EASTER GREETING FROM THE PROVINCIAL

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The mystery of redemption makes sense only from the perspective of love, a generous and total love that led God to create, redeem and sanctify. Jesus, in obedience to the mysterious plan of the Triune God, did not redeem by triumphalism but by humility and self-denial, accepting the immolation of his life as a fitting offering in atonement and expiation for man’s sins. Nobody takes life from Him, it is He who freely and in humble obedience offers it and gives it up. No one has authority over God. He condemns no one but, from the tree of the cross, in the redemptive sacrifice and forgetting his own excruciating suffering, he forgives those who were crucifying and condemning him with such kind prayer: Father forgive them because they do not know what they are doing!

Instead of reproaching the priests, the scribes and the people for their incredulity and blindness, lack of listening and of intelligent reading of the writings of revelation of which they claim to be depositaries, Jesus excuse their action because they have not been able to understand and believe that in Jesus the promises and the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled. It was of no avail to them that for three years he preached with wisdom, argued with mastery, exhorted with conviction, instructed with prudence, showed the path of truth, confirmed his power and authority over illness and death. As religious leaders, whether out of envy, bigotry or convenience, believed that they were rendering a service to their forefathers' God, rather than being prolonging a history of rejection as it had happened to so many other prophets in the history of the chosen people. And now the victim is no other than the author of life, the Messiah, the Son of God.

The humiliation of Jesus reaches its height in the Passion, after passing through the agony in the orchard of the olive trees. He is sold by one of his own, abandoned by those who had witnessed his preaching and wisdom, his healing power and even the resurrection of the dead. Those who had been witnesses of his transfiguration and who had shared his last supper - a paschal feast of farewell – all abandoned him and denied him as if they had never been by his side, witnessed his prayer, preached or enjoyed supernatural powers. How soon we forget when the occurrences do not conform to our human expectations, plans or dreams!

This divine sacrifice becomes the book of charity and expression of the infinite love of God who is always ready and prepared to embrace his children. The promise is fulfilled and the new alliance is established. Finally, Caiaphas prophesied with those words full of depth and mystery that he himself could not glimpse: "You do not understand that it is convenient that one dies for the people and that the whole nation does not perish". However, the one who was to die, the innocent lamb is willing and does not refuse to follow the path of Calvary, so as to bring to fulfilment the mystery of God and give meaning to the new covenant. In this way, Jesus becomes the head, the life and the way for his people. Uplifts all men to the condition of children of God and fills, with the river of grace, flowing from the only pleasing sacrifice to the Father, all who are to be baptized in the waters of purification and sanctification. May the drops of his blood and water flowing from this side purify his Church and cause an indelible mark on those sanctified by his redeeming sacrifice.

The body torn with blows, whips, thorns, pierced, broken and crucified is unrecognizable by the disfigurement of passion. Who could have said this a few days before when he entered triumphantly and chanted in Jerusalem? What did you whisper, murmur, sobbing mother, witnessing the death of you Son in the horrific sacrifice of the cross, you, the full of grace? But above all, what new role and responsibility he imposed upon you as he declared our mother?

Today all that is history. We are celebrating Easter. His passion and death brought him to the glory of the alleluia of the resurrection. But first we shared on Holy Thursday the mystery of himself in the Eucharist; the institution of the sacrament of the priesthood with the power to bind and loose, and the greatest commandment and testimony of love. A love that knows no limits because nobody has greater love than he who gives his life for his family. After the silence with which we remember and enacted the story of his betrayal, surrender, imprisonment, condemnation and crucifixion we have waited, like the disciples, for three long nights of fear, doubts and anguish to the hearing of his voice as if nothing had happened. Peace, it's me!

Mary Magdalene is the first to receive the news and runs to the tomb in fear, love and wonder and when she discovered it empty she is greeted with: "Do you seek Jesus the Nazarene, the crucified?" He is not here! He has risen as he had promised. That is why we, who enjoy the gift of faith, can say with confidence: Alleluia! This is the day on which the Lord has make, let us rejoice and believe in Him. The hope that the apostles had lost has been revived with the news that Christ had risen! But we also have to nourish our hope with a deep and unwavering faith confronting the vicissitudes of life, with the confidence that the words of the Risen Lord are true and with a love that should be as intensive and the love He has for us; and finally with the availability to be sent as instruments of his mission in today's world.

This celebration of the mystery of Christ is a new call and invitation to renewal and humility. If disciples and his opponents alike did not trust in his words and mission despite having confessed Him as the Son of God, we discover too a long history of uncertainty, indifference and apathy in our life. The routine of life and our consecration may not enjoy the dynamism that is expected of those who belong to Him totally and have professed unconditional fidelity. May the awareness of our incapacity not be an obstacle to the action of grace and the certainty that Jesus lives among us as in former times.

If the disciples were reawakening and their hope revived, each of us is expected to start and rediscover the quality of life and the renewal of the ​​profession we have made. Like the primitive community we are challenged to a preaching characterized by a new ardor in the proclamation of the Word and new dynamism. Our Dominican Family has to preach with the certainty that He acts in and through our community for He is present when two or three gather in his name. In this way the Gospel will become a call to conversion for all cultures because the face of God knows no distinction of color, race or social status. May the Alleluia of the resurrection change the horrors of war into peace and reconciliation. Injustice and corruption give way to justice and respect for human dignity and rights. Totalitarianism open the doors to democracy and respect for the fundamental rights of man and family.

Yes, Jesus, you have risen and you continue to invite me to live with you the new life that you communicate having overcoming death. Everything is life and there is no more death. May our life be, then, a continuous experience of hope, transmitting our experience of faith to those who seek meaning in their lives. Only by witnessing your life with the strength of the Word can we rekindle, our the personal encounter with Jesus and with all those around us.

Happy Easter to You!

Fr. Solis

Fr. Bonifacio Solis, OP