Easter message to rebuild the "Empire of Hope" in South Africa - Christian News
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Easter message to rebuild the "Empire of Hope" in South Africa

Church in the Community - Media Release in the Herald: 25th March 2024

Source: TCN / Lubabalo Mguda
Date Added: 2024-03-25

Category: General NewsTCN NewsIssues - GeneralIssues - Moral RegenerationIssues - Social upliftment
Maria Francesca Cabrini was an Italian woman born on 15 July 1850.

Her life is the subject of a 2024 film by Angel Studios simply entitled, Cabrini.

As a young woman, she had a dream and a vision to create what she called, "an Empire of Hope" in the world.

The movie details her struggles against Patriarchy, Racism and Xenophobia together with her companions of Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in serving the poor Italian immigrants in New York City from 1889 “where rats had it better than the children” to quote one of the characters in the movie.

"An Empire of Hope" is a turn of phrase, born of a Christian imagination that understands the practical implications of Easter Joy.

Mother Cabrini lived out her Christian faith in the Risen Christ, making it her duty and responsibility to build "an Empire of Hope".

Our country was once the beacon of hope for the world, the Good News story of the Resurrection after the darkness of a crime against humanity.

We were also on our way to build "an Empire of Hope" with our Reconstruction and Development Plan of the Nation.

Thirty years later we are faced with a fading political dream, failing infrastructure, a collapsing economic vision, and a rampant culture of death.

The failing infrastructure is writ large in the state of our roads and public institutions.

Our fading political dream is littered by the polarization of our political narratives.

The collapse of our economic vision is seen in the increasing gap between the rich and poor, the high rate of youth unemployment; and the culture of corruption from local government to national government, from the mayor to the president, from the spaza shop that sells poisonous products to the poor to the big corporations that have a corrupt relationship with the state, from the residents who do not pay for their services, to the citizens who work in the civil service but do not provide a service to the poor.

The culture of death in the country is seen in the violent crimes and daily killings, shootings and murders that have been normalized in the townships and on the city centres that have decayed and crumbled.

We seem to be heading towards an Empire of Hopelessness.

It seems like we are paralysed by hopelessness and helplessness, and are caught up in the dungeon of complaining and negativity.

The darkness of loadshedding is like a metaphor for our national consciousness.

In the heart of darkness, the Church has an important responsibility to bring the light of Easter and Christian hope in the power of God over evil, death and sin.

The role of the Church in our society is indeed to rebuild by recreating "an Empire of Hope."

Christianity is not just a religion, but it is essentially an encounter with the risen Christ, who changes our lives through a personal relationship with Him, turning our despair into hope, our vice into virtue.

In turn, our Christian faith is to carry the Light of the risen Christ into the world of darkness, despair and helplessness.

In our neighbourhoods, there is so much decay and litter on the outside, we have even ironically deemed the "plastic" as our national flower.

But as Christian communities, we also have an inside job of dealing with hopeless and helplessness.

Thus, we can get together and sing our Easter Alleluias and praise the risen Lord who has overcome the darkness of Good Friday and silence of Holy Saturday.

But we must also get together and rebuild our littered and decaying streets, because we have all the required skills in our communities to build "an Empire of Hope".

Christian members of our communities have it in them to constructively call the local government to account for their lack of service delivery.

Christian communities cannot only be lighting candles inside the church buildings, they have to light candles outside of the building as well by bring hope to the desperate.

Preachers are not only meant to break pulpits inside the church, they have to break the yoke of poverty by hopeful living outside the church as well, by avoiding to prey on the vulnerabilities of the poor.

Christians cannot just talk the talk of faith, but have to walk to the walk of faith.

The project of building "an Empire of Hope" is ours to embrace.

This ambitious project to rebuild our country demands that we ecumenically collaborate with all people of good will. Churches have to join forces by learning to do good together because unity is strength.

Easter faith is meaningless when as Christian communities we are not bringing hope to the desperate.

The sweetness of the Easter bunny is bitter if the people are still victims of misery and chaos.

May Easter joy reign meaningfully in our communities during this season of hope.

Fr Lubabalo Mguda
Parish priest at the Sacred Heart Kabega Catholic Church
Source: TCN / Lubabalo Mguda
Date Added: 2024-03-25

Category: General NewsTCN NewsIssues - GeneralIssues - Moral RegenerationIssues - Social upliftment
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