The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), and the Archbishop of Benin City, Most Rev. Augustine Obiora Akubeze has described the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ as an impetus for a radical transformation in the practice of the Christian faith. He therefore called on the faithful not only to be steadfast in their faith, but be more dynamic and vibrant in reaching out with the Good News of Christ. Archbishop Akubeze’s admonition was contained in his homily at the celebration of the Easter Sunday Mass held at Holy Cross Cathedral, Benin City, Edo State, on April 12.
The CBCN President stated that Christ’s Resurrection brings transformation; strengthened the faith of the disciples and they turned around from their former life of timidity to vibrantly proclaim Christ publicly without fear. In the same vein, he urged the faithful not only to be radically transformed by the Resurrection but proclaim what we believe without fear in all corners of the world.
Pointing out that the Easter message is one of peace, hope and love, Archbishop Akubeze stated that the Easter story is one of joy adding that: “Every day is Easter day for the true Christian.” He noted that resurrection means that the stone that stood between God and man has been rolled away, hence, we must restore our personal relationship with God and live according to the wish and ways of God.
He added that Easter is the season when the stones are rolled away and “shows we are serving a living God and not a dead god”. He therefore urged the faithful to carry the joy of Easter to the poor, the needy and the marginalized.
The Archbishop of Benin City Ecclesiastical Province emphasized that hope is the heart of the resurrection message. He continued: “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 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.”
Pointing out that sharing the pains of others is a demonstration of true love, Archbishop Akubeze enjoined the faithful to be joyful in hope rather than resignation. On the challenges of the present global CoronaVirus pandemic, the CBCN President admonished: “At this difficult and challenging moment, we must endeavor to remember the poor, the widows and widowers and try to provide material and financial aids for them so that they can celebrate Easter.”
He added: “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.”
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