Don't surrender to societal pressures, stigma—Priest cautions Christians

Accra, April 17, GNA – The Reverend Father Joseph Foley, a visiting Priest of the Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Cape Coast, has asked Christians not to give in to pressures and stigma from families, friends and society over their lives.

Many Christians, he said, were carrying crosses of shame, pain and misery, rejection and dejection, and were as well surrounded by a world of broken promises and fragile peace, which burdened and weighed them down.

“For some, it is the fact that they have not given birth after years of marriage, and the demands of friends and family, and society is killing them slowly.

“Look to the cross of Jesus and know that your redemption is nearer than you thought, fight a good fight, remain steadfast in faith and love, hold on to the cross of Jesus to gain liberation, and rise in victory,” he said while delivering a homily on Easter Sunday at the Church.

As Christians observed the memory of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Fr. Foley implored them not to abandon acts of fasting, prayer, confession and generosity that drew them closer to God because the period of Lent (40 days of fasting, prayer and alms giving) was over.

He added that a good spiritual life could not be lived without the ingredients of lent.

“This is not the time to go back to sin, aged old quarrels, or the time to abandon the Godly crown for earthly acclamations. Let's preserve these activities so that we may renew ourselves in Christ.

“Let’s bear in mind that the resurrection gives us the courage to believe in God, but doubt is a killer disease that erases all our hopes, and aspirations and replaces them with fear and confusion,” he added.

Fr. Eustace Siame, a Priest and Salesian of Don Bosco, U.S.A, in his Daily Bread devotion prepared for all Christians globally, on Easter Sunday, said darkness represented someone in a challenging situation who wanted to give up.

“When Mary Magdalene got to the tomb where the body of Jesus laid, the stone that blocked life, represented obstacles, oppression, war, and all sorts of evil had been rolled away.

“When there is confusion in marriages and other difficulties, when you have a drunken child, when you have an oppressive boss who brings so much despair to your life, yet you pray every night and problem remains the same, you will wake up one day to see that such stones have been rolled away and new life will begin from there,” he added.

Fr. Siame said after baptism, Christians were resurrected from their old ways of life and turned new creations, hence asked them not to engage in evil that aimed at destroying lives.

 “If all you do is gossiping, slandering and destroying others, you are not a witness to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ but a witness to death.
“By the resurrection, we are not going to advocate any philosophy of death, no, we are not going to support abortion, or anything that goes against life because we are children of the resurrection, which stand for life,” he added.

The Reverend Fr. Stephen Dogodzi, the Parish Priest, St. Charles Lwanga Catholic Church, Abeka, in his homily reiterated that the resurrection of Christ taught humanity that all pains and sufferings had expiry dates
Whatever tough times people went through, he said all they needed were perseverance and faith in God, while believing that there was always a second half of every life event.

 The Easter Sunday homilies of the Church globally, was taken from Acts 10:34A, 37-43, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23,  for the first reading and responsorial Psalm respectively, Colossians 3:1-4, or 1 Corinthians 5:6B-8 for Second reading, 1 Corinthians 5:7B-8A for Alleluia reading, and John 20:1-9 for Gospel reading.

The congregation, majority of whom were clad in white to signify victory from the resurrection, were observed singing and dancing while waving their hands from left to right or making varied smiley gestures with their faces and hands to show their excitement on the day.

Unlike the Good Friday where all members wore red, black, or dark brown coloured attire to churches and were seen in sad or unhappy moods, the Easter Sunday saw the congregation not just in white, but also joyful and dancing together while chatting among themselves, especially after the Mass (Church Service) ended.