Many of us over the past days have felt a deep resonance with the gospel observation [in John 13:30] that when Judas left the room in which the disciples shared the Last Supper with Jesus, we are told “it was night.” Every time anyone turns their back on love, betrays the bonds of fellowship and steals from others, it is night! This is true for us in South Africa and indeed in so many, far too many, other parts of the world.
Our nightmare is similar to that under which the ancient Hebrews lived in tonight’s reading. In our case, while we aren’t being disadvantaged by colonial slavery any longer—and no matter what anyone says, colonialism was for most of us a form of slavery—while colonialism and apartheid are over, some of our institutions, part of our economy and some among our leaders have become slaves to a new form of colonial oppression. It is a moral and economic oppression that manifests itself in the form of one family’s capture of our country, and a president whose integrity, soul and heart have been compromised.
Yet, even as we survey this and the litany of other social pathologies that afflict our country and our world, we have in faith to say that even though it is absolutely true that darkness overwhelms us, the events at the tomb of Jesus on Easter Day signal a greater victory, a more abundant truth. At the heart of the message of the Resurrection of Jesus is the stubborn insistence that nothing is irrevocable. No betrayal is final. There is no loss that cannot be redeemed. It is never too late to start again. As John Shea reminds us: “What the Resurrection teaches us is not how to live but how to live again and again!”