Happy Easter! Allow me to veer away from our usual reflection on the Sunday Gospel.
Last April 15, I delivered a Holy Week Recollection talk at the Sacred Heart Chapel in Rockwell’s Power Plant Mall. The theme was “The Filipino Youth in Mission: Beloved, Gifted, Empowered.”
My talk focused on “beloved.” I framed the reflections within three points: the Year of the Youth, the Great Easter Triduum, and Mission, with beloved as overarching theme.
Some of the points on mission are: One, our mission is part of our DNA, that we came into this world to make the world better.
The Incarnation of Christ, his becoming God-with-us, clearly shows this. He was conceived, incarnated for his mission to redeem humanity and the whole of creation.
Two, mission is obedience, which is a characteristic of Christ from the moment of his incarnation to the moment of death: “…he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2: 8)
Three, as loving obedience, mission is a movement toward those to whom one is missioned to. The intrinsic purpose is service-oriented, other-oriented. It is mission as a movement of love toward others and one that begins from love, “being rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3: 17).
Essentially, it is God loving us and our loving him in return as the living out of our mission.
Christ’s mission was to give witness to his relationship with God. Who God is to Christ defined his mission, a relationship spelled out by his beatific vision in his baptism, “You are my Beloved Son, in you I am well pleased.”
It is this love that makes possible the Resurrection, the other important symbol of Christianity and God’s love. This love is now transformed into the central life-giving grace of our faith; a love of joy, peace and new life.
Triple question of love
The Resurrection is the “final word” on God’s love and Christian love.
This we see in the Resurrection narrative in John 21, with the famous triple question of love.
Scripture commentaries tell us that in that instance (“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”), the third time the Risen Lord posed the question to Peter reminded the latter of his triple denial of Christ in the Passion.
From a simple “yes,” he says, “Lord, you know everything. You know well that I love you” (John 21: 17). It’s a confession of his imperfection, yet it does not deny his love for Christ.
The power of the Resurrection gives us the path and the grace to share in Christ’s mission by following him in the path of love—first through the Cross leading to the Resurrection.
In the Paschal Mystery, the perfect takes and receives the imperfect, the divine love takes and receives the human love and transforms it through our following of Christ.
We are beloved when we become followers of Christ, sharing in his mission to be beloved sons and daughters.
This is our Easter Grace and Joy. Lent prepares us to remember and to renew this central mystery of our faith, the Cross and the Resurrection, with great focus on the love of the Cross.
Easter is the living out of this mystery in the Spirit of the Risen Lord, to live our day-to-day life in the love that brings joy, peace and new life into our world and into the lives of others.