(by Fr. Francis Gustilo, SDB)
I heard this important Easter reflection yesterday at the close of the retreat of the Canossian Sisters in Tagaytay. I realized that the priest presider-homilist was somehow referring to the reflections of Pope Benedict XVI. Here’s my take of his reflection:
Easter did not come with a big bang, no fanfare, no trumpet-blast announcement, no frills, no deafening thunder and threatening lightning. I…nsteas Easter is an event in silence, in the mute reality of an empty tomb, in a proposal [not an enforcement] for belief that His love goes beyond the grave and today basks in a living risen Presence.
Easter’s simplicity and humbling silence is an appropriate sequel of the circumstances of His birth: no big-bang either, no fanfare, no trumpet-blast announcement, no frills … nothing of what we imagine as Might, Majesty, Power and Greatness! Similarly He was found in a manger inside a lowly cave, 7 miles far from the seat of political power [Herod] and religious hub [chief priests and scribes]. Similarly His presence requests, invites, persuades and never imposes or coerces a response.
The illiterate shepherds saw and praised the Lord; the Magi continued their journey, met the child and His mother and these offered their gifts and did Him homage. On Easter day, Mary Magdala saw an open tomb, Peter the wrappings lying on the ground and the head-linen folded on a side; it was the disciple whom Jesus loved who saw and BELIEVED.
Only those who experience the love of the Divine are transformed – deep in their being, in the core of their human frailty and in the heart that only love can solely occupy. Only LOVE TRANSFORMS because only the respect for human freedom obtains the willingness to open and accept the offer of love.
The world has all of it wrong when it seduces humanity to think that to be like God means to be bossing people around, to have the ability to do anything one takes pleasure in doing, to be forceful, lambasting, exclusive etc. God instead insists in being ordinary, unassuming, and most of the time silent. Silent water runs deep!
For this reason, Easter needs us to believe more than to see, needs us to hope more than to get immediate results, needs us to love more than to look for love.