Easter is Pro-Life and heralds Human Liberation | Daily News

Easter is Pro-Life and heralds Human Liberation

The infamous slogan ‘Arbeit macht frei’ (Work sets you free) at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz
The infamous slogan ‘Arbeit macht frei’ (Work sets you free) at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz

Advocacy for the promotion and defence of human life as well as working for the establishment of freedom and liberation from all forms of oppression have increasingly become crucially decisive social commitments today on a global scale. Such activities are of priority concern in the context of dramatically surging threats to life and of intruding social trends creating complex situations of subversion of freedom. Despite the high level of feats achieved in the area of science, bewildering as it seems and of technology that has risen to incredible heights, the basic human and fundamentally perennial rights to both life and freedom that give a higher and nobler elevation to human beings, surprisingly show signs of gross deterioration and appear to be helpless victims of a process of alarming devaluation.

On the contrary, all right-thinking minds alert us to the urgency of never losing sight of these two issues, summoning all of us meanwhile to a global and local solidarity of ideology and action, to promote, safeguard and strengthen them. Easter 2019 in Sri Lanka with its ruthless carnage made a travesty of this annual celebration of life and joy turning it into a doomsday scenario of death, mayhem and destruction of precious lives to the utter shock and dismay of our Motherland and indeed, of the entire civilized world. It has left an indelible stain on our national image and recent history.

Most of the struggles of our post-modern era manifest an evident sign of how seriously these two issues of life and freedom are embattled for survival in a society that increasingly is secular in spirit and lifestyle as well as pinning its stability and future on sciences and research that are purely historical, rooted in empirical, scientific investigation and corroborated concretely in existential experience. Life in this light is considered merely as a physical and biological phenomenon, a commodity to be negotiated while freedom is looked upon merely as a social imperative. Both life and freedom are rooted in the infallible dignity of the human which is God-given along with his vocation to live and achieve fulfilment in joy and hope in a community supporting his journey through life.

Life and Freedom Interface

There is much more to life than food and drink, economic prosperity and health security and all other needs that ensure a healthy social existence. Easter which commemorates the festival of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and together with it the dawn of a brand new world of peace and solidarity is inevitably an imposing challenge to this secular spirit that is inundating the thinking and behavioural patterns prevailing in today’s culture. The God of creation who is the Lord of history and his voice heard in the depths of man’s conscience are being eclipsed in a culture that is polluted with voices in disarray and signs of contradiction that have brought in confusion and reversal of perennial values that were once held infallible and sacrosanct.

Humankind is forever in search and eager yearning for meaning in life and the art of living it to the full as a goal worth pursuing. People long to be free and be able to make their options and choices which they think are best for them and profitable. Of course, life just cannot be manipulated as one wants and freedom abused to do wrong, living with no sense of either transparency, accountability or responsibility. Both life and freedom have to be handled with a high sense of awakened responsibility since these are blessings bestowed and values earned at the price of much sacrifice, struggle and commitment. The Lord Jesus rose from the darkness and gloom of death in order to restore power to life preventing it from anymore succumbing to the dust of death. People are born to live and not to fall to the grave of inevitable disintegration and so the need to understand the meaning of human death and see it as a moment of transformation and not just being slithered into nothingness. The greatest power that humanises the world and society is the freedom of man and its responsible exercise.

The Risks and Threats to Freedom

No state or secular power has the right to control life and human freedom, the least of all to curtail or deny it altogether as it had often happened in certain totalitarian regimes that lived and thrived on the power of the clenched fist and enveloped in a culture of death. They summarily dealt with the lives of millions of innocent people what they wanted through their despicable atrocities that maimed, disabled, gassed and killed the innocents. The Pol Pot regime in Vietnam, the Mao spree in China, the Miloševi massacres in Serbia and the horrible Nazi extermination of millions in the camps of Auschwitz are chilling instances of the suppression of life, human dignity and human freedom even as the brazen dehumanisation that ensued. The spirit of the Christian Easter radically questions these sad and despicable events of world history. They are clear cases of violence to life, human dignity and above all, to freedom, that is the greatest precious jewel in the crown of humanity. Such denials that contradict the spirit of Easter are also realised in the denial of human rights that are fundamentally rooted in the dignity of every human person which society committed to the common good has to ensure in its structures, laws and governance. Democracy has eventually proved to be the only social ideology and political system that has become the effective guardian of human rights, thus becoming the sanctuary-space of mankind’s freedom.

Easter ushers in a New Culture

Easter celebrates the recovery of life that was snuffed out and destroyed in a most cruel manner by those who wielded religious and political authority at the time of the earthly Jesus of Nazareth. It was triumph over the grave and sadness of death.

We are told in the Bible, that the disciples of Jesus rejoiced when they saw the Risen Lord, their guru and master. He accompanied them on their journeys listening to their stories of frustration, fear and uncertainty. He visited them in their familiar beaches where they had returned to their old trade of fishing and could even feed them as he fed the thousands out in the Galilean hills; He could still the wild storms of the sea and would show them the wounds he incurred at his death in proof that the Risen Lord is the Crucified One as well. His was now a real presence, a real person and neither a ghost nor phantom, just a pious vision nor some hallucination.

The Risen Jesus assured them of his presence to the end of time and that the living communities of believers would be the new sanctuaries and temples in which he will abide till the end of the world. They were asked to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, fulfill the need of those who are thirsty, visit the sick and the prisoners, heal those afflicted by disease and take the gift of peace to every home they enter. A new world has thus begun with the Risen Lord in their midst. They would dare any suffering, persecution or even death in his cause and in defense of their faith. This was the spiritual revolution and explosion of the Easter spirit that continues in the life and work of the Christian communities to this day globally throughout the world in all cultures and civilizations. The power of Easter has been released and unleashed. It will always be invested in the cause of a better humanity in a world more human and just where love and compassion abound. Easter is in this manner a great harbinger of life, human dignity, freedom and liberation.

The spirit of Easter and those who are under its spell, whatever their religious or cultural persuasion, will engender emissaries of a message of transformation and renewal which the world needs to hear today in earnest: promote life and let people go free.

It will grind to a dead halt, all crimes against humanity, whatever their hue.Besides, terrorism and violence are clearly agents of death and it must be categorically stated that they will never succeed in destroying religions as history has amply borne witness.

Humanity must decide to rise from their graves of inhumanity, injustice, cowardice, hatred and violence, pride, insolence and arrogance, oppressive structures, false sense of supremacy and complexes of all kinds in order thereby, to step into and venture forth into a new world where love reigns supreme and truth abides ruling the soul of humanity.

In this new way of life, the culture of death and destruction will be completely displaced and instead, a culture of life and a civilization of love and solidarity will take over their reins meandering a sure pathway to a world abounding in goodwill, trust and human fraternity. A new world will be born as death-dealing factors are neutralized and springs of life are discovered.