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Sunday, 31 March 2013





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Easter heralds a culture of life

It is the firm faith of the Christian religion that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, victimised on a Roman cross by the religious authorities who rose against him, has risen from the dead. He is no ghost or phantom. He is alive and real. Many of His chosen disciples did see Him, shared meals with Him and had Him as a companion on their later journeys. This is the witness of the Christian Holy Scriptures which carry these poignant accounts in the Gospels.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Christianity took off from this basic and radical faith. The early protagonists proclaimed this truth at the risk of their own lives. In fact, most of them were martyred. For the sake of their faith, many were indeed ready to sell their material possessions, to share all things in common and care for the needs of the poor.

Communism thus appeared in its rudimentary form in the earliest Christian communities in Palestine and later, in the mighty cosmopolitan centres of the Greco - Roman Empire, such as Rome and Athens. Thus, Easter which is the annual festival of the Risen Christ, heralded a culture of life and pioneered a civilisation based on love for mankind.

Human life at risk today

Today, human life is at risk in many ways: On the highways because of the ever speeding traffic, in the neighbourhood because of quarrels and misunderstandings, in public life because of violence, out in the open because of natural disasters and calamities and due to killer-diseases such as cancer, heart-ailments and HIV-AIDS. To many who are pessimists, only death and destruction meet their eye on the horizons.

Prophets of doom decry the litanies of possible catastrophes and dangers, engendering a mindset of gloom and despair. There seems to be no counter-winner against death to which every human being will finally succumb, turning to dust from which he emerged! Violence against life in principle, ideologically through legislation in favour of abortion and violence against human dignity and lives of people, are on an alarming increase.

Though physical death is the natural end to life, whatever way it comes, it is to the dismay of every right-thinking person and of enlightened moral conscience that violence against life keeps surging in our society today. Jesus of Nazareth was a victim of such a deplorable situation resulting from public sentiment wrongly manipulated and verdicts being unjustly pronounced. In addition, a lot of social pressure from power-blocs including the highest religious authority was arrayed against Him. Human life in general, the safety of ethnic and minority groups, that of the poor and marginalised and even that of nations, face multiple forms of dangers and threats. Unfortunately, their laments and pleas are not heard loud enough by civilised people and civil society. It is true that concerns of national security and inner stability require a certain amount of surveillance and vigilance.

Yet, exaggerated fear and vested interests can ignite a pathological preoccupation that leads to taking potentially dangerous means to ensure safety. One could be led to think falsely that being armed to the teeth can be an effective deterrent against security threats and attacks.

It will be frightening to live on a planet filled with nations flexing their nuclear muscles, though we are assured that they are for peaceful purposes of development and technological advancement.

We have come to a moment of mankind’s history when such assurances can be honestly put in doubt, on a global level. Nuclear technology runs its own risks of danger and tragedy as evidenced in Chernobyl of Russia, recently in India and in Japan.

World pressure on countries striving to acquire nuclear capability is mounting precisely because of the dangers involved in nuclear armament and proliferation. Only the United Nations can, at international level, monitor this situation of a global nuclear environment. The planning, manufacture, sale, deployment and use of nuclear weapons have to be frowned upon as wanting in international justice and our responsibility vis-ŕ-vis humanity.

Three other specific dangers are concurrently putting human life and social peace in peril. They are abortion, euthanasia and terminal diseases. In the Christian perspective and understanding, every effort must be made and strategies deployed to arrest these trends that render us restless and instil a sense of fear. Terminal diseases such as cancer, HIV-AIDS and terminal heart disease should be left at the door of medical expertise, competence and skill to deal with.

Humanity still yearns for preventive measures, which for sure, is a better remedy to tide over these worldwide health hazards. It is true that there is a complexity of moral and psycho-social issues allied to these problems. The violence of war and its disastrous aftermath have to be condemned in the name of every religion and human civilisation. It is estimated that when contrasted with early civil wars and the two World Wars gone by, the victims today are the unarmed and innocent civilians who are killed and maimed in their thousands when wars and conflicts are unleashed.

