THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
NOT PEACE, BUT A SWORD.
Christians are no strangers to persecution throughout history. For centuries right after the Easter Event, the apostles and early Christians already suffered grievously for their faith. We recall the gruesome death of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Yet, none of the hardship has been able to stop the spread of Christ’s message: God is Life, not death.
“The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” As a result of this encounter with the Risen Christ, they were filled with joy and peace. The kind of joy and peace that Jesus said the world cannot give, because it simply doesn’t have it. The joy and peace Jesus offers comes from within, this world and no one can take it away from us. Jesus did not promise us anything of this world, even worldly peace. Instead he called for a sword, that means we have to work hard for it.
Bloody violence happened in holy places on the most sacred day of the liturgical celebration of the year is beyond any human comprehension, it makes us sick to the soul. Justice will have to be pursued by civil authorities, even temptation for vengeance may be running high. These measures may give a short lived sense of satisfaction, but will not solve the root of evil that exists in the heart of those who “have not met Christ.”, in whose heart Easter Life is not there.
Blessed those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. (Mat 5:10-11)
John Quang, svd.