So, you thought you’d crucify me and keep me buried in the tomb, eh?” asks a radiant Jesus in a WhatsApp message received recently. Jesus’ punchline is: “I’ve risen! April fools!” Tomorrow, Easter Sunday and April Fools’ Day coincide. This rare coincidence occurred way back in 1956. At Easter, Jesus’ criticisers and crucifiers appear to be fools as he rises, resplendent. The Easter Jesus has the last laugh as life destroys death and goodness crushes evil.
This past season of Lent — when Christians have been preparing for Easter 2018 — strangely saw Ash Wednesday coinciding with Valentine’s Day (February 14). You may ask: How are prayer, penance, almsgiving, crucifixion, death and resurrection linked to love and foolishness? Well, intimately; for, the loveliest love is seemingly foolishly spent—unexpectedly, unconditionally, uncalculatedly—in loving one’s beloved.
Apostle Paul said: “We preach Christ crucified — an obstacle to Jews and foolishness to Greeks.” Jews dreaded crucifixion since only murderers and rebels against the Romans were crucified. The Book of Deuteronomy says: “Cursed is the one who is hung on a tree;” for, the crucified were nailed, naked, after a backbreaking beating. Likewise, Greeks held that god couldn’t suffer since god was “up there” in the highest heavens, unconcerned about human affairs. But, Christians believe that God is “down here” — suffering with us — giving sufferings meaning.
Don’t we admire folks like Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa who died daily, so to say, in order to enrich the poor and empower the weak? They sometimes seemed foolish to many; for, who wants to inconvenience oneself and live for the welfare of others? Yet, their boundless love made them perform supreme sacrifices. We now honour them as “Mahatmas”.
Today, Holy Saturday, the silent day between Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, reflect on the apparent “foolishness of love”.
Love is not a cheap commodity; it is ready to pay seemingly foolish prices for loving. Yes, love is ready to even die so that the beloved may prosper. Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This is precisely what he did.
Jesus’ good news is simple: (a) God is father-mother of us all; (b) We can all live as sisters, brothers, friends in a god-gifted world; (c) True happiness lies in sacrificing our own conveniences for the welfare of others. Those who opposed this message criticised Jesus, condemned and crucified him. Yet, truth can never be silenced. Jesus lives.
Opposing sin, evil, exploitation, corruption and injustice might cause you to be crucified. Fear not! Your apparent foolishness is true wisdom. The cross inevitably leads to an empty tomb. Satyameva jayate! Happy Easter to foolish lovers! God always has the last laugh.