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Death or Resurrection?

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The recent events in Bangalore have made one and all think deeply on issues that really matter. Mine is just an effort in sharing some of my thoughts with you my fellow citizens, and fellow Christians. What is the underlying principle that inspires awe at a volcanic eruption of the strongest of human feelings and   emotions? Is there a force beneath the surface which is more powerful than the earthquake? For it not only sends mild tremors into one?s mind and heart but also shakes up quite violently all those dearly held values or tightly embraced principles of life.

I was just wondering during the Holy Week about the unfathomable mysteries surrounding the Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. But then the shape of events that shook Bangalore after the sudden death of people?s most popular icon, Dr. Rajkumar, beckons us to stop, and think ???.and of course??.. proceed.

The death of Rajkumar has shown how millions loved him. The death of Jesus ended in a total failure with even the people he helped and his close followers deserting him. The aftermath of both the deaths is history. But one cannot judge the merits or demerits of both the deaths on any basis. Each is unique and both have been the starting point of a new journey.

While it?s too early to discuss the new journey after the actor?s death, it?s not difficult to see that the death of Jesus had sparked off a people?s movement ??.. a great movement in the history of this planet earth????.a movement that has successfully set billions of hearts on fire???down the centuries??.The Great Movement has created and shaped the history of 2006 years???.. It carries on???… It?s quite possible to undertake a journey of the mind at this point. I would happily allow my mind to fly backward??????

Yes?the backward journey of the mind from 2006????????..

The death of Jesus taken from a human point of view is nothing but an ignominious, cruel and by all means most unjust-perhaps in the history of humankind- punishment to a Jew who went against his own religion. The ruling Roman Governor was afraid of the uprising against foreign domination. So quickly, though much against his conscience, he sentenced him to death. There were no lawyers to fight for him. There were only well-trained liars to testify against him.

Though Jesus was innocent, he nevertheless was flogged beyond the prescribed lashes, humiliated, insulted, slapped, spat upon, dragged and beaten up and finally nailed to the cross. The enemies of Jesus thought that they successfully nailed his ambitious plans to build his kingdom; that his dreams were stopped once and for all by nailing his hands and feet to the cross. They thought they had succeeded in curtailing his liberty. They dreamed of a world thereafter without him.

But little did they know that their victory was only a defeat, their success a failure and their might was not right. They miserably failed to see that their most powerful weapons were only weak instruments, their clever strategies only foolishness and their cruelty a gateway to centuries of missions of kindness. Did they know that four walls do not make a prison and iron bars a cage? The bird was choked to death as long as it was in their hands. But when the ?divine bird? stormed the heavens crying out ?My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?? and ? Father, into your hands I commend my spirit?, it had flown to greater heights????..greater freedom???.. liberty unimaginable???.to shores across the oceans??? to embrace races and cultures?????????. to limitless skies??? and to new horizons??..


Jesus rose from the dead! As a child I had no difficulty in accepting it simply and plainly. Just said it a hundred times over with so much childlike faith and simplicity. I went to Church day after day without questioning anything that I was doing. I said the family prayers without fail. Those were lovely morning and evening prayers that my loving and devout parents taught me. I prayed with them. They blessed me after the prayers. Yes. God Blessed me when I said, ?besaanv di Ana, (bless me Dad) besaanv di Mai (bless me Mom)?.

In those days there was no questioning mind but only believing heart. Those nostalgic feelings burn my inner being even today, longing for that simple faith inherited from my mother?s lap that simply made me happy at home and at school. Whether I went to school or to church or to play in the neighbourhood it was just the thought that I was a Christian that made me feel proud of my family, my religion, my church, and my school.

But today I am faced with problems. My mind asks a million questions. And sadly?????. there are no answers. At times there are only tears rolling down my cheeks when I think of Jesus and his sufferings. I sit with an empty gaze at the sky????????with a blank mind. I can hear the whispers of my heart with those soothing words ?just relax? ?don?t worry? even as the fierce duel between the mind and the heart goes on like a ravaging war burning my inner sanctuary, the holy of holies. My soul at times is vexed??..I feel crushed under the heavy weight of doubt??????..

St. Thomas does not come to my help. He doubted and believed. He saw and believed. Here I am left to myself doubting and doubting, not being able to  see anything so I can believe. The Risen Lord does not appear?? He does not eat and drink with me??. I must eat ?the unleavened bread? alone ??and drink ??..the cup of wine?  nay vinegar! ??.alone ???.. He does not walk with me on the road to Emmaus? The road seems winding ????? with unending ups and downs?????? steep curves???hairpin  bends??????treacherous turns???????? the journey is too tedious???.. How many times have I stumbled on the roadblocks and arrived so often at the crossroads! I have not been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel???.. It is darkness and darkness???.miles and miles…………..with tears and not smiles???. A hesitant leap in the dark????? with trembling and fear ??????..a journey into the unknown????????without a glimpse of what is yet to come. ? Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet believe?   Really blessed?..?

There are two forces at work in me. One is pulling me on and the other is pushing me back. One believing and the other doubting. One accepting Jesus Movement and the other rejecting it. One blindly saying Yes and Amen and the other questioning. One recognizing the forces behind the Great Movement as divine intervention in human history??and the other dismissing it as fiction, a great lie, a women?s tale, fishermen?s stories, etc? Day in and day out ????I am faced with a struggle in life??At times I look like a divided kingdom?! One half swimming with the current and the other half swimming against it..  The war goes on????????


