HAPPY EASTER TO ALL – The Easter Message of Archbishop Charles Bo, Yangon, Myanmar
Easter breaks forth like a dawn. Its message is soaked in hope. Even the longest night ends in dawn. Every human suffering has an expiry date. The beacon of human journey is hope. Today we celebrate that hope in the Easter Season. Life is not an empty dream. Christ is the life. I am the way, the truth and the life says Jesus. We affirm that hope of a living God, the Emmanuel in our lives today.
For those of us in Myanmar, resurrection is not just a dogma or an act of faith. We went through our way of the Cross for the last five decades. Our way of the Cross did not end in a day, it stretched to 50 long, cruel years. A nation was crucified and left to hang on the cross of inhumanity! Yes. How excruciating pain this nation has went through! As darkness of inhumanity engulfed this innocent nation in the sixties, the sons and daughters of this rainbow nation were nailed to a cross of injustice. A cross where the five nails of –
were brutally inflicted by men who were agents of darkness
The Roman Empire was rattled by the stories and the Good News of a roaming preacher, Jesus and chose to nail him on the cross. Similar fate awaited thousands of our young men and women who asked for a ‘morsel of justice’. Hundreds died on the cross. Conflict welded with injustice and made this nation a virtual hell. We were a Good Friday people, without a hope of Holy Saturday and Easter was a distant dream.
But there are streaks of hope in this nation today. As streaks of hope breaks through this nation, we need to look back and say, ‘ the Lord has done marvels for us. Blessed be his name'(Lk 1:40). A leadership that is willing to experiment with an incremental democracy, a parliament where diverse views are debated, a media that is becoming bolder and more vibrant, greater openness to civil society – all point to an strutting dawn of hope in this nation. We feel the signs of resurrection. Hope is nurtured in the hearts of thousands who await their date with destiny.
We hope and pray that this is not a false dawn. We were used to false dawns in this nation. A nagging feeling rips our hearts as we see powers of darkness compete today with the paths of hope in a new Myanmar. There are signs of new crucifixion with five new nails:
1. Land grabbing by the cronies and the companies,
2. Collective religious hatred fanned by the fire of hate speech by neo Nazi movements,
3. The arrogant march of a heartless neo liberal economy,
4. Continued conflict and displacement in ethnic community areas and
5. A sinister ‘sentir’ economy that favours the rich and the powerful
Nails seemed to be getting ready. Who is the victim? Who is the lamb to be slaughtered?
Are we searching in the tomb resurrection or in the first steps of yet another anguished way to another Calvary? Is the new Myanmar pregnant with hope conceived through the sacrifices of thousands or is
there a miscarriage of justice? We are in the birth pangs of a new nation as the Easter dawns on us.
These unsettling questions can provoke darkness at the noon time in this nation!
…But we are the Easter People
We invest in hope. We invest in the goodness of the people of Myanmar. We invest in a young nation, with 40 percent population below the age of 25 years, filled with dreams and impatient to take their overdue place on the world stage. How to avoid yet another false dawn in this nation? The path shown by Jesus is the only way. That is the path of reconciliation. The core message of Resurrection is reconciliation. The hope that swells in the heart of every citizen needs to be cemented through reconciliation. Reconciliation is the core message of Christianity.
“God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself and has given us the ministry of reconciliation” Christians have a special duty for reconciliation. Easter bestows on each one of us to carry on this message of reconciliation. St Paul says “God gave us the ministry of reconciliation” ( 2 Cor 5:18 The whole message of reconciliation is cantered around the love of God and the death of Christ. Paul reminds us that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” ( Rom 5:8 ) We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation ( Rom 5:11)
Read also in NEWS: “Call for an Easter of Reconciliation” by Archbishop Bo