A leading Asian Catholic Church leader called for solidarity among peoples amid the global health crisis brought about by the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon warned that the spread of the disease “will leave nothing unchanged,” including the way people worship and relate with each other.
In his Easter message, the cardinal urged the faithful to ensure that the new world order brought about by the pandemic will “arise from and lead to new forms of solidarity.”
“We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed,” he said.
“All of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other,” said the cardinal, adding that like the apostles who thought they were lost on a boat, “we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves.”
He said COVID-19 has taught the world a “valuable lesson” that “the richest and most powerful nations that have arrogantly stockpiled nuclear arms have been brought to their knees by a virus.”
“World powers that arrogantly negate all transcendent powers are learning with humility that life is fragile and that we all need one another,” added the cardinal.
“More than anything, all powers can learn to acknowledge the presence of a power that is above all,” he said.
He invited Christians to embrace solidarity, love, and humanity although “a huge, suffocating cloud of fear and anxiety engulfs humanity.”
“We are at the dawn of a new consciousness, a radically fresh approach to our life as the human family in a fragile world,” he said.
He said Christians should find courage in the resurrection of Jesus, adding that the pandemic has become “virtually the Way of the Cross for humanity.”
The Asian cardinal said that the suspension of religious services in many places poses a challenge to the fellowship Christians share.
He urged Christians not to lose the spirit of communion, joy, and fellowship even as they continue to observe precautions against the disease.
“Paradoxical as it may seem, keeping distance from each other means we truly care for each other, because we want to stop the transmission of the deadly virus,” he said.
Cardinal Bo said that although the wait for the Resurrection may appear “long,” Christians are not to despair. He invited everyone “to hope in God who is our light and our salvation.”
He said that as dark nights end with the dawn, Holy Saturday will end with a “victorious Easter” because “evil has an expiry date. Good has none.”