An Easter Message for Myanmar

Sermon Preached By Cardinal Charles Maung Bo., Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar

Military to Stop Violence
Cardinal Bo © Vatican Media

Below is an Easter message for Myanmar from Cardinal Charles Maung Bo., Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar.


Let My Country Awake from the culture of Death towards the

Culture of Hopeful Resurrection.

Sermon Preached By Cardinal Charles Maung Bo., Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar

He has been raised. Let us Sing Hallelujah

What is the message of Easter to Myanmar today?

I take the risk of contextualizing the Easter message to all: to the Youth, to the army, the civil society, ethnic groups, and all religious groups. The Resurrection has two powerful symbols:

  • An empty grave opened.
  • A tortured and crucified Jesus resurrected in glory: knocking out the darkness.

These two are the Easter messages to my dear Myanmar.

  1. Let all the graves be opened: The plight of our nation for the last two years is sad. It buried more than 3000 during Covid. It buried more than 500 people in the coup. The coup is a shattering catastrophe. Dreams of our people became a nightmare. We have suffered 70 years. We thought democracy was the light – the prophecy of Isiah which said the people who have walked in darkness have seen the light! Let the dreams of democracy buried for the last two months in the graves of oppression be resurrected.
  2. The message of Resurrection: We see four contextual elements of Resurrection.
  3. Let us resurrect the situation before Feb 1 st coup. Let democracy be resurrected. End the coup as soon as possible. The world did not admit it. No amount of oppression can make our people accept it. 
  4. Let the civil government which was aborted and buried be resurrected and let the army return to barracks, respect people’s verdict – do not attack Myanmar citizens and kill them. 
  5. Let all hatred between ethnic groups and religions be buried forever, let a new Myanmar of peace, inclusiveness, concern for the vulnerable rise from the graves of historical hatred. Let every citizen share power and the resource.
  6. In the opened empty graves, bury the seven decades of totalitarianism. Let the last epitaph of coup be written on it. I urge all-powerful people, if Jesus the poor carpenter’s son can survive the Roman Empire, the struggle of our people will survive beyond their graves.   

These are the messages of Easter to those who are in power.

To those who protest: the feast of resurrection, Easter, has a very strong message:

I wish to articulate that message of peace and reconciliation, despite my hesitation. I know I could be unpopular. I follow Mother Teresa who said we are called not to be popular but to be faithful. I am not a politician; I am a religious leader; I am a follower of Jesus. My message springs from Jesus, who despite all the torture and pain inflicted on the way of the Cross, could say magnanimously from the Cross about his torturers:  Father forgive them; they do not know what they do. ( Luke 23: 34).

Yes. This provokes anger especially among the youth. . When roller coaster emotions crush, human beings seek vengeance. That is understandable. Jesus’ method is different. How did Jesus reconcile and saves us: just one way: by His Cross: Passion, death, and Resurrection: St Paul is candid  “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.” (1 Cor 1:23)

The message of the Bible is simple: reconciliation. Humanization of your enemy. Give him the benefit of love. One of the glorious verse in the Bible guide us:

God so loved the world that he sent in Son,

not to condemn but to redeem and reconcile.

As St Paul says: “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. (2 Cor 5:19) the world can never be redeemed by violence, but only through redemptive love.

Even as a strategy, the Youth of Myanmar must embrace nonviolence. More nonviolent struggles succeeded in the twentieth century than violent ones. They attract a large section of the population. It wins the admiration of the world. The message of the Cross is even your enemy needs liberation from his hatred, as much as you seek your own liberation from his brutal oppression. People must affirm that enduring message of the Cross.

The struggle so far has drawn huge support from all men and women of good will. Youth have proved to the world, when Evil asserts it must be resisted, even at the risk of losing life. In a poignant show of humanity, those who died young, donated their body and blood to the future of others, shaming cowards who celebrated every killing.

You are a great admiration. This is the path you need to follow. If you do not like the methods of the enemy, you cannot justify adopting his methods to resist him. Darkness can never be dispelled by darkness, only by light. Hate can never be dispelled by hate, only by love. Your struggle is not only for democracy but for humanity. As you struggle, you realized the shortcomings too: Our humanity was in hibernation when ethnic and religious minorities suffered in the past. This struggle has awakened a huge wave of humanity and fellowship among all people.

So, adopt nonviolent methods. Do not die unnecessarily. If you live long, democracy is strengthened, the evil is weakened. The enemy knows only one language: ruthless violence. Silence that language. He wants you to draw you into his violent turf, where he is powerful. Deny him that turf advantage. Defeat him with love, defeat him with humanity. That was the message of the Cross. That is the destiny of this nation. Let a new Myanmar of peace and prosperity rise from the grave of hatred and darkness.

Then all of us, Youth, Civil society, ethnic communities, all religions will join together and celebrate a new Easter of Resurrected Myanmar. In such a Myanmar, Jesus is risen! Let us Rejoice!

EXAUDI FEATURE: Myanmar’s Cardinal Bo Appeals for Non-violence Despite Brutality and Trauma