Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Yangon in his Easter message invited Christians and all men of good will in Myanmar to be promoters of reconciliation.
The prelate said that the key message of the Resurrection is reconciliation. "In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, and He gave us the ministry of reconciliation. God was in Christ and through Him embraced the whole world."
The people of Myanmar were "for 50 long years, a crucified nation, nailed to a cross of suffering, injustice and oppression," the message said.
Archbishop Bo pointed out the new democratic season, the new freedom of opinion and expression and the new openness to civil society as reasons for hope, calling them "signs of the resurrection". "We hope and pray that it is not an illusory dawn." He listed the "nails" that can throw darkness on the hopes of new Myanmar, which include land grabbing, religious hatred fomented by fascist groups, economic neo-liberalism, the continuing conflicts in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities and refugees.
This year, the Christian Holy Week is in conjunction with the Buddhist Thingyan festival – the Water Festival, a time of reconciliation, brotherhood and celebrations throughout the country.
The Archbishop also hoped that every believer can experience reconciliation within families, between the different communities of the country – still marked by conflict and suffering, and reconciliation with creation itself, in a nation "blessed with vast natural resources". "Christ reminds us of our great responsibility to forgive especially those who have sinned against us," said the message, "there can be no reconciliation without genuine forgiveness."
In his message, Archbishop Bo also became an ambassador and supporter of a new campaign called ‘Words like flowers’ launched on social media by a Burmese blogger Nay Phone Latt to oppose the hate speech disseminated by groups promoting religious extremism.
"The destiny of our great nation is unity in diversity, which ensures a future of peace and prosperity," the message concluded.