CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 24 August 2019

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Christ is Alive, Alleluia!!

Holy Week and Easter are the heart of the liturgical year. The progression from Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem to the Last Supper, where he washes the feet of his disciples, institutes the Eucharist and gives his disciples the bidding commandment of love, his anguished prayer in Gethsemane, the shocking events of his betrayal, trial and execution, the desolation of his death and, finally, to the dawn of a new world on Easter Sunday. The unfolding services of Holy Week offer us an opportunity to make our own pilgrimage to walk the Way of the Cross into the glorious proclamation of Easter: Alleluia!
 
One interesting question regarding the sacrifice of Jesus I came across recently was: was Jesus committing suicide? Knowing fully that one is going to be killed and yet not doing anything to prevent it from happening is suicidal. Jesus for sure knew that he was going to be killed. Perhaps he even knew that it was going to be by crucifixion. But, he did nothing, instead predicted it more than once and walked into the death trap hatched by the religious leaders. Would it amount to suicide?
 
Over the past weeks, Hong Kong media were busy talking about the sentencing of the nine Umbrella Movement activists. I recall the night of 28 September 2014. It was a Sunday and at around 10.30pm in the night one of the altar servers from our church sent me a message asking if I could hear his confession. 
 
I was wondered what kind of situation he go into! I opened the door for him to come in and he was in tears. What he told told me that night touched my heart. “My friends are all on the street in Admiralty and the police are firing at them. I can’t stay at home when my friends are being killed. Before I go I wish to make confession, because I am not sure if I would be killed or not!” 
 
Knowing the possibility of getting killed, thousands of youngsters like him braved the night to flood the streets. Just as the concern for his friends on street was enough reason to drive him out of his home, the sacrifice of Jesus needs no further explanation. His sacrifice was for a cause worth dying for—the victory over sin and death! 
 
The agonising Cross became a springboard for the glorious Easter.  Hence, the events of the Good Friday are not a spineless act of suicide but instead a courageous act of self-sacrifice and the voice heard from the Cross is not one of hatred or despair, but one forgiveness and hope. 
 
Easter is a reminder that the death and resurrection of Jesus is not a one-time event in human history, instead it has become a reason of hope for billions who lived and still live on this earth 20 centuries after the first Easter. It is also a reminder that the glory of Easter is possible only through a Way of the Cross, where one faces betrayals even by the most trusted friends or colleagues, unjust trial by those in authority, denial and rejection by family and society and finally the ignominy of being jailed or even killed as an outlaw. 
 
Yet generations were driven on the promise, “I am the resurrection and life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live”, which was ratified by his own glorious resurrection. Indeed, Christ is Alive! jose