Nigerian Bishop challenges Christians to help roll away the stone of hate and wickedness.
Bishop, thank you for accompanying us this Easter season with your reflections. In your words, why is Easter a celebration of joy and a celebration for the ordinary powerless person?
Easter Sunday celebrates that day when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, changed humanity’s destiny, and heralded our victory over sin and eternal death. All must rejoice that sin and evil can be defeated. That includes the poor and the oppressed, for Jesus is alive. Alleluia! Tell the world that all the betrayal, the rejection, oppression, the lies and wickedness of the powerful people of this world will someday be defeated by justice and love. Light will win. Darkness will fail. Remember, the two women who brought the news to the disciples were not rich or powerful people. Easter Sunday answers all the painful questions of Good Friday. God is on the side of the poor and oppressed. Don’t lose hope.
The image you use of people blocking the tomb and preventing the resurrection of reconciliation in society is very compelling.
Through the resurrection, God shows his power to deliver and save humanity. Those who continue to block and seal the tomb in order to prevent the resurrection of reconciliation, peace, love, justice and harmony must change or be defeated. They are the reason for all the wars, the suffering, destruction, and oppression we see all around. Jesus brings assurance of final victory that the reign of falsehood, oppression, injustice and sin will not endure. I call on all leaders and the powerful of the world to stop their hypocrisy, work for peace and follow the example of Jesus Christ. He humbled himself to serve and laid down his life for others. They must roll away the stone of hate and wickedness, for the way of love is the way of God. That is why Jesus said: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and mind… love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt22:37, 38). Only love will save the world and endure till the end of time.
What needs to be done, and what should the Christian do?
All of us must spread the news that Jesus is alive. Let everybody feel the joy of Easter. I call on all troubled, warring families, groups, communities and nations, “for God’s sake, be reconciled with one another, drop your weapons." As pope Francis has said, "let us disarm all hands of brothers raised against brothers. There is a better way to live than that of violence, bloodshed, be at peace with everyone so that God may be pleased with us all.”
You often speak passionately about saving Nigeria, beautiful Nigeria, to use your expression. What is the resurrection of Jesus saying to Nigerians, in fact, what is Easter saying to Africans?
A few years ago, a young Nigerian by the name of Patoranking sang these touching words in his album “Heal the World”, indicting all leaders and sketching our pain and frustration:
Every corner it's war and crisis…Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda and ISIS, ….
Africa blessed with lotta beautiful history
But these people make we feel like everything is a mystery
They make we live we lives in a jittery, we pray to God father to give us victory.
Take a look round the city now, no love oh what ah pity now
21 look like 50 now, hatred make things shitty now.
These words are still so shamefully true today: I say to all our government and all leaders, “Your insincerity and inaction have done enormous damage to all. Wake up and save Nigeria, this beautiful country and its people from complete collapse. Make justice and peace to break out and save your name in history.”
In spite of everything, Happy Easter to all!