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April 2024
Issue No. 319

House of Bishops Easter Pastoral Letter

Alleluia! Christ is risen indeed!

The resurrection of Jesus brings life – to the first Christians in history, and to us as well, after thousands of years.

Nobody knew before that eventful dawn when exactly did Jesus rise from the dead. Nobody saw on that day how exactly did the resurrection happen. Yet it was the hours of Jesus suffering on the cross on Good Friday, and his last breath at around 3PM, that were witnessed by many.

The day after Good Friday is the Sabbath, and according to Jewish customs, every one must rest on that day. Thus it was two days after Good Friday, when a new week begins, that a group of women arrived at Jesus’ tomb. On this inaugural Easter Sunday, the morning was masked with darkness, and these women arrived at the tomb with immense sadness.

At the moment when these women arrived at the tomb, however, the tone changed. A new leaf was turned as we journey from death to life. They saw that the stone blocking entry to the tomb was rolled away, and a young man dressed in a white robe said to them, ‘He is not here! He has been raised!’ (Mark 16:6)

It seems that the gospels are trying to tell us that Passion is not an end state; rather, it is a journey. The true finishing line is set at the Resurrection. Christ must journey through the horrors of the cross, that he may arrive at the destination of rising from the dead. This is the ‘Passover’ of Jesus.

Try as much as we may in running from its shadows, suffering is an inescapable part of our life here in this world. The inevitable stages of life as it progresses from birth to old age, sickness, and finally death are things that pain us all no matter our station. We also hear these ironic stories where the billionaire develops anxiety disorders due to being too wealthy, the successful entrepreneur being left with a broken family due to having affairs, and the destined hero losing everything due to a moment of pride. 

As we look around our world, we may ask: What is pain, and what is happiness?

If we simply deny pain itself and refuse to understand its purpose, and we would only suffer tenfold. We still have a fresh memory of the COVID years, when some may question, ‘Why would I need to take these shots?’ If we understood that the vaccinations ultimately protected us from the infection, then we wouldn’t have cursed that handful of injections. In the same way, if we perceive all hardship as simply a process through which we must endure in our lives, then we would grow all the stronger, all the more understanding of this world, and all the more sympathetic to those who are going through their own challenges in life. This way, ‘pain’ becomes a blessing in our lives, and a blessing as well for our families, friends, and our world.

Today, we are invited to ‘passover’ with Jesus. As we look around our world and see crises unfolding – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Russo-Ukrainian war, senseless slaughter, economic downturns, political strife, deterioration in social trust, families falling apart, and all our own problems and challenges – we could still yet proclaim, ‘He is not here! He has been raised!’ With that, we experience resurrection with Christ, and we accompany him in his passover.

Thus we call the Eucharist a ‘thanksgiving’, because it is an occasion where we present all things before our Heavenly Father, be it the sweet, sour, bitter, or spicy flavours in our lives – be it our proudest achievements or our most shameful failures, we give them all with a thankful heart to God.

‘He is not here!’ If we could be resurrected along with Christ, then we would no longer be trapped by the bonds of conflict, despair, sadness, and disappointment. Rather, we would gain wings and take flight in the wideness of life. Sickness may no longer pain us, political arguments may no longer twist us, economic hardship may no longer bend us, gossip may no longer hurt us, and death itself may no longer deprive us of our freedom, peace, and joy.

My brothers and sisters, let us ‘passover’ with Christ this Easter as we affirm the refrain: Alleluia! Christ is risen indeed!


In Christ

++Andrew Chan    +Timothy Kwok    +Matthias Der




<The above article was published in "Echo" Issue No. 319. Please click here>


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