GO AND TELL THEM
Not many people met the risen Jesus. Some apostles only saw the white burial cloth. Others saw the angel guarding the tombs. He told them to go back and tell the others. Mary Magdalene saw Jesus and thought he was a carpenter. When she realized it was him, Jesus told her not to be "clingy" but to go back and tell others he is alive.
When they were all gathered, Thomas - and I guess many others – were absent. Their duty was to tell the others so that they will all be there when he comes back the week after. When Jesus came, he asked for food and broke bread with them - in several instances, at the seashore and somewhere else.
Two disciples thought everything ended badly. They were so frustrated and depressed and walked home to Emmaus. They did not expect that the man who joined them was Jesus. When they showed kindness to a stranger by welcoming him to their home, Jesus made himself known by breaking bread with them.
As the whole world greets one another Happy Easter today, as families celebrate hope in the resurrection, there are many others who are absent.
Some just rest their tired bodies on the side walk without dinner hoping to sleep hunger away. Others go on with their nightly duties of collecting garbage and whatever they could salvage. Still some others could not care less. Resurrection – and our elaborate rituals – is the least of their concern. What is important is to lessen the pain of hunger each night. A filled stomach is more a resurrection experience than our well-executed liturgies.
Many are worried. It is lockdown again and there would be no work for one week or two, or who knows how long. Some were laid off from their jobs and there is nowhere to go. The promise of hope of the resurrection is nowhere in sight.
Many others are in panic waiting inside tents for their place in the hospitals. Others could hardly breathe but still continue to wait. Some feel so lonely and disturbed while being quarantined in some facilities far from home. The anxiety and boredom kills.
Some are deep in their grief for a loved one who died of COVID. Grieving is too hard when one did not even see the body. The friends of Jesus were lucky; they still could wrap him, embalm him, touch him for the last time in care before laying him down to rest on that borrowed tomb. For many today, all they have is a non-recognizable ash inside an urn. We know our loved one will rise like Jesus. But that feeling is far, very far, from our present pain of loss, deep loss.
For those among us who feel the presence of the risen Jesus, the challenge remains the same: “Go and tell them”. It does not just mean “preach” the good news and sing Alleluia. It actually means to “break bread” with them - to give time to listen to someone’s loss, to ease hunger’s pain, to give assurance amidst someone’s fears, to welcome a weary stranger. It is only through the “breaking of the bread” that those who are absent recognize Jesus is alive. It happened in Emmaus long time ago. It should happen today.
For those who would like to help #VincentHelps “break bread” nightly at the side streets around Quezon City, please contact us.
Or, you can do it yourself. You do not have to go far. They are just outside your gate, in your streets or within your households.
Happy Easter everyone.
Daniel Franklin E. Pilario, CM
St. Vincent School of Theology
04.04.2021 - Resurrection Sunday