By Genalyn Kabiling, Argyll Cyrus Geducos, Leslie Ann Aquino, and Christina Hermoso
In celebration of Easter amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Duterte is hopeful that people will find solace and strength as well as live with gratitude, humility, and kindness to those in need.
The President joined the Christian world in celebrating a joyful and meaningful Easter Sunday, saying the resurrection of Christ brings a message of “selfless love” and hope of better beginnings amid difficulties.
“The triumph of the risen Christ presents us all with hopeful assurance that even when we face adversities, there is always hope of better and new beginnings. In this time of renewal, we are reminded of the grace that comes from selfless love that is able to transcend diverse cultures, faiths, backgrounds, and even circumstances,” Duterte said in a message Sunday.
“May this occasion fill us with gladness and enable us to find solace and strength in the narrative of the Resurrection. I trust that its message of forgiveness will inspire us to live our days with gratitude and humility, with further acts of kindness and charity to our families, friends, and to those are most in need,” he said.
The world will be reborn
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said that like the resurrection of Jesus Christ, humanity will be reborn after it undergoes a “spiritual cleansing.”
Panelo said that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was not only the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah that on the third day He will resurrect from His death, the cornerstone belief of Christianity.
“It symbolizes the truism that after going through pain and suffering there will be healing, that after a storm a new dawn beckons, and that after this pandemic of a disease there is a new tomorrow that awaits us and the world,” he said.
Love of God is alive in all of us
The willingness of majority of the Filipinos to help during this time of the coronavirus pandemic is a clear manifestation that “the love of God is alive in all of us,” said Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles in his Easter message.
“It is so moving and so heartwarming to see individuals trying to save and protect the life of ailing patients, whose hearts are filled with selfless goodness for others, especially for the sick and the poor, individuals who have the courage to offer heroic service and sacrifice with the clear risk of losing their very own lives,” Valles said.
Christians marked Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection yesterday, the culmination of the 40-day Lenten season that began on Ash Wednesday. The faithful heard holy masses online and on television.
Valles said, the act of front liners in the fight against COVID-19 of risking their own lives to serve others can be likened to Jesus’ obedience to the will of God the Father for Jesus to die on the cross to save man from eternal damnation. This selfless love, the Church leader said, gives hope to each one of us.
He reminded the faithful of Jesus’ enormous love and mercy for man when He died on the cross.
“Jesus died for us when His hour had come. He faced death. He faced death consciously, willingly, with His heart filled with love for us, filled with the mercy of God for us. But then, Jesus rose from the dead. He is victorious over death. His victory over death, He shares with you and me. This is Easter for me,” he said.
It is the hope of a Catholic prelate that when the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine ends, people will lead a new life.
“The (coronavirus disease) pandemic has made us stay home, made life more simple, has forced us to relate to our loved ones, has given us a lot of time to pray and read the Scriptures. It brought the worship of God to our homes,” Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo said in his Easter Sunday Mass at the Manila Cathedral.
“Hopefully, it won’t come to a point where, after the quarantine, there won’t be any changes in our attitudes, in our relationships, and oneness with the Lord,” he added.
Pabillo said the discipline of Lent is meant to make us celebrate Easter with a new life, a life that is “closer to Jesus.”
“We died in many ways in this past month. Hopefully, we take care of this coming new life and new values we have received,” said Pabillo.
Bishop Pabillo said while it is true that the quarantine is not yet over, people should continue to pray and hope that this is already forthcoming.