Paul Samasumo – Vatican City
In a world full of despair, the resurrection of Jesus renews our hope.
In his Easter message, the Archbishop of Benin city and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Augustine Obiora Akubeze has said that hope must be at the heart of the resurrection message.
Like us today, the disciples thought it was all over
“Many of the followers of Christ thought it was over with Christ. Today, many of our people have concluded that it is over with economic recovery, that, it is over with equitable wealth for everyone, that, it is over with security of lives and property, that, it is over with justice for everyone in the land. Despite all these, I say, for the Risen Lord, nothing is impossible. Let us gradually effect changes in the places we work and live. Let us develop patience, a virtue that is needed if we truly trust in God. We must know that God’s time is always the best,” the Archbishop said.
Resist the urge for quick fixes
Worrying and despairing about our present situation will not hasten God’s action says the prelate of Benin city.
“Whereas humans want quick fixes and immediate solutions to difficulties, the Lord operates on a higher and better timing than ours. The Psalmist tells us, our God is in heaven, he does whatever he wills (Psalm 115:3). And His will is always for our good. But we cannot hasten God’s action by our worry. Jesus tells us how futile worry is when he says, ‘you cannot make a single hair on your head white or black’ (Matthew 5:36). God does not direct injustice toward his people, but he can make every tragedy become a blessing,” the Archbishop assured.
COVID-19 took everyone by surprise
Archbishop Akubeze reminisced on how the world began the year with so much hope. He urges everyone to hold on to that hope and all the expectations of a new year.
“We celebrate Easter this year amidst uncertainties. History will forever remember the year 2020. We began the year with so much joy and expectations. No one knew or planned for the current health crisis bedevilling our world. The COVID-19 pandemic took everyone by surprise and caught the world off-guard. Consequently, the celebration of Easter this year will be devoid of its usual pomp and pageantry,” he said.
Remember the poor in your midst
Notwithstanding the current challenges, it is important to be joyful in hope.
With everyone worrying about their personal safety and health, it is easy to forget the poor, the needy, widows and widowers. Archbishop Akubeze urges civic authorities as well as Christians to make an effort to provide material and financial assistance to the marginalised and disadvantaged families.
Pray for medical personnel
“We should also not forget to pray for our medical personnel who are on the frontlines, fighting this scourge, for God’s protection and guidance. Also, we pray for all who have been infected, for God’s healing and restoration. Finally, for all who have lost loved ones, we pray for consolation and eternal rest for all who have died,” Archbishop Akubeze exhorts.