Sorrow in the Night but Joy in the Morning

The tomb is empty. He is risen. The angels testify. Mary joyfully encounters Him, the Rabbuni. This is an incredible testimony to the fact that a long and rough night will eventually metamorphose into a bright joyful morning. For no human condition is permanent. “Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed”, says the philosopher Heraclitus. Human existence is fluid, in a perpetual state of flux. The Preacher puts it poetically, “A generation goes, and a generation comes, the sun rises, and the sun goes down” (Eccl. 1:4–5). There is only one thing permanent in human existence—change. Change is the rhythm and tempo of the course of human existence. Change is the song of nature. Therefore, if it goes well, enjoy it because it will not last. If it is going badly, be patient because it will not last either. This understanding of the course of human life inspires great hope and diminishes the tendency to give up when the storms of life rage.

The human earthly sojourn runs through the path of unpredictability. No one can rely on its course with absolute confidence, for each second of human existence is pregnant with unforeseen events. It can produce negative or positive energies without warning. It can be very sweet and pleasurable but can suddenly become hellish. Human life is never an untwisted track.

The events of the sufferings, death and resurrection of Christ help us to be acquainted with the reality of the terrain of human existence. It is capricious. It is an undulating path designed with valleys and hills, plains and mountains, dangerous curves and beautiful smooth paths, with the presence of angels and demons, saints and marauders. Thus, it can never run a uniform course. Everyone wishes to encounter only angels and saints in this journey and consequently experience peace and joy. However, it does not always turn out as wished because the Maker did not intend human life to be perfect but rather to be perfected through the process of the numerous changes we experience.

There is no doubt that a dark night can last very long. It could be choking and very torturous, like when it made the sweat of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane seem like drops of blood and made him to cry in anguish ‘Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani’. The chances of experiencing the warmth of sunshine appear very remote and hopeless during this period; the danger of losing interest in life grows exponentially and the chances of losing faith even in God increases geometrically too. There could be rough whispers within, suggesting to one that the situation is hopeless and that there is no need to continue the struggle. These scary voices can instigate the eerie feelings to call it quits. They could throw up only negative thoughts and make the moment drearier than it actually is. But the message of the empty tomb reminds us of the words of the psalmist: “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning (Ps. 30:5).

The mystery of the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ assures us that no matter how dark a long night may be, there must be a succeeding dawn. Even when a succeeding day brings with it hefty rain and windstorm, there must come a day that wipes the dreary long hours with a beautiful sunshine. The testimony of the resurrection of Jesus conveys this unique hope. This awesome event guarantees us that dry bones shall rise again, as the Prophet Ezekiel prophesied (37). When this day comes, it will turn the sorrows of the past long dark hour into an untold joy. However, this day is reserved only for winners, not for quitters, like Judas Iscariot.

[Readings: Acts 2:36-41; Jn 20:11-18]

Fr. Venatius Oforka

Fr. Venatius Oforka

Fr. Venatius Chukwudum Oforka is a moral theologian. He was born in Nigeria and ordained a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Orlu. He is presently working in St. Martins parish, Oberstadion in Rottenburg-Stuttgart Diocese, Germany. Among his publications are The Bleeding Continent: How Africa became Impoverished and why it Remains Poor and The Art of Spiritual Warfare: The Secrete Weapons Satan can’t Withstand.

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