An empty tomb: tenderness is stronger than hate!
He is not here, but is risenLucas 24:6
In the early hours of a Sunday in first century Palestine, a community was beaten down by the events of a week full of sad memories. A prophet had finished his mission like so many other prophets in the history of God's people; silenced by the power of a religious and political order that did not conform to changes. Everything seemed depressing, until the sun's rays brought something unexpected: he who was dead is alive again!
Beaten down countenances transformed, and the mourning gave way to joy and hope rekindled in the hearts of the poor, the excluded, the silenced. Literally, a transformation from mourning to fighting. The breath of the Spirit was active, ready to make an army rise, as in Ezekiel's vision. Thus began the Church of the Jesus movement, now the Christ of God.
I cannot help comparing this description with the situation of our country. The Brazilian people have lived in the last year a long period of hopelessness. Projects of a new society based on justice and solidarity have been postponed by those who - like the constituted powers in first century Palestine - do not accept the change of the social pyramid. The power for them, instead of being for the service of the people, must serve their private interests. Corruption and derision capture the right of the poor. The bill left by the wastefulness of the rich is paid with the dignity of the excluded. Added to this is the political instability that has swollen in recent weeks. Old ghosts are eager to return and no longer hide their faces, for the shame no longer hinders their momentum.
These times require of us, as members of the Jesus movement, resilience, confidence, and unity. Our commitment is with the Gospel that tells us to whom and with whom we must carry forward the dream of God's kingdom. I do not speak here of a political party, nor of individual people. I speak of a project of society that respects and values the truth, justice, and well-being of all people. I speak of respect for constitutional order, the rule of law, and democracy.
The Resurrected tells us clearly: death is not the last word of God for humanity. Life is possible, and how to live it in history is given by a prophetic citizenship. Desperation, fear, and the old order stayed along with the sheets that the Resurrected left inside the tomb. Now is the time to spread the good news to the prisoners, to the blind, and to the hungry for justice.
Let us renew our faith by fixing our eyes on the eyes of the Risen Christ, which addressed Mary Magdalene and said tenderly: Mary, it is I! It is said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Therefore, let us drown in that true, loving, and fair look. We unite with Him, and we will be solely one! Tenderness is a more effective weapon than hate. And let's go out with joy, announcing the Kingdom of Peace and Justice for Brazil and for our troubled planet.
Happy Easter for all the people of God!
++Francisco, Santa Maria
Primate of Brazil
Primate of Brazil