2021: Happy or Sad Easter?

By Fr Pat Amobi Chukwuma

The opposite of happiness is sadness. In comparative and superlative concepts, we say: happy, happier and happiest. Then we have sad, sadder and saddest. The opposite of good is bad. In my primary two, our class teacher asked us to give the comparative tenses of good and bad.

The intelligent ones wrote: good, better and best; bad, worse and worst. The unintelligent ones among us wrote: good, goodder and gooddest; bad, badder and baddest. Could you guess whether I belonged to the intelligent or unintelligent ones? If you can’t guess, then ask me, I shall tell you sincerely.

A person who goes by the name Happiness should always be happy. His or her face must always radiate joy. Anger can disfigure one’s face. A certain melancholic young man was diagnosed of acute anger. He was placed on hospital admission for three days, during which he was infused with drip of happiness.

On the fourth day he gave up the ghost. His death certificate stated that he died of excessive anger which had damaged his brain system. He went straight to hell where he was given thirty-six lashes of spiritual cane as a welcome package. On the wretched gate of hell is boldly inscribed: “Welcome to Hell, the home of everlasting sadness.” No wonder Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians implored them severally: “Rejoice in the Lord always.

I say it again: rejoice and may everyone experience your gentle and understanding heart” (Phil 4:4 – 5). Happiness is very medicinal. Smiling and laughing are ways of expressing happiness. We should be as happy as the Angels and Saints of God. On the contrary one can be as sad as the devil.

Heaven is the home of joy while hell is the home of sadness. In essence, if you are always sad, then it means you are heading to hell. But if you are always happy, then you are not far from the kingdom of Heaven. Let not the sufferings we encounter now and then weigh us down. They will come to pass.

All said and done, there is justified sadness as well as justified anger. Jesus Christ manifested justified anger when he drove away those doing business in the Temple of God. Someone who is provoked can be justifiably angry. A person whose beloved one died can be sad in a just manner.

If your house or property is destroyed by wind or flood, that can make you sad. A false allegation against an innocent person can lead to justified sadness. God is sad to see his creature go to hell out of carelessness or out of failure to repent from one’s sins.

I always feel sad when misfortune falls on someone very dear to me. It is only sadists who rejoice at the misfortune of others. On his Sermon on the Mountain Jesus Christ asserts, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy” (Mtt. 5:7). Are you a compassionate person or a sadist?

In normal parlance we say to each other during Easter season: “Happy Easter!” I have never heard, “Sad Easter!” Easter is always a joyful event. Without Good Friday there can be no Easter. Jesus Christ died on Good Friday. He was crucified for our salvation.

That’s why that mournful Friday is termed Good. Should the day of the demise of our beloved ones be termed good day or bad day? A certain family lost their breadwinner in a ghastly motor accident. His mother, wife, children and his siblings wept uncontrollably on the day of his interment.

At the graveside a certain charismatic young man shouted, “Stop crying! Praise the Lord! Our brother is not dead but alive in the Lord.” Instead of shouting ‘Alleluia!’ they shouted, “Idiot!” They did not stop at that. They beat him black and blue. He was even accused of sending the accident that claimed the deceased.

When a sad event occurs on a particular day, that day is normally called ‘black day’. There was a fatal accident somewhere on a Sunday, which claimed many lives. That Sunday was described as black Sunday. Sun-day is expected to be radiating with the light of the sun.

It is not just ordinary sun but divine sun. What  if heavy rain falls on Sunday? Should we still call that day Sunday or Rainday? Somewhere else, a popular traditional ruler of the town died on Sunday. It was called a sad-day instead of Sunday, because the sun set at dawn.

My parish church was filled to brim on the Octave Sunday of Easter, being Divine Mercy Sunday. Many families came for thanksgiving for one blessing or the other. A few came for removal of mourning clothe and others for outing Mass after the burial and funeral of their beloved ones. During offertory thanksgiving, the devil struck in one of the empty pews.

A lady left her handbag on her seat and joined her family in the thanksgiving offering procession. The anonymous and cunning devil incarnate opened her bag and stole three big mobile phones. After the Mass, the unsuspecting lady took her handbag home. Unfortunately, when she opened it at home, she was deeply dumbfounded. It dawned on her that her three costly mobile phones were stolen in the church.

She was tensed up and almost urinated in her dress. Immediately she ran back to the church to look for the missing phones. She was wondering if the three phones mysterious developed legs and walked away or may be speaking with God inside the church. She searched the nooks and corners of the church, but all to no avail. As I was coming back to the church after attending to my sick parishioner on that Divine Sunday, the lady rushed to me and was shedding tears.

I smiled and said to her, “Sister, what is wrong? Happy Easter!” She replied tearfully, “Father, it is unfortunately sad Easter for me today. My three exorbitant mobile phones were stolen during Divine Mercy Sunday Mass today.” I asked her how it happened. She told me that she left her bag on her pew and went to give offering to the Lord. A thief who came to Mass stole her phones. I pitied her and promised to speak to God on her behalf.

Later I asked God to arrest the church thief. Either he or she returns the phones and be

pardoned by God or be punished if he hardened his or her heart. Please let us watch and pray. Thieves and armed robbers also come to church. As you go for offertory or Communion, take your handbag or any other valuables along with you. The Church Congregation comprises of Saints and Sinners. However, it is a curse to steal or to commit any other evil in the house of God.

A sorrowful event happened to one of my parishioners a day before Easter 2021, which was Holy Saturday. She went to farm as usual on her lady’s motorcycle at Ezira in Orumba South of Anambra State. On reaching her farmland, she packed her motorcycle at the normal place and went into the farm. Unfortunately she did not come back to her family after sunset. Her children went to the farm to look for her.

Her machine was seen, but she was nowhere to be found. The young boys from the town assisted in searching for her in the forests in the town. They combed everywhere, but all was in vain. She was kidnapped by unknown forces and has not been found at the moment I went to press.

Her name is Mrs. Theresa Ezeuduji. She is a native of Obinikpa Achina in Aguata Local Government of Anambra State. She is one of the officers of my parish Catholic Women Organization (CWO). Since she was abducted, we have been bombarding heaven with Holy Masses and other forms of prayer for her release. Please join us to ask God for her deliverance, if she is alive and kept somewhere. We also appeal to anyone who knows

her where-about to report to the nearest Police Station or to the nearest Catholic Church. Earthly and heavenly rewards await any helper. Indeed her family and our parish have been celebrating 2021 Easter with mixed feelings of joy and sadness.

During the 2021 Easter celebration, many families lost their beloved ones through sickness, accident, violence and terrorism. I visited a couple who lost their only son in a mysterious circumstance. On entering, I saluted them, “Happy Easter!” With tears running down their cheeks they retorted, “Father, what is good about this Easter? Indeed we are lost in tears.

Where was the Risen Christ when our only child died at the prime of his life?” I was moved to tears myself. If I had the power, I would have gone to the deceased young man’s grave to call him back to life as Jesus did with Lazarus. Please ask God to give me the power to do so.

In fact, human life has been devalued in our country Nigeria these days. Innocent blood is flowing like flood along the forests and streets. Terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, bloody Fulani herdsmen and cultists are on the loose.

It is certain that powerful hands are sponsoring them. Civilians, soldiers and policemen are targeted and eliminated here and there. Our country seems to be in the state of anarchy. The primary duty of any government is to protect lives and property. This has woefully failed. We hear more from the Presidency and hear little from the President. We are in hot soup. We are justifiably sad. May God deliver us! Happy Easter!