Only if we let God into our lives can we break out of the “tombs” of poverty, injustice and violence into which we have fallen.
This was the call made by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday as Christians in the Philippines and around the world prepared to celebrate Easter Sunday.
In his Easter message, Tagle urged the faithful to allow God to transform their lives and help them solve their personal problems and the ills plaguing society, like hunger, unemployment, violence, injustice and corruption.
“There will never be any true resurrection from our individual, familial, societal and environmental ‘tombs’ if we do not allow God to act,” Tagle said. “Make room for God—He will raise us to true life with Jesus!”
The cardinal said: “In our brokenness as individuals and families, we often experience the need for an infusion of ‘fresh life.’ Unfortunately, despite human efforts, we still see in society, ‘tombs’ of hunger, unemployment, homelessness, violence, discrimination, injustice and corruption.”
He added: “It is time to look to God, the giver of life. Let us welcome the action of God who once raised a crucified Nazarean to life and made Him our hope, our Lord.”
The great mystery
Tagle, who recently returned to Manila after taking part in a conclave at the Vatican to elect a new Pope, urged the faithful to reflect on the Bible’s account of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. He said that only God “can lead us to the fullness of life in His presence.”
“The raising of the crucified Jesus is the action of God,” the cardinal said. “The resurrection, while happening on earth and in time, is a divine action. God alone, who is the author of life, sustains and restores life.”
“Only the giver of life can lead us to the fullness of life in His presence,” he added. “I am inviting everyone to behold the great mystery of the Resurrection: Jesus, who was put to death by human beings, was raised by God.”
Sin no more
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), reminded the faithful that Easter was the most joyous occasion in the Church’s liturgical calendar.
“Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead! Alleluia! Let us rejoice and be glad!” Palma said.
“We should rejoice and be glad because ‘Christ’s Resurrection—and the Risen Christ Himself—is the principle and source of our future resurrection.’ We shall not die. We shall rise on the last day.”
The CBCP president urged Catholics to live out their faith, to sin no more, and, if they falter, to seek absolution through the sacrament of reconciliation.
“Our future resurrection depends on our life of faith today, For ‘those who have done good will rise and live, and those who have done evil will rise and will be condemned,’” Palma said, quoting from the Gospel of John.
“Our rejoicing and gladness today must therefore be paired with a renewed and gladsome struggle to live our faith in thoughts, words, and deeds every day,” he said.
“And if ever we sin, let us return to God through the sacrament of penance, so that we may continuously experience and foretaste of our future resurrection by rising from the grave of sin to a new life of grace,” he added.
Bishop Efraim M. Tendero, national director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, praised God for “showering His blessings upon our country.”
“The Philippines has become one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia. Our leaders earned higher approval and trust ratings, and we are expecting solid investments to pour in,” Tendero said.
“We have made progress in the peace process, although somewhat imperiled by the situation in Sabah. Nevertheless, we can be assured that we can have greater development and progress in all areas of our national life as we put our trust in Christ,” he said.
Tendero was referring to the crisis in the neighboring territory of Sabah, where dozens of people have died in clashes between Malaysian security forces and followers of the Sultan of Sulu, who claims that the territory belongs to the sultanate.
Tendero said Jesus Christ made possible the promise of an abundant life to each Christian “by restoring our relationship with God, giving wisdom and guidance in our daily lives and blessing us with our material needs.”
“May the incomparable and immeasurable power of Christ’s resurrection give us the confidence and ability to enjoy the abundant life that God has purposed for each of us,” Tendero said. “Let us put our trust in the reigning King who always lives to intercede for us.”
“If Christ is able to overcome the dominion of death and darkness, He is able to help us overcome whatever adversities and problems we may encounter,” Tendero said.
First posted 12:01 am | Sunday, March 31st, 2013