Celebrate Easter in a special way this Lenten Season

 

The Lenten season is prayer and conversion, listening and fasting, solidarity and care. It ends with the celebration of Easter, which is peace, reconciliation and life. These can’t be mere words. 

 

Everything must be seen as routed in daily life. Raise your eyes and see how the world looks around you. You will realize that a lot of people “fast” every day, not only during the Lenten season. Food and resources for them are scarce or out of reach. No job or poor salary. Others are sick and medicines are not available. Health centres are miles and hours away at time in rural areas. Child birth is a considerable risk. Our schools are unable to accommodate all the young people. Or when desks are available, money is not there for school fees and bus fare. At times study courses and job opportunities are denied to the most deserving due to nepotism and bribery. The only material thing we should really fast from –alcohol – is rather produced, distributed and consumed without restraint. Other social evils also catch our attention almost on a daily basis. Media have recently reported on numerous cases of domestic child abuse. Fortunately, some have reached the courts and the culprits are behind bars. Neglect of children and youth by irresponsible parents is alarming and compounds with poverty and precarious living conditions.

 

Paradoxically some may have partially abstained from food during the Lenten season in order to just drop a few pounds. Nothing wrong. Just hope that fasting is always coupled with works of solidarity, justice and charity. See the poor in the streets. Help some students who find it hard to stay in school. Visit the sick at the hospital. If you leave in Manus or Port Moresby befriend those foreigners, we call refugees or asylum seekers. They have been sent to our country and detained in order to discourage others from irregularly reaching Australia by boat. After six years they are still waiting to know their future. A number of them have lost their mental stability. The physical and psychological scars will be hard to heal. They all come from troubled countries such as Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka. They have suffered back home, then on the long trip to Indonesia and Australia, now in Papua New Guinea where they have been deported in 2013. Twelve of them have died over the years in PNG or Nauru, where isolation and neglect are even worse.

 

There will be no real Easter of joy and victory if evil thoughts and behaviour keep controlling us, if we do not respect the weak, if we ignore the stranger and the foreigner, if we do not share what we have. We also expect change in government attitude towards the refugees and asylum seekers. 

 

Detention without a chargeable offence cannot be indefinite. A genuine sense of humanity is what preserves us from the abyss of death. Much more if we happen to be Christians and celebrate resurrection and life in a special way this coming Sunday. 

 

Happy Easter to all!

Fr. Giorgio Licini

General Secretary

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