Christians in Seychelles join others around the world to celebrate Easter on Sunday in their traditional ways, unlike these past three years when there were restrictions on gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In wishing believers a Happy Easter, the leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese, Bishop Alain Harel, and Archbishop James Wong of the Anglican Diocese, bring a message of hope for the resurrection of the social body of Seychelles and hope to face the uncertainties of the world.
Harel said on Good Friday, “Many of us were at the foot of the Cross, contemplating, with emotion, Jesus crucified, Jesus disfigured, Jesus drawn and quartered. We were also tempted to look away. This mutilated man, hanging on a cross, calls out to us, because it brings us back to a burning issue.”
He said that the “crucifixion of Jesus reminds us of the suffering of so many Seychellois brothers and sisters alienated from their humanity by destructive forces. Yes, the crucifixion of Jesus continues through these 10,000 Seychellois enslaved to cocaine, crack and synthetic drugs.”
|Roman Catholic Diocese, Bishop Alain Harel. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
The Roman Catholic Bishop spoke about the BBC programme that covered the scourge of drugs in Seychelles and how this dramatic documentary is playing out live in so many families, cantons, and even schools in Seychelles.
He said that many citizens move forward as if in a thick fog and find it difficult to distinguish between right and wrong, between what is permitted and what is forbidden, but even more so to give themselves a goal, an ideal in life.
Harel asked if like all the people went away after witnessing the killing of Jesus, “will we also be content to watch, as passive witnesses, what is happening in our society, even if it means beating our chests afterwards? In conscience, we cannot live in denial because it is the Seychellois society as a whole that is pierced, just like Jesus on the Cross.”
He said that “this moral, health and demographic crisis should challenge us, disturb us and make us react and that God elicits our cooperation to free us from what shackles us, from what hurts us deeply – body and soul.”
This can be done by “allowing ourselves to be accompanied and guided by the risen Jesus, let us look reality in the face with courage,” said Harel.
He said every branch of the government and all institutions should have as their sole objective the common good of the Seychellois society.
“Thus, we are all called upon to pool our energies and our will to protect society from the scourges that affect us. […] Families and all of us must better shoulder our responsibilities. To educate means to grow,” he said.
“As we go through the desert following Jesus, let us go up to Golgotha. With and following Jesus, let us come out of our graves so that we may be freer, more united, and more fraternal. With and through the life-giving power of God, let us become what we are called to be, from before the foundation of the world, that is, sons and daughters of God through Jesus Christ. On this feast of Easter, let us pray to the Lord for the resurrection of the social body of Seychelles. This is our Hope,” said Harel.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Wong said that the immeasurable power of God flowed into Jesus’ dead body and raised Him from the dark tomb and there is no better news for us than this.
Wong spoke about the graffities on the walls and doors of two church buildings in Port Glaud and Anse Royale and ask believers to pray for God’s forgiveness on those who wrote these words on these churches.
He said he believes in what Jürgen Moltmann, a professor of systematic theology, once wrote; “Totally without hope one cannot live. To live without hope is to cease to live.”
|Archbishop James Wong of the Anglican Diocese. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“I believe there is a great deal of truth in those words. In the difficult and often confusing world in which we live today, hope, for many people, is something that seems to be in short supply. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that in a world of pain, grief and sorrow, of complex family relationships, of problems at work – alongside many other hardships of life causing sadness, loneliness and depression – hope, for many people, has died a death,” said Wong.
He added that hope is “one of the key Christian attributes and one of the most important gifts we can give to the world today. Nothing brings hope back to life like the resurrection of Jesus. The Easter message gives us hope in a bewildering world and hope to face the uncertainties of the future. This special day never arrives without its refreshing reminder that there is life beyond this one: True life, eternal life, glorious life.”
“This hope can be with us in every moment of our life. Believe in the mighty power of God that defeats the enemy, changes circumstances, heals sick bodies and enables us to stand strong through the storms of life. And this power is available to us in unlimited supply. […] My dear brethren, may the miracle of Easter bring you hope, peace, renewed faith, and comfort. God bless you, and may you have a beautiful Easter,” said Wong.