“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
My dear fellow Ghanaians, Easter is once again with us and we, your Bishops, greet you, our Catholic faithful, Christians of other churches, all other believers in God and all men and women of goodwill in our dear country Ghana, in the name of the triune God.
As we celebrate the feast of Easter, the feast of the resurrection of Christ from the dead, we are called upon, together with the psalmist, to rejoice and be glad. We should rejoice and be glad because Christ has indeed risen from the dead and by his resurrection has overcome death and won life for us.
The Implications of Easter for Our Christian Lives
Easter and Newness of Life
If we believe in the resurrection, then we should always keep in mind the heavenly dimension of our Christian lives. As St. Paul tells us in Colossians, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of Go6d. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2). If we believe that we shall one day share in Christ’s resurrection, then we must continually seek to become better people, new people liberated from the shackles of sin, people who are a new creation, people destined for the life hereafter.
Easter has moral implications on our lives as Ghanaian Christians. If we have died and risen with Christ, then we should endeavour to put an end to all immoral acts. The feast of Easter should challenge us to avoid a whole lot of immoral acts including stealing, armed robbery, the taking of illicit drugs such as cocaine and Indian hemp, drunkenness, reckless driving, internet fraud and other forms of fraud that are destroying the nation. We must also avoid permissiveness and casual sex which can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, including the incurable HIV-AIDS.
We appeal passionately to all to avoid bribery and corruption which is so pervasive in our country. It is found, for example, in some of the following people and institutions: the politicians, the judiciary, the security agencies, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, DVLA, in our educational institutions, in the workplace, in the marketplace, in the men and women of the media, in sports, in some traditional rulers, in priests, ministers, pastors and traditional priests. Corruption militates against national development. If there is bribery and corruption, it is largely because people are not acting with integrity wherever they are. If they were guided in their consciences by integrity and honesty, there would be no corruption or, at least, it would be reduced, and Ghana would be a better place than it is today.
Easter, Peace and National Unity
The celebration of Easter should make us realize that as Ghanaians we are one people. The peace that Christ gives at Easter should make us rise above all negative or harmful tendencies and see ourselves as members of one nation. As members of the one family of Ghanaians, let us realize that there is the need for us to live in unity and peace. As Christians and as children of God we should realize, as St. Paul says, that “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
In the light of this, we should eschew all ethnocentric tendencies, actions and statements that will not bring peace to our dear country Ghana. In the same vein, we should avoid saying and doing things that will bring about religious intolerance, bigotry and conflict in our country. We urge people of different religious persuasions to continue to live together in peace and to use peaceful and legitimate means to resolve all differences and challenges that may arise.
In conclusion, as we celebrate Easter, it is the prayer of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference that we will always keep in mind the other-worldly dimension of our Christian lives, that we will endeavour to fight against evil in our lives and that we will try to become better Christians and citizens who will ensure that the peace of the risen Christ will be in the hearts of all Ghanaians and other people of good will. It is also the prayer of the Bishops’ Conference that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit will be with you all in this Easter season.
MOST REV. JOSEPH OSEI-BONSU
PRESIDENT, GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE,
AND BISHOP OF KONONGO-MAMPONG.