JN 20: 1-9



thanks to fr tam nguyen

A friend reminded me that February 22, 2002 this year was a very lucky day. It was 2-22-22, an “angel number” meant to bring peace, stability and positivity. In this year’s Chinese New Year, people rejoiced that the “water tiger” zodiac sign promises positive changes. Perhaps we are open to accept and believe anything and everything that will offer us respite from the pains and hardships of these years of the pandemic.


Today is the day for Christians to express the source of their hope for the future. Away from numerologists, far from zodiac signs, Christians all over the world point to the one source of their joy and hope – the empty tomb of the Crucified. He is no longer there! Jesus is Risen! Hallelujah! He has defeated the Cross and defied the tomb. He has risen that now, he may save his people from sin, death and destruction.


At the Resurrection, the Lord Jesus teaches us a powerful lesson. Only one thing can save the world; only one thing can give meaning to our life and experiences. It is the “love that is stronger than death” (Song 8:6-7). This prophecy in the Old Testament takes shape in the life of Jesus. He endured pain out of love. He embraced death with love on his lips. And he rises from the dead because only he has the love that is stronger than death. God’s love triumphs in the end!


Death terrifies us. Sickness debilitates us. Loneliness depresses us. Calamities defeats us. But who can escape from all these? This pandemic reminded us that even widespread progress and advanced technology cannot resist a tiny virus. Challenges and difficulties are normal, routinary, and common to us all, regardless of class or race.


But God has planned from the beginning something unheard of. God has pulled the biggest surprise of all. When all we could think of was surrender and yield to the pains of life, the Lord manifested the power of his love. In the Resurrection, we now see the truth that “nothing can separate us from the love of God” (cf Rom 8) which alone gives us courage for the present  and hope for the future. In the Resurrection, God has already gone beyond the normal, which ends in death, and towards the new normal, which reaches to new life, real life, eternal life.


As we welcome the Risen Christ in our hearts, let us thank him for the gift of Lent that taught us how to triumph over our broken world through the power of creative suffering. Let us rejoice with him in the light and freshness of Easter that teaches us how to love in spite of all the challenges we face. May our love be like his; may we always strive to have the love that is stronger than death.