To this must be added the tragedies of displaced persons who end up in makeshift camps, some of whom are destined to linger and languish for years. Thus, life and the joy of living are snuffed out of these unfortunates who are victims of circumstances beyond their control. In our country, we have beheld this drama of death, untold suffering and destruction that was the fall-out of a protracted battle against terrorism. The widows and the orphans, destruction of property, life and limb have been frighteningly real and shocking. Urgent measures to create a just society and the lessons learnt from this pitiable national calamity should prove a strong deterrent to avoid such curses overtaking our motherland.

Jesus Christ said things that were hard to bear for the self-righteous religious leaders and those in seats of power as Pilate, Herod in his own country and Caesar in Rome. Pilate alarmingly did not even know what “truth” was. When told by Jesus, the teacher from Galilee who faced him already scourged and crowned with thorns what it was, he turned his back on it and sneered, washing hands off the crime of innocent blood that was soon to be shed by his victim.

Herod, the curious regent cunning as he was, happened to be called a fox by Christ, for he had held the carpenter’s son from Nazareth as an object of ridicule and desired to have miracles performed as his magicians would do. God and mammon were clearly counter-posed when Jesus declared that what is Caesar’s should be given to him and to God, the things that are God’s.

In His Sermon on the Mount, considered by religious authors as a classic in spirituality, He declared as a beatitude that the poor are blessed for the blessings of the Kingdom of God are reserved to them. Conversely, it would be hard for a rich man to enter God’s kingdom though a camel might succeed passing through an eye of a needle!

Social transformation

Christ taught that God and mammon (understood as relentless pursuit of material goods and greed for money and possessions) are in opposite camps. God is on the side of the poor against the mammon. He heals the sick of bodily diseases, brings solace to troubled and depressed minds and is open to all without distinction of social class, ethnic differences and even gender-based factors that ostracise men and women.

Saul, the die-hard Pharisee glued to his rigid and legalistic religious traditions, after his conversion, became Paul the evangeliser, the greatest protagonist of the new religion taught by Jesus. The third day after Jesus Christ was harassed and killed, He rose again and proved that the final enemy of man which is death is finally overcome. Sin too which is at bottom the cause of death, had been vanquished. Men and women, by living in the spirit not giving in to the desires of the flesh and all other material forms of greed, loving God and open in solidarity with the neighbour can now embark on nobler pathways of life.

Love conquers all

Love conquers all. “Greater love than this, no man hath” Christ said, “that he lays down his life for his friends”. His death, therefore, is a source of liberation for mankind.

All oppression based on the abuse of powers-that-be and mass-illusions diffused against the truth are now rendered powerless. Only truth and love will open the true doors to real and lasting happiness and peace in the world. Ever since this man from Nazareth entered the scene, this has been the witness of history for the past 2,000 years.

The great emperors and kings of his time have come and gone like any other who followed ever since to our day. But, this carpenter’s son from the unknown village of Nazareth in the Galilee of old, the Eternal Galilean, lives on in the hearts of millions to this day who look up to Him as their supreme guru, liberator, Saviour and God. As Phillip Schaff (1819-1893), the Swiss-born Church historian wrote: “This man Jesus without money and arms conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar and Napoleon.

“Without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and things divine than all philosophers and scholars combined. Without the eloquence of schools, He spoke such Words of Life, as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of the orator or poet. Without writing a single line, He set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art and songs of praise, than the whole phalanx of great men of ancient and modern times”.

The earth itself we live in can be compared to a table laying out an exquisite banquet open to all. How do we sit at this table? The light of Easter is an eclipse of death and suffering. A veritable prism glowing with hope, Easter, therefore, is a clarion call to dismantle the culture of death with its aggressive violations against life. Walking in the light of Easter, modern man too must rise again to his noblest ideals.


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