2013 Easter Message from Archbishop Charles Bo of the Yangon Catholic Archdiocese on the o
My esteemed brothers and Sisters in the rainbow nation of Myanmar,
To all of you, on behalf of all Christians, I
extend a very warm Easter Greetings. It is a ignificant feast for the
Christians. This feast is a feast of light of Goodness shining through darkness
of Evil. Christ who was crucified on the Cross and buried, resurrected and
brought hope. Easter
Christians celebrate forty days of lent – signifying three events in Bible. There are three ‘forty’s in Bible. A reflection on these forty days may be relevant to Myanmar of today. I am hopeful that we shall find a common theme in the message of Easter for our dear mother land.
1. The First forty Days : Human Suffering for forty years in the Book of Exodus
2. The Second
Forty Days : Jesus tested by agent of Evil in the Desert for forty days
1. The first Forty : Forty years in the Desert : In the book of Exodus in the Bible is the story of the Israelites spending 40 years in the desert. They were slaves in Egypt. God intervenes through prophet Moses. They were wandering in the desert for forty years. Human suffering was there in the desert. Conflict, betrayal, distrust, frustration and loss of faith were great problems among them. Selfishness took over and loss of concern for the poor and the vulnerable grew. Desert signifies a ruthless place devoid of all growth and joy of life. Those who were faithful and had belief in God’s plan reached the Promised Land.
Myanmar stands in such juncture. Past has not been perfect. Many types of slavery afflicted our people. Foreign intervention, Lack of opportunities for development, lack of understanding among communities, lack of sharing of resources, lack of appreciation of various cultures led many to torrid deserts of hatred, deserts of poverty, deserts of displacement, deserts of conflict, deserts of blood and hatred. A land once glorified as golden land turned into a land of want and hatred. Many of our people literally were on an exodus. As migrant workers in Thailand, Malaysia and other countries. All of us were looking for a promised land of peace and prosperity. Bible believes God always listens to the cry of the poor and the suffering people and sends prophets and liberators.
So the Message of Easter is very simple. After a time of suffering we, as people and nation, are to enter into a promised land. That Promised Land is a land of brotherhood of all communities. The promised land is land of karuna and Metta. Where mercy and compassion flows like a river towards our unfortunate brothers and sisters for whom life was not easy. We can make our land once again the Golden land, the land of promise of opportunity.
2. The second Forty of the Lent/Easter is about
Jesus and his forty days in the desert tested by the power of Evil. Christians
believe Jesus is the Son of God sent to deliver the humanity from all kinds of
bondage and lead us towards eternal reward of Bliss and Life in the happy land.
3.The Third Forty is about Hope. Christian lent
is not only about suffering and Sin. It is about hope. The followers of Christ
who witness the death of Jesus and his way of Cross were totally shattered. But
the news that Christ rose again energized them. Christ stayed with them for
Myanmar is in an era of hope. After a long night of silent tears there is a new dawn. We are a nation where seeds of hope are already sown. The parliament discusses various issues, the streets are full of news magazines with diverse views, peaceful negotiations for conflicts are used. Thousands and thousands of tourists are flocking to this country. We are in a dawn of hope. We are the fellow travelers in the journey of hope. That is the message of Easter. The book of Isaiah has a glorious verse: the people who have walked in Darkness have seen the light. The book of Revelation in Bible dreams of ‘ a new heaven and new earth’ where all tears will be wiped out and no more suffering on earth’. That dream is our dream. A Myanmar without natural or manmade disasters. God has blessed us with a land full of resources. We all can live happily, prosperity making this land really a Golden land. With mutual understanding among communities, sharing of resources, integrating justice and peace into our life and rebuilding our human resource we can be people blessed hundred times. Choose life, choose hope, chose a great future and that is possible. That is the core message of Easter.
Lent and Easter Today : Forty days Christian observe the Lent, the way of the Cross of Jesus and his crucification on the Cross. Christ died on a Friday – Good Friday. Those are historical events. Christians believe that Christ as the Savior died on the Cross for salvation and liberation of human beings. Christianity teaches us Christ is a living God, Immanuel, God with us. Where is this God today? Where is the God who carries the Cross, Where is the God who rose again, Where is that God who walked with the Israelites who were liberated from slavery?
Good Friday People : God is with us today. Lent is forty days for all of us. For many of our suffering people lent is 365 days and their way of the Cross is unending, their suffering is unending. All the suffering people, people without food, shelter, proper schooling, proper health are people of lent. They are the crucified people today. Poverty is a cross, powerlessness is a Cross, war is a cross, displacement is a cross. Christ suffering continues in our brothers and sisters. We need to recognize them and help them from their permanent lent and cross. For many of these people there is no Easter, there is no liberation, there is no light. Easter urges all of us to help in the new life for these unfortunate brothers and sisters in our dear mother land.
People of Exodus: Myanmar is the mother to all of
us. But all of us do not live in her protection today. Thousands are on their
exodus – away from their homeland. The IDPs, refugees, the migrants, the
Illegal migrants who went in search of better prospects and ended up in modern
forms of slavery are our own people on exodus. They need to come back to the
bosom of mother Myanmar. Everyone needs to return home. Easter is returning home,
going to the Promised land of peace, prosperity and human development for all/ People
of Hope: The longest night always ends in a dawn. Hope is the power of life.
Easter is the message of Hope. As the country turns a new page in her history,
every son and daughter of dear Mother Myanmar needs to generate hope. We are a
generation of hope. We learn from the past but do not return to the past. The
future is exciting, full of promises and full of hope. Hope gives power. When
Jesus died on the Cross his disciples were disheartened, frightened, frustrated
and even ran away. But when Jesus rose again and appeared to them, a new energy
sprang in their heart and a new dream pervaded their minds. They carried that
dream of love and fellowship to corners of the earth. They worked wonders. Hope
is a miracle maker. As people of Myanmar, we are entering into an era of hope.
Myanmar was once a land of promise to all the nations. It had its own Exodus,
its own way of
Archbishop Charles Bo