(2016) 'We must be Easter people'

KOTA KINABALU: During Easter Vigil, parish rector Fr Cosmas Lee reminded the faithful to be not just “Good Friday people” but first and foremost be “Easter people”.

He summarised the hectic but fruitful Triduum events from Holy Thursday to Easter Vigil as an outward expression of being in touch with the merciful God.

“You have seen so much, you have heard so much, you have touched so much, you have smelled so much,” he said in his homily.

Easter quote
– pics by Douglas Yu

“All the signs, the symbols, the sounds, the words, the actions… all say one thing: the Lord loves us. He is always merciful. He suffered, He died and He is risen for us.

“So there is no need for me to talk too much, but I cannot help sharing two little points with you, because tonight in this Year of Mercy, we’re reading the resurrection record according to St Luke, and St Luke is very special.”

In his first “special point”, he stressed how the “women were the first” to discover Jesus’ empty tomb. “But the others thought it was all nonsense, except one. Who?” Fr Cosmas asked the crowd in the Church.

“Peter,” the faithful answered, to which the rector jokingly said, “So clever now.”

“Peter ran and saw the empty tomb for himself. Be careful when you say, ‘It’s only a woman’s story’… Women have a credulity that men must learn from. It does not matter whether truth comes from a man or a woman. We must always not brush it aside.

“Check it out, like Peter,” he said. “Women were the first, that’s why they are wearing veils,” the rector said, gesturing towards some of the women seated in the front pews who were preparing to be accepted into the Catholic faith.

He explained the veil-wearing had been “the practice since the beginning of the Church. The women wore veils because they saw the Risen Lord and like Moses coming down from Mt Sinai, they were shining in splendour, too bright for the people to see”.

Some of the newly-baptised and confirmed in a group photo with Fr Cosmas, their sponsors and teachers.

“So at every Christian assembly the women always had veils to remind all of the resurrection of the Lord. It’s not for their modesty or for their ‘sexiness’ or their seduction – no! It is a symbol of the resurrection of the Lord,” he said.

On his second “special point”, the rector stressed on the words of the two men in brilliant clothes who said these words to the women looking for Jesus in the empty tomb, “Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here, He is risen”.

“I remember preaching these words in Rome after I had buried my mother here… It’s wonderful, it can mean many things – but I’d like to say just one thing:

“If we live like dead people, then other people will never find the Risen Lord. We must be Easter people… even when it becomes so obvious that everything is becoming worse and worse.

“The older ones are dying, the younger ones are not coming; all interested only in handphone. This year even more and more difficult even to prepare for Easter and I’m getting old.

“Despite all these terrible signs we see around us, we must remain resurrection people, not just Good Friday people. We must bring a piece of Heaven here on Earth.

The altar servers assisting Fr Cosmas during the candle-lighting ceremony.

“Our motive in life is not just to go to Heaven. The first objective, the first purpose of our life is to bring a little Heaven on the Earth. When we live with Him who has conquered death, we will bring about that extraordinary divinity, that extraordinary power from Heaven.

“So today when we say ‘Alleluia!’ make sure that our day-to-day life is a witness that the Lord has risen: ‘I fear nothing, I will not fear to love, to be merciful, to suffer, to be committed’.”

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