An Easter message from our Regional Director

On the 4th April Christian Churches all over the world will celebrate Easter Sunday. In the words of Pope Francis, "Jesus Christ is risen! Love has triumphed over hatred, life has conquered death, and light has dispelled the darkness!"

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Out of love for us, God exalted Him and made Him Lord of the universe. By His death and resurrection, Jesus shows everyone the way to life and happiness: this way is humility, which involves humiliation. This is the path which leads to glory. Only those who humble themselves can go towards the “things that are above”, towards God (cf. Col 3:1-4).

On Easter morning, alerted by the women, Peter and John ran to the tomb. They found it open and empty. Then they drew near and “bent down” in order to enter it. To enter into the mystery, we need to ‘bend down’, to abase ourselves. Only those who abase themselves understand the glorification of Jesus and are able to follow him on his way.

But Christians, by the grace of Christ, dead and risen, are the seeds of another humanity, in which we seek to live in service to one another, not to be arrogant, but rather respectful and ready to help.

From the risen Lord we ask the grace not to succumb to the pride which fuels violence and war, but to have the humble courage of pardon and peace. We ask Jesus, the Victor over death, to lighten the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted for His name, and of all those who suffer injustice as a result of on-going conflicts and violence.

We ask for peace, above all, at this time for Tigre in Northern Ethiopia. In recent days we have all heard of the atrocities committed by the soldiers there who have embarked on a bloodthirsty campaign of torture and death, especially against the women there who are subjected to rape and torture as an instrument of war.  Let us pray for Syria and Iraq, where Pope Francis recently visited. We pray that the roar of arms may cease, and that peaceful relations may be restored and that the international community doesn’t stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding in these countries and the drama of the numerous refugees.

May we pray for peace for all the peoples of the Holy Land. May the culture of encounter grow between Israelis and Palestinians and the peace process be resumed, in order to end years of suffering and division.

Let us ask for peace and freedom for the many men and women subject to old and new forms of enslavement on the part of criminal individuals and groups. We ask too, for peace and liberty for the victims of drug dealers and traffickers, who are often allied with the powers who ought to defend peace and harmony in the human family. We hope for peace for this world, subjected to arms dealers.

Besides this, we ask for peace in our own hearts so that we may be able, in our own lives, to irradiate the joy and hope of the Resurrection. We pray for the marginalized, the imprisoned, the poor and the migrants who are so often rejected, maltreated and discarded. We pray for the sick and the suffering, children – especially those who are victims of violence and all who today are in mourning. May they all hear the consoling voice of the Lord Jesus: “Peace to you!” (Lk 24:36). “Fear not, for I am risen and I shall always be with you”

Happy Easter to you all.

Peter Hughes. Regional Director