03/27/2013, 00.00
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Archbishop of Yangon: Easter, a "message of hope" for all Myanmar

by Francis Khoo Thwe
In his message for the holidays, Msgr. Bo invites to the faithful to forget the " imperfect past " because "seeds of hope have been sown." Like the Israelites in the desert, the people of Burma have suffered but the risen Christ is the source of confidence. The population must overcome the self-destructing instinct, to reconstruct the golden land. Thoughts for the Burmese diaspora.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - Just as Christ's resurrection revived and gave "a new energy" to the hearts his disciples, so "the people of Myanmar," after "soothing the wounds" of a dark past, must now entering an "era of hope". A message to inspire confidence, unity and peace has been circulated by Msgr. Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, to Myanmar's Catholics this Easter. The prelate recounts the suffering of the people of Israel, who wandered for 40 years waiting for the promised land, the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, his death on the cross and the "hope of the resurrection." He advances a parallel with the suffering of the Burmese people, who must leave behind an " imperfect past " to look to the future with the confidence that "seeds of hope have been sown."

The Archbishop of Yangon observes that the period of Lent has three different aspects: the suffering of the people of Israel told in the book of Exodus, the 40 days of Jesus in the desert, and the power of hope that comes from the Lord's Resurrection. The sufferings of the Israelites, Msgr. Bo, says is derived from "conflict, betrayal, mistrust, frustration and loss," lived in a "ruthless" reality. For many years Myanmar has found itself in a "similar situation", so that "a land once called golden became a place of hate." "After a long period of suffering - he continues - we, as a nation, are entering a promised land, a land of brotherhood." "We can bring it back once again to the glories of the golden land, the land of promise of opportunity".

The suffering of the people of Israel, are added to the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert subjected to various temptations: power, wealth and glory. Because men "can be transformed into animals, if they give in to their instincts." Through fasting and meditation, said the archbishop, "we can defeat this instinct for self-destruction" and "cleanse" ourselves while waiting for the grace of the resurrection.

Finally, there is the message of "hope" that is contained in Christian Lent - a tradition neither Muslims (Ramadan) nor Buddhist's are unfamiliar with - because it "is not only sin and suffering, but it is an invitation to hope." "The news of the risen Christ - explains Msgr. Bo - is a source of energy" for the disciples of the past, as today's faithful and "an encouragement in life and mission" for all. " Choose life, choose hope, chose a great future and that is possible.  That is the core message of Easter.. "We have to leave behind the wounds of the past and the memories that still hurt."

Concluding, the Archbishop of Yangon addresses his thoughts to the Burmese diaspora, refugees and migrants who in the past decades have had to leave Myanmar because victims of persecution, or out of a simple desire to seek a better future abroad. "Myanmar is mother to us all - he notes - but not all of us live today under her protection. ... There are thousands of exiled refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), migrants in search of better prospects." They must return home, Easter "is a homecoming, an entrance into the promised land of peace, prosperity and development." " We learn from the past but do not return to the past.," says Msgr. Bo. The future is exciting, full of promises and full of hope" the risen Jesus has restored confidence in the hearts of the faithful ", so" we, the people of Myanmar, we enter an era of hope. "


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