Easter Sunday: A beacon of hope, help, and healing – Bishop Santos

Published April 3, 2021, 4:59 PM

by Christina Hermoso

“As we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, let us focus on the true meaning of Easter. Let us reflect how in this tumultuous pandemic, Easter can be our permanent beacon of hope, help, and healing,” a Roman Catholic Church leader said as the nation marks Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection on Sunday, April 4.

“This year marks our second Easter during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been over a year now since the pandemic changed our lives, plunging not just our country but the world into darkness. It has since infected 128 million people and claimed almost 3 million lives globally. One may wonder, when will our life go back to normal? When will the people’s suffering end? Does God see our pain? If God truly cares, why is He allowing all these to happen?” Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said in his Pastoral Reflection for Easter.

“First, let us anchor our faith in God’s promises. ‘God, the giver of all grace, has called you to share in Christ’s eternal Glory and after you have suffered a little, He will bring you to perfection: He will confirm, strengthen and establish you forever” (1 Peter 5:10). Therefore, whether we are in the middle of a personal crisis or a global pandemic, the risen Christ is the source of our hope. He knows our struggles and He understands our challenges. We may feel hopeless and afraid as we are currently facing the devastating effects of the surge in COVID cases in our country. But take heart, our assurance comes from the reality that Jesus has risen and will lead us to redemption, salvation, and safety,” the Church leader said.

Santos said hope and trust in God will bring forth help.

“When we put our trust in God, help is surely on its way. Let us recall that on the path to Golgotha, God sent people for specific reasons. There was Veronica, who, upon seeing Jesus walking on the way to His crucifixion, was so moved with sympathy that she wiped His face with her veil. There was also Simon of Cyrene, who helped Jesus at His moment of suffering, by carrying His cross (Luke 23:26). So was John, the beloved disciple who, engulfed by the love that he had for Jesus, comforted His loving mother in her time of grief and need.”

“During this pandemic, we can be assured that God will send people who will assist or comfort us in times of difficulty or need. Who are they? They are the healthcare workers, our leaders both in the church and the local government, as well as everyone who are involved in the community-based services. We too, can be of help to others. Perhaps, just like Veronica, we can sympathize with people who are feeling hopeless and helpless. Or maybe just like Simon of Cyrene, we can help someone carry the weight of the cross from the challenges of daily life. We can also be like John, the beloved apostle, and be compassionately there for someone who is in dire need,” the bishop said.

Santos said that God is the source of true healing.

“God heals. He offers not only physical healing but spiritual and relational healing as well. In the middle of the rapid increase in COVID cases in our country, it is vital to understand our circumstances in view of God’s plan. The ECQ guidelines, no matter how challenging they may be, have fostered families to spend more time together. The limitations on church attendance have turned people’s homes into places of worship and fellowship with family members. The homes have become cocoons for self-preservation of faith through live streaming of Holy Masses and other religious activities. Parents have become involved in the new norm of the so-called distance or hybrid learning of their children. Due to the pandemic, we have become innovative in this ever more challenging world,” Bishop Santos said.

The Church leader, likewise, validated the trials and sufferings faced by many Filipinos.

“It is undeniable that many of us right now go through life with pains and sorrows. We, as followers of Christ must not ignore those who are badly affected by the pandemic. There are sufferings, fears, and doubts that we wish could be removed. But always remember, even Jesus suffered and there will be no resurrection without His suffering and death on the cross. The empty tomb is the ultimate symbol of Easter. Jesus understands our pain and is willing to heal us from physical and spiritual ailments. The mark of true discipleship is when we bear the cross that Jesus gives us.”

“Jesus is risen! He is as real today as He was two thousand years ago. The trials that we are facing due to COVID is our modern day Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Sorrowful Way” or “Way of Suffering”). Let us always remember Psalm 121:1, ‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains – from where shall come my help? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.’ We may not see it with our own eyes but God’s power is at work in the world, even in times of a pandemic. He still sits on the throne. Let the miracle of Easter, the blessed resurrection of Jesus Christ be our beacon of hope, help, and healing,” Santos said.