What we experienced in Central Africa has left deep scars. For the enemies of peace those scars are signs of victory, but the victory is only apparent, for just as God intervened in the life of Crucified Jesus saving Him from death, at Easter He acts in our lives to resuscitate us with our scars, to confuse our opponents.
Hence our scars, our suffering, our wounds, recover a redeeming dimension as we are renewed through God.
After the sepulchre the women hastened to bring the news to his disciples. On the Mount of Olives Jesus had already proclaimed to his disciples that after the resurrection he would precede them in Galilee (Mt 26:32). This has become a reality. For the disciples this appointment is of decisive import. When they fled, while Jesus was being arrested, in a certain way they broke the communion with Him: they had broken apart from Him. But the Risen Lord granted them forgiveness and reconciliation. He invited them and preceded them in Galilee. The Risen One did not call upon new disciples after the first ones he had chosen betrayed him. He renewed his faith in them, He forgave them and referred to them as his brothers: “Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him” (Mt 28: 7).
Resurrection does not mean a status quo, nor does it imply retracing our steps. Christ puts us back on our feet and orders us to reach a place. He puts us back on our path.
On the Mount which Jesus had appointed for them He testifies to his lordship over the world and sends us in mission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations […]teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Most of all, He reassures us of his presence, of his closeness: “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt 28: 19-20).
Resurrection entails a mission that consists in living according to our gaze towards the world made different by the destiny of the Son of man. Starting from there we have the task of projecting a new gaze on ancient places: ancient things can be overcome, traversed, for they are enlightened by Jesus. Hatred and violence for example, for in Jesus I learned to defeat them, to overcome them.
We escape the kingdom of hatred to freely submit, from now on, to the kingdom of love.
Forgiveness is one of the features of Easter. The newness of the Resurrection consists in the recognition that Jesus, still today, lifts us out of pain and suffering. He never ceased being present in our society and our recent history, even when the spectre of death seemed to prevail.
The proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection implies a fresh start, a reconstruction
We accept to allow Christ to rebuild our own selves, our own conscience. We commit ourselves to rebuilding friendship, brotherhood, reposing on the foundations of the heart and of the new spirit we are given by Jesus. Yes, we accept to start afresh, to resume our journey to the Galilee, where He is waiting for us. Jesus’ death on the Cross seemed to have destroyed his person and his work. Thus resurrection intervenes as the decisive event and the definitive revelation. It shows that God the Father is near Jesus and it confirms all the work of his Son. It shows that Jesus is the Son of God and that we must have faith in Him, in his words and in his actions. It shows that Jesus vanquished death. It shows that men and their will of destruction do not have the last word. God in his Love and his power is greater than death.
(*) Cardinal, Archbishop of Bangui (Central African Republic)