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DateLine Sunday, 23 March 2008

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Reconciliation and Peace

The feast of Easter is the most important feast in the Liturgical calendar. All other liturgical feasts, including Christmas, are focused towards this and get their meaning from Easter.

St. Paul put this succinctly when he wrote that "If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain" (1 Cor 15:14) In this feast we commemorate Our Lord's rising from the dead. And this is the basic tenet of our faith.

While we believe in the fact that Christ rose from the dead we also see that his suffering and death were the price He had to pay for his bold and courageous proclamation of the truth.

All those who were against him were those who had their own ambitions and agendas for wealth and power. They were all who sought their own selfish ends and not the truth or the Kingdom values. But all their conspiracies failed when finally their own act of treachery and murder resulted in the Lord's glorious resurrection. If Christ had not been killed he would not have risen from the dead!

This same scene is enacted in our own lives especially when we uphold moral standards and work for what is true, just and right. In the present context of our society we see a blatant rejection of moral and ethical values and might being glorified as right.

Undoubtedly this is a moment of challenge for all those who call themselves Christians and profess to be disciples of Jesus Christ. It calls for a strong commitment on their part to suffer the agony as Christ did, so that the truth may ultimately and surely triumph.

This year again the feast of Easter and the Sinhala and Tamil New Year come at a time when the nation is engaged in a war that is causing the death of hundreds of people and injuring thousands of others in our own native land.

Much as we engage in religious and national celebrations we cannot forget this stark reality that, besides its human carnage, is causing serious economic and moral damage to our people. The serious destruction of human life and the collapse of the law and order situation should attract the attention of everyone with an iota of love for the country.

In the backdrop of this unfortunate situation the forthcoming feast of Easter and the Sinhala /Tamil New Year should be exploited to the full to bring in the element of reconciliation and peace which both these celebrations signify.

The story of Easter is a story of Christ's passion, death and resurrection. In the context of all these events it becomes essentially a story of reconciliation. It is the story of reconciliation between God and man, between the offender and the offended.

And this reconciliation is brought about by pardon and forgiveness . Christ's victory over death is not a result of an attitude of "an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth".

Rather it is the far more divine and humane attitude of "Forgive them for they do not know what they do."

The Sinhala /Tamil New Year is similarly a moment of social integration when people return to each other to restore old friendships seeking forgiveness or granting pardon with a commitment to begin new lives.

In the light of the above we should explore every possibility of making these two celebrations instruments of promoting reconciliation and peace.

It is important for us to remember that war, however successfully carried out, is not the final answer to the problems we face. We need to foster goodwill, trust and confidence among all the people in this country and make every group feel that Sri Lanka is the happy home of every citizen who has a right to live here.

The more we emphasize our differences the greater will be our division. And division will bring us defeat as has been effectively proved at the arrival of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British.

It is my firm hope that Easter will surface the sentiment of forgiveness and reconciliation. Similarly may the New Year celebrations help foster ethnic harmony so that we will all be one family living in peace and moving progressively towards prosperity.

Alleluia! May the blessings of the Risen Christ be yours in abundance.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas
www.stanthonyshrinekochchikade.org
www.srilankans.com
www.army.lk
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www.defence.lk
www.helpheroes.lk/
www.peaceinsrilanka.org
 

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