As the Easter Triduum approaches, a disciple of Jesus is necessarily seized with His suffering, death and resurrection.
The highlight of this season is definitely God's willingness not merely to identify with us sinners, but to provide us with that Hope of eternal salvation,
through the death and resurrection of His Son.
However, there are certain other dimensions that we need to pay attention to, if we intend to maximise the blessings which this season brings. These include:
Solidarity – All through the way to Calvary, Jesus demonstrates a tremendous solidarity with people from all walks of life. Simon of Cyrene is an outsider,
a migrant who has just come in and Jesus provides him with an opportunity to be a part of His journey to the Mount.
There are the women who weep as they watch the plight of Jesus, but in the end it is Jesus who provides them with strength and support.
Then there is the good thief who shows signs of repentance and Jesus assures him of salvation.
The message throughout is obvious – be it the poor, the migrant, the women, the repentant sinner – Jesus is in solidarity with them.
Service – From the moment Jesus kneels down to wash the feet of His disciples, there is a paradigm shift in the meaning of discipleship.
At the heart of being a follower of Jesus, is our ability to serve others in humility. This service is epitomised in the post-resurrection incidents
where Jesus constantly serves His followers. For Jesus there are no pre-conditions in service.
Service therefore is non-negotiable. It is manifested in very concrete acts of love.
Standing up for – Throughout His life, Jesus took a stand for Truth and Justice. He was unwavering in this.
When Pilate asks Him, "What is truth?" He preferred not to respond, which was meant to make Pilate realise that he was not on the side of truth.
The very suffering and death of Jesus is a classic example of what is meted out to one who takes on the establishment.
Jesus however is unflinching and lives out the prophecy of Isaiah to the fullest. He courageously takes a stand on behalf
of the poor and the marginalised of His times. There is no denying the fact that the powerful and vested interests of
His time killed Him because He spoke and lived the truth.
The Easter event therefore provides us with a charter of how we can make Jesus truly alive in a world where so many are confined to
untold pain and suffering. We need to accompany them on their journey. Millions in our country are dispossessed of what is rightfully theirs.
The Adivasis are denied their identity. The Dalits are still regarded as outsiders. The mining lobby in Orissa, in Karnataka (Bellary) and in other parts of the country
carry on with impunity, regardless of the laws of the land.
Jesus always respected and supported the women of His times. In one of its first apparitions, He commissions Mary Magdalene to be
His first Evangeliser. As disciples of Jesus, how do we respond to the Women's Reservation Bill or for that matter, to the new Gender Policy of the CBCI?
Do we have the political will to ensure its implementation or is it mere lip service to be confined as a glossy document to decorate our dusty shelves?
Then we have political ideologies that discriminate against others on the basis of religion and ethnicity.
The Gujarat Carnage of 2002 saw the Muslims attacked very viciously and recently in Bombay, the North Indians had to face the wrath of the Sena gangs.
Christians have also been at the receiving end in Gujarat, Karnataka and Orissa.
As disciples of Jesus do we take the side of the victims? Too often we enter into our comfort zones and are afraid to take on
those in governance and speak the truth to them for fear of falling out of favour. Jesus clearly tells us that this is not His way.
While we do need to give ourselves a pat on the back for our services to others, Jesus also emphasises that our service should transcend
the benefactor approach and reach out towards empowering the other.
The Pascal Triduum definitely provides many challenges to each one of us. We need to squarely face these challenges
and to live them out in our daily life, if we truly believe that Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again.
The Easter experience is not a-once-and-for-all but in fact, the manifestation of true Christian discipleship.
(* Fr. Cedric Prakash sj is the Director of "Prashant", the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
PRASHANT (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad – 380 052
Phone: 27455913, 66522333
Fax : 27489018
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.humanrightsindia.in