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Christ, Life and Light in the heart of the world

Our reflection for Easter Sunday, Christ, Life and Light in the heart of the world, is written by Fr Elphège Quenum SJ, Director of the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN).

Life, Light, and Salvation: these are the key words of the paschal celebration, which brings to a close the season of Lent that has prepared us for this moment. Easter reveals to us, in an eloquent and splendid manner, how Christ enriches our life through His resurrection, enlightening us with his Light and definitively bringing about our redemption. God has established Christ as “Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42). Henceforth we have passed from death to have our life guided by the risen one (Col. 3:1-4). 

Barring the authors of works of darkness, we all feel the consoling and reassuring impact of the Light, as it comes to dispel the shadows that now keep us in fear and anxiety. Faith in the resurrection emanates from the Light of He who has risen from the dead, as the apostles experienced before the empty tomb. The Light of the Risen Christ enlightens us, illuminates the world with a new glow. The Light puts an end to the night, it disperses the shadows and conquers death. The symbolism of the candles of the Easter vigil is life-giving. From now on, the Light of the risen Christ will shine in our hearts. And life is born in the tomb.

But the reality of so much suffering in the world can made us sceptical. Who will take this Light into the life of so many people who face tragedy of one kind or another? 

Easter is the apex of a life that passed through injustice, condemnation, the passion, crucifixion, and death. Pope Francis reminded us of this at the start of the Holy Week: “Jesus who, in fulfilment of the Scriptures, enters the holy city in this way is no misguided purveyor of illusions, no new age prophet, no imposter.  Rather, he is clearly a Messiah who comes in the guise of a servant, the servant of God and of man, and goes to his passion.  He is the great ‘patient’, who suffers all the pain of humanity.”

We need to learn to see Jesus, as the pope invites us to do, in those who are suffering today. There is no Easter without the Passion. The suffering of Christ reflects and takes on human sufferings. Christ is “present in our many brothers and sisters who today endure sufferings like his own: they suffer from slave labour, from family tragedies, from diseases…  They suffer from wars and terrorism, from interests that are armed and ready to strike. Women and men who are cheated, violated in their dignity, discarded…  Jesus is in them, in each of them, and, with marred features and broken voice, he asks to be looked in the eye, to be acknowledged, to be loved."

As we get ready to celebrate Easter, we see, in our mind’s eye, many faces in need of the Light of the Risen Christ, among them people tortured by HIV and AIDS, as well as their fragile families, with whom we work. May the Risen Lord enlighten them with his Light, share his eternal joy with them, and ease their pain. May He strengthen all those who consecrate themselves to their service.

Wishing each and every one of you an excellent Easter!

To see this article in French, please go here: Christ, Vie et Lumière au cœur du monde