Home Equality & Justice Cardinal Bo: Lent is ‘365 days of real suffering’

Cardinal Bo: Lent is ‘365 days of real suffering’

The Archbishop of Yangon on Sunday reminded the public that for many people in conflict-torn areas, “Lent is not a 40-day drama” because of the “wounds of war and bloodshed”.

In a Mass during his visit to a Jesuit parish in Japan, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo stated that for many, Lent represents “365 days of real suffering, tears, brokenness, fear, anxiety, and the unending starvation of the Cross.”

The prelate said Lent teaches the human family great lessons about “liberation from oppression, self-purification, and hope”.  

Cardinal Bo reflected on the story of Exodus that “brought the [people] to a promised land of peace and prosperity. “‘I have heard my people’s cry.’  Yes.  Our God is not a passive God. When the poor cries, the Lord hears and intervenes,” he said. 

The prelate said Lent focuses on understanding human frailty, as illustrated by Jesus’ experience of temptation in the wilderness. 

This period reminds people that even Jesus was tested with offers of power, prestige, and honor, underscoring the notion that succumbing to sin is a path to self-destruction. 

During Lent, the faithful are encouraged to pursue self-purification, aided by the Holy Spirit, as a key aspect of their spiritual journey, said Cardinal Bo. 

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Cardinal Bo said that the essence of hope, particularly emphasized during Lent, is vividly illustrated through the event described in the Acts of the Apostles, where Jesus spends forty days with His disciples after His resurrection. 

This period exemplifies the Christian belief that hope persists beyond the grave, asserting the temporary nature of evil and the eventual triumph of goodness.

“Hope is the destination of the Lent, not the Garden of Gethsemane or Calvary.  It is the open graves where God’s Goodness wipes out evil,” he said. 

Cardinal Bo, however, said that “hope is in short supply in the world today”. He said that even in the land where Christ was born, “a churning war breaks the heart of the world”.  

“We have had our share of suffering, challenging our faith and future. Yet in this moment of hardship, we find ourselves drawn together, united in our pursuit of peace and reconciliation,”

“Amid our trials and tribulations, may we cling to the promises of God’s covenant and the redeeming love of Christ,” said the prelate. 

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