Paul Samasumo - Vatican City
Bishop Moses Hamungole invites the faithful to take time to discover the many ways in which Jesus is constantly betrayed and denied. He urges Christians to learn from Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the women who followed Jesus right up to the end on Calvary.
When officials fail to uphold the rule of law
“When I reflect on the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, the roles and choices of Pilate and the people of Israel stand out. The Israelites knew fully well that Barabbas was a robber, but they chose to have Jesus condemned instead. Sometimes, it is very difficult to understand how legal systems operate, where we find the innocent are the ones who are condemned and the guilty acquitted. It also begs that question as to what has gone wrong with our “Pilates” -those entrusted with the noble responsibility of governing and judging fairly and justly. They certainly know what is right and how the law must be equally and justly applied without fear. Yet it is sad to see constitutional institutions of governance fail to guarantee confidence of ordinary citizens in the rule of law. We have seen officials fail and choose not to uphold the rule of law as they know they should. How very sad indeed,” said Bishop Hamungole.
Evil triumphs when good people do nothing
Bishop Hamungole also wondered what has gone wrong with society when citizens choose to support false causes that go against Christian values. The Bishop cautioned against the tendency of looking the other way. There is no virtue in silence when one’s voice can make a difference.
“There are some of us who are like those who shouted: ‘Not this man but Barabbas, Crucify him, Crucify him!’ How can we live with our consciences when we know that we are making the wrong choices? Sometimes we keep quiet, but in doing so, we perpetuate injustice. Yes, there are consequences to speaking up. This is not in any way to minimise the dangers associated with speaking up. We have heard it said: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing,’" emphasised the Zambian prelate who is also Bishop Chair for the national Communications Commission.
Obey authorities to rid society of the coronavirus
Bishop Hamungole has urged Christians to cooperate with authorities as they fight the coronavirus pandemic because it is the right thing to do in these challenging times. “Let us all take time to ponder on our personal commitment to uphold the rule of law in our communities. For example, how a choice such as staying at home can make a difference in the lives of many other people, depending on what we choose to do," he said.
He continued, "The issue of the choices that we make can also be applied to the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic. In Zambia and many other countries, governments have given guidelines which must be obeyed. When people flout these rules, they put others at risk. There is the possibility that by not obeying the regulations, other people could end up contracting the disease. Pilate and the Jews made choices that led to Jesus’ death on the Cross. Similarly, those not respecting the COVID-19 mandatory regulations risk perpetuating contagion or even the real possibility of others dying from the disease, because of inconsiderate behaviour,” the Bishop said.
The women followed Jesus to Calvary
Put differently, Bishop Hamungole said Good Friday offers us an opportunity to interrogate our consciences, responsibilities and the everyday choices that stare us in the face.
“As we reflect on the Lord Jesus Christ’ Passion, let us take time to acknowledge and confess our loud and silent denials of Him. We also confess our wrong choices and fears to stand up for what is right and just. Let us pray for the courage to be like the women: Jesus’ Mother and all the women who followed Jesus and stood by his Cross give us a good example. The women were with Jesus till the end even when they knew it was dangerous for them to do so. May we become witnesses of His death and resurrection.”