received, which is of the greatest importance: that Christ died for our sins, as written in the Scriptures; that He was buried and that He was raised to life three days later, as written in the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
Due to this significance, the Easter Sunday became and indeed is "the mother of all Sundays" and "the mother of all feasts."
The Christian Easter replaces the Jewish Passover. The Jewish Passover was the feast commemorating the death of the Egyptians and the sparing of the Israelites.
The Israelites were saved because of having the blood smeared on the doorposts of their houses. Indeed, we read, "On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, the whole community of Israel will kill the animals.
The people are to take some of the blood and put it on the doorposts and above the doors of the houses in which the animals are to be eaten … On that night I will go through the land of Egypt, killing every firstborn male, both human and animal, and punishing all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord" (Exodus 12:6-7, 12).
Jesus Christ gave a new meaning to this Jewish feast by offering Himself as the Lamb of sacrifice hence becoming the Paschal Lamb (I Corinthians 5:7) that saves us from sin and death. This salvation leads us to virtue and life.
Celebrating the Easter time in this real context of the deadly COVID 19 that has put the entire world on tension means that the mode of celebrating changes.
We are not able to celebrate in worship all the Church functions because the Church buildings have been closed. This is a directive that was taken out of concern for each and every one of us.
However, the fact that we are not able to celebrate the Church functions as we always do celebrate does not mean that there is no Easter time. In this time of COVID 19, a big part of our Lenten season has been lived in silence. This silence has continued to the Easter time.
During the Easter time, the color of the vestments used in Holy Mass is white. This is the color of joy and glory. Under normal circumstances, these two qualities, namely, joy and glory should be reflected also in the adornment of the Churches so as to visually express the significance of this season in the Christian life. However, given the present experience of the Coronavirus that we are going through, some of these decorations may not be done.
In conclusion, with or without the festal celebrations of the Easter time, the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ remains central to the Christian faith.
In this moment, when we are still in the "Good Friday" because of the COVID-19, let us fix our hearts on God praying for His divine intervention.
This should be done in the spirit of Christian hope. Our Christian hope goes beyond the optimism that looks forward to a better future. Christian hope is the confidence that no matter what happens, God is in control. Our lives are in the hands of God who even writes straight on the crooked lines of our lives.
May the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen our faith and hope in God, our love for God and our neighbor most especially in this time when many of us have been made vulnerable due to the Coronavirus. Let us always remember that we do not have a hopeless end but an endless hope.
The writer is a Lecturer of Theology in St. Mbaaga's Major Seminary - Ggaba