Of all liturgical feast days, only Easter Sunday rekindles my dying embers of hope at the dire moment of despair, beginning to grow bigger and glow lighter, filling the void of the heart’s chamber with excellent brilliancy. So when the priest during the homily this morning asked the congregation what Easter meant to us, I had my inner share of answer that it’s about Hope against Hope till the last breath, just as Jesus himself has risen from death. Whether a pious Christian myth or ecclesiastical dogma, the idea of Resurrection gives one the joy of reckoning that there is no night so long that it has no hope of a day. It is aptly applied to the present -day of the war in Ukraine and everyday life circumstances when hope seems a fleeting dream, foolhardy gambling without responsibility.
Pope St. Francis addressed the Ukrainians during the Easter Vigil Mass and the Way of the Cross on Good Friday: “We can only give you our company, our prayers, and say’ you’ courage, we accompany you.” Courage with humor being a handmaid to hope defeats the shadows of darkness. It motivates one to continue a journey in life, however perilous and disappointing it seems to appear, as attested by Viktor E. Frankl, the father of Logotherapy during his internment years in Nazi death concentration camps. Frankl forced his mind to be occupied with the hopeful thought of writing a book about Logotherapy. Suppose anyone challenges Frankl’sFrankl’s experience as no more sordid than what the present-day Ukrainians are experiencing now. In that case, the person is equally no less lofty than an unreconstructed nationalist with no regard for the human race.
Further to the importance of courage and hope, the pope also spoke of reconciliation and forgiveness when loss of values, vengeance, and rage dominated humanity’s better angels. However, the Major Archbishop of Ukraine’s Byzantine-rite Catholic Church disagreed with the pope, calling it untimely during the carnage of the war broken up by Russia. In the meantime, Zelensky is pressuring President Biden to declare Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, striking “HELP” to the West. Didn’t Jesus point out the importance of love of your enemy because the fury would consume your whole being, making you ever unhappy and miserable with no sight of mirth and laughter but anger clenched with fists? While I commiserate with the sufferings of the Ukrainians, I also understand the price of a continuous blaze of ire hell-bent on vengeance. It will only continue a vicious cycle of war in epicycle, just as Herodotetus realized in the narrative of the ancient battles in the Histories. One can use the free will to either forget the past regrets thing or move on because the footprints left behind can only take you back and in a backward mode, making you fall by the wayside of your yet unknown destinations in life.
Easter Sunday is beginning to be drawn into the past. I want to record and convey my train of thought visible before the sun with its pale scarlet hues lingering in the twilight of the West. But I still have hope and keep it with me. Thucydides called it a dangerous illusion more potent than the reason that transforms it into an awareness of odds in one’s favor. Whatever it may be, for what’s worth, I will have hope as long I breathe—Happy Easter to Urbi and Orbi.