03/30/2024, 14.51
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Card Chow: Easter and hope in Hong Kong today

by Card Stephen Chow Sau-yan*

The bishop’s Easter message goes out to a city deeply marked in recent days by the approval of the new national security law. “May we experience the power of hope at this difficult time through mutual accompaniment, sharing of physical and spiritual resources, and a collective conviction for peace and unconditional dialogue paving the way for eventual healing and recovery!”

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – As we reported at length, Hong Kong has experienced great tensions in recent weeks, consequence of a new national security law approved unanimously and in a hurry by the local parliament on 19 March. Against a backdrop marked by great fears over further restrictions on freedom of expression, local Christian communities are preparing to experience Easter in the coming hours. Hence, it seemed important to us to relay the paschal message released to the diocese by Card Stephen Chow Sau-yan who – even in such difficult times – invites us to seek in the Risen One, who draws near the disciples of Emmaus, reasons and paths for hope in Hong Kong today.

Running away

Unlike the colourful, bright, and hope-filled Easter decors we see today the actual happenings surrounding the first Easter were likely not so bright and hopeful. Instead, confusion, profound disappointment and hopelessness were readily identifiable in the original Easter narratives. 

For example, the two disciples left Jerusalem for their hometown, Emmaus, with great disappointment in Jesus for failing to redeem Israel (Luke 24:21). Instead, he let himself be killed by the Romans. Since he proved to be a lost cause, they decided to leave his community. Why risk their welfare and lives for someone who had lost, and for a community so much identified with him?

Hearts ignited with a passion

The two disciples’ decision of leaving probably sounds sensible to those who do not know or embrace the Christian faith. But for us Christians, we know that it was not the end of their story. The risen Lord appeared to them on their way to their hometown without being recognised. Having walked with them, explained why their dear teacher was their expected Messiah, and reminded them of the last supper with him, they could feel their hearts were once again ignited with a passion for their Lord. 

What they decided to do was to return to the troubling and disappointing Jerusalem, and re-connect with the faith community of Jesus, still dazzled with disbelief, joy, and confusion over the news of their risen Lord. That was too good to be true. Who would believe this outcome, which was totally illogical and beyond expectation?! But this was exactly the experience of the resurrection of their Lord, the first Easter! 

Believing in the power of goodness 

So, when we celebrate Easter, we do not celebrate a mundane Spring festival. For if the surprise was something that could be anticipated, it would not be a surprise at all. And God is telling us, as God did over 2000 years ago outside Jerusalem, that no evil power could stop God from raising life from death, hope from despair, and justice over injustice. What is needed is our faith in the triumph of good over evil in due course, following God’s omniscient plan.

Courage to return

Besides believing, our willingness to return to the troubling spots with the implanted hope in our hearts is equally significant. The same hope in the God of life and love who cannot be defeated by any worldly plots. God has raised Jesus from the dead, Alleluia! When we have this hope operating from our hearts, we may have the power to accompany those who are dejected or doubtful of goodness in their lives and their perceived world. The two disciples decided to return to Jerusalem to accompany their troubled community, knowing that they were facing definite threats at the same time. 

The power of supporting each other with meagre resources

We probably are aware of the Chinese idiom “相濡以沫” which is about two fish struggling in a drying-up puddle, while trying to keep each other alive and moistened by spitting on each other’s bodies. Then it seemed that the heaven was moved, and rain started pouring down once again, saving the two fish from peril. 

When we are faced with a world deeply hurt by self-righteous ideologies and wars with widened ripple effects, or a weakened local economy that is struggling to recover, or some dominant socio-political narratives that do not seem at all hope-yielding, we can still accompany each other with our meagre resources, so that all of us can stay alive while waiting for the rain and salvation to arrive. Never underestimate the power of sharing meagre resources with goodwill and hope.

After all, for those of us, seated in the same boat sailing over a challenging sea, we can have each other to count on, besides the God of life and love. And our faith tells us that God is always with us, blessing us through different people and means, particularly those we least expect. Maybe if we remain open to surprises, then we can stay hopeful. Otherwise, life and the future will be dull and boring if we only allow our envisaged possibilities to come into the picture.

Be the stranger who brings hope

When the disciples looked at the death of their teacher, their initial reactions were great disappointment and possibly anger while feeling cheated. However, when they opened their minds and listened to that seemingly stranger walking with them (Luke 24:15), their hearts warmed up with energy and hope, starting to replace disappointment and resentment that were disturbing them. 

Can we be that ‘stranger’ to others, sharing our reasons to remain in hope and our meagre resources with them? How can we provide hope to those suffering under a weak economy or different forms of injustice and marginalisation through our accompaniment, collective efforts, and trust in the power of collaborative goodwill? I believe God will multiply whatever meagre provisions are provided out of goodwill so that more can be fed, like the miracle of feeding the multitude with only two fish and five loaves (Matthew 14:13-21).

May we experience the power of hope at this difficult time through mutual accompaniment, sharing of physical and spiritual resources, and a collective conviction for peace and unconditional dialogue paving the way for eventual healing and recovery!

A happy and hope-filled Easter to you all!

*Bishop of Hong Kong

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See also
Bishop Chow: The national security law must define clear boundaries
16/11/2022 16:28
Mgr Chow’s coat of arms includes the Tsing-Ma bridge and a ‘far-reaching’ giraffe
08/10/2021 16:01
Where there is the Risen One, there is freedom
31/03/2024 01:05
Bishop Li Shan of Beijing begins Hong Kong visit
13/11/2023 15:15
Pope thanks Chinese Catholics for their faith even in the time of the pandemic (VIDEO)
22/03/2022 18:37


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