AN EASTER MESSAGE
Thus ostensibly it all ended in defeat and despair on the Cross on Calvary on that Black Friday two thousand years ago.. "Well, that's all over," the Roman governor and his friends must have thought. How wrong they were! It was only the beginning. Not defeat, but a fabulous new hope had been born; not despair, but an unexampled joy, had come into the world. Christ died on the cross as a man who had tried to show his fellow men what life was about; he rose from the dead to be available forever as an intermediary between man and God.
How, rose from the dead? After his death on the cross, we are told, he was seen by the disciples and others on numerous occasions; the stone in front of the tomb where he was laid was found to have been removed, and the tomb to be empty. These are matters of legitimate historical investigation; what is not open to question is that today, two thousand years later, Christ is alive. The words he spoke are living words, as relevant now as when they were first spoken.
Christ turned the world's accepted norms upside down. It was the poor, not the rich, who were blessed; the weak, not the strong, who were to be esteemed; the pure in heart, not the sophisticated and the worldly, who understood what life was all about. Righteousness, not power or money or sensual pleasure should be man's pursuit. We should love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that despitefully use us, in order that we may be worthy members of a human family.
No words ever uttered, it is safe to say, have had anything like the impact of these, first spoken to some scores, may be hundreds, of poor, and mostly illiterate people, by a teacher who in the eyes of the world, was of small account. Besides belonging to eternity Christ belonged to his times.
On the outskirts of the dying Roman civilisation, he spoke of dying in order to live. Today, when human civilisation is likewise dying, his words have the same awe-inspiring relevance as they had then.
What Christ had to say was too simple to be grasped, too truthful to be believed. So the great majority of Christians have never been able to believe when Christ said that the whole duty of man resolved itself into loving God and our neighbour, he meant just that. It seems so simple, so obvious. And, furthermore, there is the question of who is our neighbour. In Christ's estimation our neighbour is everyone – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain and others. He said: Feed my sheep - all black, white and piebald.
The rest of the story of Christ belongs to history. Terrible things have been done in his name; the doctrine of unwordliness which he preached has been twisted to serve worldly purposes; the cross on which he died, besides inspiring some of the noblest lives which have ever been lived, and some of the noblest thoughts and actions of man, has also served as a cloak for some of the basest; his gospel of love has been enforced with the rack and the whip, and driven home with the sword.
Let others better qualified than I work out, if they can, the gain and the loss, in human terms. Here, in this world, where he was born, lived and died, we may remember how miraculously, nonetheless, his light continues to shine in the dark jungles of the human will, as I with a skeptical mind and a sensual disposition, most diffidently, unworthily, but with the utmost certainty testify.
Standing amid our personal Calvaries, confused and disillusioned, we need Easter to remind us that there is always "a third day" on its way. With that knowledge we can look at any evil in the face and say with confidence: "You can't win". Easter is the birthday of vibrant hope for every individual and for the entire world. It is also a warning to every evil power that preys on mankind, a warning that truth is again coming out of its tomb. Easter is a ringing reminder that the human spirit cannot be confined. "Eternal truth is eternal. It can be distorted but not destroyed. But after every black Friday there dawns an Easter morn”.
Wish you all a Blessed Easter.
501 Indira Residency
167 Hennur Road
Bangalore 560 043