He is risen!
It happened on that first glorious Easter morning. Mary Magdalene, carrying flasks and bundles of spices and aloe, entered the garden, hoping to minister to the body of her dead Master.
But the tomb was empty. The stone had been rolled away. Jesus had risen from the dead, “just like he said.”
It is Easter—a day of great rejoicing. After the long season of abstinence and penance, of listening to the Seven Last Words of Jesus, and contemplating the images of His Crucifixion, finally it is Resurrection Sunday.
We are all familiar with the story, so familiar that some of us have taken it for granted. Despite all the solemn symbols, it only means that Holy Week is over and now Monday is coming and it will be business as usual. Traffic will return to Manila. Same humbug. Same grumbling. No big deal.
Oh, but it is! The Resurrection is the biggest deal! It is on this miracle that the entire Christian faith is anchored; for even the virgin birth in the stable, His agony in the garden, and yes, even the death on the Cross and burial would mean nothing, without His Resurrection.
And, yes, we celebrate. Death has lost its sting. Darkness has given way to light. Jesus is alive!
I remember a message I heard in church many years ago. I learned that the same power that “conquered the grave” resides in each one of us today.
Try to digest that for a moment.
Can you imagine that the power behind the biggest miracle of all time is in you and me? Can you believe that you can actually breathe life into something that has ended, or into anything at all?
Do you know that you can reanimate your own personal hopeless situations and turn them into amazing realities?
My imagination runs wild just thinking of the possibilities.
Think of it. All the guilt and gore that weigh us down can be lifted. All of us who live in cages and prisons of our own making can be set free. Many of us have given up and are entombed by our failures— guess what, we don’t have to stay there.
But the world is filled with people who want to see us fail, who criticize and mock us no matter what we do right. They sow seeds of discontent, foment trouble and discord, and are out to steal our joy, destroy our peace.
These are lost souls that need help. They are under a black cloud of deception, lost and angry. They have sold out.
They need the light of truth. Maybe they can find their way back. Let us not be cowed by their threats. We must stand firm, refusing to be seduced by the allure of wealth, power or position.
Only then can we hope to change the shape of today.
Hope and promise
What does it mean to resurrect?
Merriam-Webster says it is to bring a dead person back to life. Or, to cause something that has ended or been forgotten or lost, to exist again; to be used again. It also means to reanimate, recharge, rekindle or revive.
These words are full of hope, overflowing with promise. I can think of a number of things that need to be resurrected.
Respect is on my list. But we have to earn it and work hard to deserve it.
How do we rekindle love of country? Honor. Integrity.
And tell me, how do we bring back to life the dead and buried sense of propriety of those who, instead of serving as role models to our youth, have earned their scorn because of greed?
Maybe I should watch what I say today. My wise old friend commented about my piece last week. He thought it was a bit too strong, too bold and too “in your face.” But someone called in to say: “It’s about time.”
Today an old fan agreed that our sense of morality needs serious resuscitation. Should I keep score? Another friend also weighed in. He texted: “What afflicts the Filipino nation today is moral bankruptcy.”
How I wish this was not so. But I need to take it a step further and ask: “Is this the global condition?”
I am afraid to get an answer.
‘La Cage aux Folles’
I saw it twice on Broadway years ago and loved every song. I got so carried away that I joined the conga-line finale all the way to the lobby, lustily singing, “The Best of Times is Now.”
In 9 Works Theatrical’s “La Cage aux Folles” at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, Audie Gemora played Albin. He was brilliant. Michael de Mesa was George, his impeccable partner. What a pair—unbelievably credible, incredibly matched.
Rafa Siguion-Reyna was a revelation. I didn’t know he could dance. And I think neither did he! Great choreography, by the way.
Kudos to 9 Works for staging another hit. I am just so glad to have caught their last show. I laughed. I cried. I even sang a little.
And I wish I could have again joined the conga line. I know I would have sung louder now than ever before, because, suddenly, today, the lyrics make all the sense in the world.
Give a listen!
“The best of times is now.
What’s left of summer but a faded rose?
The best of times is now.
As for tomorrow, well, who knows?
Now, not some forgotten yesterday;
now, tomorrow is too far away.
So hold this moment fast,
And live and love as hard as you know how.
And make this moment last
Because the best of times is now.
It’s now. It’s now!”