Below is the Easter message of Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon (Myanmar), which His Eminence has provided to ZENIT:
Easter Message 2019
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo., DD.,SDB
Archbishop of Yangon – Myanmar
Friends in the loving, living and liberating Lord,
Blessings and Joy of the Great Easter. The darkness gives way to light, the Empty tomb proclaims love is stronger than Death.
To Each one of you, My warmest greetings of this season of Hope. Christ is risen. Hold your hands up high and say Hallelujah! Christ is the light – Lumen Christi. As the Easter Vigil proclaims – he is the alpha and omega, he is the Light of the World.
This year a film is made with the name “Mary Magdalene” – a feminist view of Jesus life and mission. The film portrays her as the apostle of Resurrection. Mary Magdalene her life, and her example, tells us what it means to follow in the way of Jesus, in the Way of Love. Jesus walked through the way of the Cross; Mary Magdalene walked the way of Resurrection through the way of Love.
She inspires us: Believe! Be Faithful! Fall in Love, Stay in Love.
Men who followed Jesus did not have the same faith as this simple woman. John’s Gospel says in the 20th chapter, early in the morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene and some of the other women went to the tomb.
“They went to the tomb when it didn’t make any sense. They went to the tomb when the evidence was against them. Jesus was dead. They knew that. The power of the Empire had crushed the hope of love. They knew that. And they got up in the morning and went to the tomb anyhow”.
Because Jesus was the Light of Love enshrined in their hearts as eternal hope. Love, they know, is stronger than death. (Song of Songs 8:6) So they went to the tomb anyhow.
Being Faithful is more important than being Successful, says Mother Teresa… For those who are faithful, failure perishes. And Mary Magdalene encounters the eternal light, darkness dissipates, death dissolves. Hallelujah!
“But when she went to the grave, John’s Gospel says it was dark. It was dark. That’s not just the time of day in John’s Gospel. The darkness in John is the domain of evil. The darkness is the domain of wrong, of hatred, of bigotry, of violence, of injustice, of oppression, the domain of sin and death and horror.” Mary Magdalene went when it ‘was still dark’.
We are’ still in dark”. In personal life, in the Family, in our country. “Still in dark”. Easter tells us the longest night has a sober dawn; even the suffocating evil has an expiry date. God is in charge. Easter urges us:
- From Darkness to light
- From Death to resurrection to life.
We wish to see Easter 2019 at three levels:
- Personal lives: Death has a dark romance with us. The seduction of sin tastes sweet before it destroys us. Hopeless men and women make their bodies mobile graves. Sin suffocates us and enslaves us. The animal in us takes over in our moments of darkness. Let the hopeless bones in us rise up to the splendor of grace in this season of hope. Let the darkness of Sin be expelled by the enchanting power of Love. For “you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life,but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19) Identify the graves that entomb us every day: despair, anger, jealousy, debilitating habits, mutilating prejudices, gripping vices and grotesque illusions. Roll down the stones and be born again into grace.
- Family Lives: God engaged with a family in the beginning, not with a state, not a company. Christian God lives in a Trinitarian Family. The biggest threat to humanity is not nuclear bombs, but the emerging threat to the integrity of family. Death of family is the incremental death of humanity. In many countries, families are dying or recast as unnatural unions. Divorces are becoming norms. Even those families that are intact face great challenges from social media: internet connects gadgets but they fail to connect the hearts. Smart Phones have become the digital graves to the young generation. Encounter across the generation is diluted. Families need to be born again from the graves of lifelessness. We pray that the grace of resurrection may penetrate the walls of ego in families. We pray for families that are displaced, families that had their children trafficked, families who are under great stress.
- Lives of our Country: This great nation, blessed by God with all resources, had a long way of the Cross. The people remained Good Friday people without any hope of Easter. Now there is democracy. But many people our country is still in Holy Saturday. The silence of hope. Waiting for a better tomorrow. Let this Easter be period of Grace for our Country leaders, the army and all others. Let us roll the stones from the graves of enmity, war, displacement, poverty and unsafe migration and rise up to a new nation of hope and prosperity. Let the Easter of 2019 be the resurrection year for our nation. Pray for the showers of blessings.
- Roll down the five stones: As the angel roll down the stones to bring the news of resurrection, Myanmar urgently needs to roll down five stones. Church has already planned to work for a new dawn through working for the following five major needs :
- Quality Education – investing in the people of Myanmar
- Integral development of our people especially poor and the needy.
- Women development: Special attention to the women, specially girls and women at risk of exploitation
- Indigenous rights and right to land and livelihood with special attention to spread of Laudato Si.
- Inter religious initiatives for peace.
Many a visitor to this country has commented that this is the virtual Eden Garden – with all resources, especially the wonderful human resource. But poverty and oppression made this a virtual grave for thousands of people.
Let us roll down the stones of hopelessness and conflict from this country. Hope is great power. Darkness never wins. Christ is the light, lumen Christi.
Let the faith in Jesus make us to see the power of resurrection in our lives. Always remember Mary Magdalene : She went when it was STILL Dark the Grave.
And Resurrection Happened through that suffocating darkness. Hallelujah! Let the same light shine on each one of us, on our family, on our dear Country.[Text of Message provided by Cardinal Bo to Zenit’s Deborah Lubov]