Be an Alleuia People of Joy and Hope for the World
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ
Alleluia! Christ our Lord is Risen! This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad! Indeed, we say, “Paschal triumph, paschal joy, only sin can this destroy!” “This is our message to the world that is on the brink of despair and hopelessness.
We are living in a world where each day, life seems to get more and more hopeless. The world is changing so rapidly that traditional values are being put in question. One cannot but be bewildered at the speed of change taking place in society, not just on the economic and technological front but more importantly, on the level of life and culture. We are living in a world of counter culture where the worship of God is replaced by the new religion of science and technology; humanity is replaced by love of self before others; and individualism and freedom at the expense of the community.
In a world where there is no future for humanity since everything ends with death, there is nothing to hope for beyond this world. As a result, the human person, having no eternal values to live by since he lives in a world of relativism, can only cling to this world. Desperate, he seeks to fulfil himself as much he can by extracting as much as he can from the world, especially the pleasures of life. Yet, deep within, his heart remains empty and there is a vacuum within that cannot be filled by the passing things of this world.
Thanks be to God the Father who, in His bountiful love, gave us His only Son to die for us! Through Christ’s death on the cross, God has shown us His unconditional love without reservation in His mercy and forgiveness. Contemplating on His death, we know that “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?”(Rom 8:32) “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rom 8:35) St Paul exclaimed, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:37-39)
However, as Christians, we do not simply believe that Christ has died for us. Greater still is our belief that Christ is risen from the dead! St Paul himself remarked, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Cor 15:17-19) This Easter, as we celebrate His resurrection from the dead, we know our hope is certain and substantiated. Unlike the world where hope is but wishful thinking, Christian life and the future of humanity is already anticipated in Christ’s resurrection. With His resurrection, death is overcome. The sting of death, the greatest enemy of man is defeated, for we know that death is the not last word but eternal life in Christ. We have a life beyond this world and our life is in Christ. Love is also the last word; not hatred. Christ’s love has won us over to Him. Christ’s resurrection is our victory over sin and eternal death.
Hence, we can now live with a sure hope of everlasting life awaiting us at death. However, the fullness of life begins when we share in Christ’s death here and now as we die to sin and selfishness. To the extent that we die to our sins and live in accordance to the will and wisdom of God expressed in His commands and precepts, to that extent we will share in the joy and freedom of the Lord. So let us live as free men and women in Christ; not as slaves of Satan. “Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor 5:8)
Whether in good or bad times, in sickness or in health, in prosperity or adversity, we live with confidence that everything will end well in Christ. Christ has shown us the way and become for us our leader in salvation. So let us live as an Alleluia people, as a people of joy, love and hope. Let us reflect the Risen Lord in our lives. Wherever there is despair and hopelessness, announce that Christ is risen. Rejoice. We have seen the Lord! Alleluia! He is our hope and our life. Alleluia! Be an Easter people! Let the world see that Christ has risen in us.
I wish you all a blessed and Holy Easter. May the Risen Lord shine through you and give you joy and peace in the Holy Spirit. He is with you always.
Yours devotedly in Christ,
Archbishop William Goh