“The empty tomb: It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw the stone had been removed away from the tomb, and running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb,’ she said. So Peter … and the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had still not understood the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.” (John 20:1-10.
Permit me to begin with the following reassuring words from Prophet Jeremiah: “My thoughts toward you are thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 11:29).
Standing on top of the biblical message of hope and future for all of us, and as I wish you all happy Easter, my Easter reflection this year 2020, centers on the theme of ‘Empty tomb’ vis-à-vis ‘empty churches’ at this period of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. A lockdown that has caused us all to celebrate this year’s Easter indoors, in our homes, leaving our ‘churches empty.’ That is, without the customary gathering-together as a worshipping community in our churches.
What is more, the number of people dying as a result of COVID-19 – Coronavirus pandemic has continued to increase ever since it first started in China late 2019. The pandemic is claiming lives of people in hundreds on daily basis from many countries of the world. The scandalous loss of lives of our beloved ones, friends and relatives killed by the pandemic is alarming, and nobody is sure, when it is going to stop.
The situation has caused the general lockdown, inconveniences and sufferings people encounter these days across the globe. It is under this trying situation and period, that Easter of this year is taking place. There is nobody that will say he/she is not affected in one way or the other by the situation. Majority of our Christians, because of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown could not attend, physically, this year’s Easter liturgical functions in our churches. This type of thing happens only at the time of war, and may be, under a communist, or any other tyrannical and dictatorial regime, etc.