Religion is certainly not God?s gift to humankind. But what is it? Is it what Karl Marx called ?the opium of the masses?? If you watched the funeral procession of Dr. Rajkumar, the ?Annavru? of millions of his fans, or if you see the crowds that cheered Jesus at his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, you would perhaps be tempted to conclude so.  For some, religion may look like opium of the masses but it is not so. All religions have their own beautiful elements in them. Religion is born out of people?s faith. It is not given to us as a ready made stuff. Nor is it dropped from heaven. It springs from people?s heart. It?s an expression of their deepest aspirations. It?s an answer to people?s need to touch the Most Powerful Being????.The Supreme Thou?????? The Infinite??????????. People need GOD. They want to see, touch, feel, and talk to God. This is all the more so when people are disillusioned with a government that does not deliver goods, teachers who do not teach values, doctors who do not care for human lives, lawyers who harass, judges who sentence the innocent to death, and above all and most painful of all???????????.. when parents do not love their children.

The hunger and thirst for God grows more intense under such circumstances. Take for example the Filipinos who thronged to the National Park to catch a glimpse of Pope John Paul II during his visit to the Philippines in 1995. More than four millions were gathered there the previous evening and spent the night in the park waiting and waiting????.. for their God???to touch him/her and feel his/her presence. The Pope was the visible Head of that Invisible God. And God?s own people forgot to eat and drink. Hungry and thirsty they longed for him. He could not be brought to the Park by road. A helicopter had to drop him. And??..the moment people saw him even from afar, they shouted ?John Paul Two, We Love You?.

I saw something similar in Dr. Rajkumar?s funeral procession. The crowd in their hundreds and thousands waited just for a glance. The milling crowds demonstrated their love for their icon. Call it a new movement? Call it religion? Call it great following? All the ingredients were there to call it the way you want to???? The mob hysteria, the frenzied people, the silently crying? above all??.. those who loved him as a model of humanity?


The event has left an indelible mark on me. It has made me ??????.stop ???????..and??????????? think.

What are the underlying forces in human nature? Who are the people involved in world?s great movements? The rich??????????.? The elite of the society??????? The Politicians????????.? The powerful????????..?
Not at all. They had shut themselves in????? theirs was a splendid isolation! To be safe?????.to be secure??????to be far from it all.

The titans did not clash??????the mighty did not fight???????the warriors were not found in the battlefield!

It was the simple???????.. the humble???????? perhaps??????? the uneducated???????? or even???????? the illiterate????????. the weak???????.. the poor?????????. the marginalized??????.

Great historical movements were born out of the passion of these???..sons and daughters of the soil????..the great faith of simple and humble men and women.

History was made by them???????the seemingly impossible became possible????????..they wrote??????? not with hands???????? but with their hearts????????they wrote ????????not with ink ???????..but with??????..blood??????.their precious blood??????

Christian truth???????..proclaimed by??????simple fishermen???????..

Christian faith??????..lived out by???????????early followers of the way??????????

Christian history??????.written with sweat and blood ??????of the martyrs????????

Christ?s resurrection???????.witnessed by??????.women????..the first evangelizers??????????. those bold and beautiful ladies (beautiful because the scripture says: ?How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good tidings?.? .The women regarded as their duty to go and tell others) bold because those women???????were not afraid of visiting the tomb??????????only to find it empty?????.!

Dr. Rajkumar is not dead. He is reborn they say. That not only his family but millions in Karnataka will keep him alive is beyond a shadow of doubt?..because millions saw him as a good man, not just an actor. He will continue to live in the heart of millions. He will continue to inspire them not only through his two hundred plus movies but also by his attitudes and virtues in life.

Jesus of Nazareth died. He also rose from the dead. He will come again in glory. The Church sings: ?Alleluia! Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again?. And we join the chorus singing fortissimo: ?Amen! Alleluia!?. Jesus lives in the hearts of millions down the centuries.


Going back to my innocent childhood days, I proclaim the same truth with deep faith and an ardent heart, full of love for my Master who gave His life for me. For the occasions?????????.. when my boat is tossed up???????.. in the gale?????????????. of life?s ????..unfathomable???????.. mysteries??????? and?????????. the waves of questions ?????????.and ??????????.the low tides ??????and high tides????.. of doubt?????????????.. I sincerely long to return to my mother?s lap, gently rest my head on her breast and ask her: ? Mom, will you please tell me what resurrection is??  But oh! My Mom is already enjoying heaven with the Risen Lord. And my Dad too. The only pillars of my faith???. The ?tree? of my Christian life is no more??. It?s only the branches left behind??? that must live on???burn on???till we burn out???..

And my question?????.. will forever ????..be??.. a question!

But after the storm comes the calm.

I would then flee from the shores of noise????.and row my boat??????.. to the deep sea ????????where in the stillness ????..that echoes from the depths, would find meaning of the difficult terms????.and ???.answer to my endless questions???..

I would gently yet firmly hold on to the sail and cling passionately to Him who walked on the waters to reach out to me????.? and ??..utter those same words I am so fond of????the beautiful words my Dad and Mom taught me????

?Lord., I ?m not worthy to have you under my roof????..Say only those words from a distance???. And ??..I would be healed???of my doubts???!

Wisdom has dawned on me after living out my faith for five decades that it is not death or resurrection. It is DEATH AND RESURRECTION. There is no resurrection without death. And there is no death without resurrection. Both are two sides of the same coin, forever inseparable.

It is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in DYING that we are BORN to everlasting life.

?Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief?

Author: Cyril Vas Bangalore

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