Easter: A Call to Walk in Newness ofLife
“… so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
Easter is an invitation to each of us to “walk in newness of life.” This will mean something different for each of us, but we know that it is a call for personal and societal conversion: to question that which is familiar, to see things with new eyes and to have the courage to change the way we live and the world around us.
In this cacophony of voices that surrounds us, it is not easy to discern what this conversion should look like and how to walk in newness of life. Let us look to Jesus to show us the way. Jesus’s first Easter morning appearance was to women, even though He knew they would not be believed. This was in keeping with His public life when He consistently chose to reveal Himself to those who were ignored and marginalized by others.
Who is being ignored and marginalized today? Whose voices are not being heard? How do they show us to walk in newness of life we are called to? Our capacity to discern the answer to these questions, and to do so guided by the radical compassion of Jesus, can have significant implications during these times of war and heightened conflict internationally and nationally.
Pascuala Vásquez is one of the leaders of the Indigenous Community of Chilón in Chiapas, Mexico. Like other Indigenous women, she has to fight for her right to a safe and dignified life for herself and her family and against gender-based violence within and beyond her community. Despite facing opposition, she has chosen to walk a new path. With the support of CJI’s partner, AC Indigenous Rights Centre (CEDIAC) of the Jesuit Mission of Bachajón, Pascuala and other Indigenous leaders in Chiapas work for the recognition of their culture and respect of their dignity. She is walking in newness of life.
Prerna Tamang is a Community Development Worker at Hayden Hall, an apostolate founded by a Canadian Jesuit in Darjeeling, India. She leads the way to a new life for vulnerable women. She works with poor daily wage labourers from the tea gardens, some of whom are victims of domestic violence. Prerna, together with the team at Hayden Hall, helps women know their rights and also helps them gain financial independence for themselves and their families through education, skills training and income generation projects. She is walking in newness of life.
Pascuala and Prena have welcomed the invitation to walk in newness of life by choosing to hear the voices of those who have been made voiceless and to walk with them to build a future where all things are new. Will we? Are we ready to hear the voices of those who have been made voiceless in our own midst and in the world as a whole? In a world marked by global inequality and poverty, are we ready to bring about a new way of living with one another? Are we ready to walk a new path, one made of solidarity, generosity, justice and love for our brothers and sisters?
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, invites us in our reflection on the Resurrection to share in the office of consoler,to love and be with those in need.
This Easter we are invited to be a consoler. This invitation comes at a time where millions of innocent people have been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine or to live under bombardments. It comes at a time when we are asked to welcome strangers with open arms. It comes at a time when we are confronted with a world reality where millions of other people in Syria, South Sudan or Colombia are also victims of war.
How do we make it possible for them to walk in newness of life amid sorrow and death? How do we walk in newness of life? The choices we make now, can affirm death or the Resurrection.
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