MANILA Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula said Easter Sunday is a reminder to Christians that there is always a resurrection amid all the pain and suffering that they experience.
“The story of Jesus did not end on Good Friday when he died on the cross at Calvary,” Advincula said in his Easter message. “The story of Jesus did not end when he was buried. On the third day, he rose again. There is always a 'third day.' There is always a resurrection.” He said because Jesus rose again, people hope that, like him, there will also be a third day. “You may feel like you are just on your first day — the day of betrayal by those you trust, denial by your friends and abandonment by those you expected to stick it out with you until the end. You may feel like you are just on your second day — the day of judgment and being misunderstood, suffering and pain,” Advincula said.
“You may be on your second day of death because you lost many things in life. You lost loved ones. You lost all sense of living. You may be on your second day of burial. You feel buried in a bad habit, in guilt, in your dark past, and in sin. Just wait, for life does not end there,” he said.
The “third day” is a day of victory for all and a day of the resurrection of those who believe in Christ, the cardinal said.
He quoted St. Paul, who wrote: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.” In his Easter message, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed hope Catholic Filipinos will have renewed faith in God and their fellowmen in the midst of challenges.
The President called on the faithful to be “hopeful of better days ahead” and to remain firmly holding on to “the promise of salvation as professed by Jesus Christ.” “The fulfillment of the Resurrection of the Lord therefore gives us hope and courage to never falter no matter how overwhelming the odds seemingly are,” he said.
There were no days off on Holy Week for Duterte and key members of the executive department as they conducted inspections and relief operations in areas badly hit by Typhoon “Agaton.” The President was in Baybay City, Leyte, on Good Friday and Pontevedra, Capiz on Black Saturday to get a first-hand account of the rescue and rehabilitation efforts there.
In her own Easter message, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo urged Filipinos to serve those who are on society's fringes.
“Ang muling pagkabuhay ng Hesukristo ang nasa puso ng Ebanghelyo: Ito ang pangako ng walang-hanggang buhay dala ng pagsunod sa mga aral ni Hesus. Nasa buod ng kuwentong ito ang mensahe: Mabuhay sa paraang makatotohanan. Mahalin ang kapwa nang parang pagmamahal sa sarili. Manalig. Sa kabila nito, nag-aabang ang Kaharian ng Diyos (Christ's resurrection is at the heart of the Gospel: This is the promise of eternal life brought by following Jesus' teachings. At the heart of this story is the message: Live in truth. Love others just like we love ourselves. Have faith. At the end, the Kingdom of God awaits),” Robredo said.
She urged Filipinos to recall Jesus' sacrifice and courage.
“Nawa'y maalala rin natin ang landas na kinakailangang tahakin ni Hesus tungo sa araw na ito: Ang sakripisyo niya, at ang tapang na kinailangan niyang ipamalas para harapin miski ang kamatayan. Ang pag-asang binitbit niya para sa sangkatauhan (May we also recall the path that Jesus took: His sacrifice and the courage that he had to show to face even death. The hope he brought for humankind),” Robredo said.
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