Ukraine’s Easter sorrow

For a second consecutive Easter the people of Ukraine are suffering through the horrors of war. And fourteen months after the Russian invasion, the war shows no sign of ending. Majellan Media ran this article in our weekly newsletter a year ago. Such is the importance of this issue, the article appears here again.


Sunday marked the start of Passion Week. The most important week in the Christian calendar when Jesus is hailed a hero on Palm Sunday by his followers only to be put to death five days later. His crucifixion on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter Sunday, however, gives us hope of eternal life.


With Easter soon upon us and a focus on Jesus’ act of self-sacrifice, it also brings into focus the current suffering of the Ukrainian people. In the six weeks (14 months) since Russia invaded Ukraine, towns and cities have been levelled and more than four million (now six million) people have fled to neighbouring countries.


In solidarity with Ukraine, Pope Francis and bishops throughout the world recently consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, praying for an end to the war. The consecration also coincided with the feast of the Annunciation.


The pope added that war reminds us of our “helplessness and our inadequacy,” as well as of our need for the “closeness of God and the certainty of His forgiveness.”


In a Lenten letter to confreres and mission lay partners, Redemptorist Oceania Provincial John Hodgson CSsR said the human suffering was hard to understand.


“As we mark the sign of the cross our foreheads in ash, we enter immediately into the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection, entering into the terrible conflict in the Ukraine, the cost of human suffering of people everywhere, and the brazen body-mindedness of leaders, bullying their way to power,” he said.


“We enter into life’s ongoing stupidity and its choices for violence and conflict over dialogue and respect. And we also enter into that mystery of sickness and suffering where we can find no easy target to blame – flooding, bushfires, drought, pandemics, misfortune, cancer, death and so on.


“We bring these experiences – where abundant life has turned to ashes – into this season of Lent and with great courage and discipline allow Jesus to disciple us into people of faith, hope and love.


As we prepare to celebrate Easter, let us also remember Ukraine, and indeed all countries that are in turmoil. While the death and resurrection of Jesus provides hope for a better world, let us join Pope Francis in praying for a speedy end to the Ukrainian conflict.


The people of Ukraine deserve better than bloodshed and war this Easter.


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