This year’s Easter celebration is a unique one that calls for a deep reflection and evaluation and deepening of our belief in the Resurrection of Christ, the redeemer of the human race; the Catholic Bishop of Abeokuta Diocese, Most Rev. Peter Odetoyinbo has declared. The bishop made this remark in his homily titled: The Resurrection, Our Hope and Consolation; at the celebration of this year’s Easter Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul, Abeokuta, Ogun State; on March 12, 2020.
While regretting that this year’s Easter season could be celebrated with the usual grandeur, as a result of the CoronaVirus pandemic that is ravaging the world; Bishop Odetoyinbo declared: “This time around, the Lord is leading us to appreciate another dimension of our participation in his Resurrection with emphasis on the age-long teaching of the Church that the Family is a domestic Church.” He urged the faithful to pray together as families, “reflect and read the Word of God following the liturgical rite as laid down by the Church for the worthy celebration of the Paschal Mysteries”.
Bishop Odetoyinbo admonished that the realities of the present global situation should not be lived and accepted with lamentations and regrets but as a positive call and sign from God to understand, evaluate and reflect as individuals, families, priests, religious and lay faithful on the real meaning of the Resurrection of the Lord at Easter. He added: “ … Therefore, at this Easter, we cannot but celebrate our hope in the Resurrection of the Lord with our hope to overcome every affliction that beset us as the people of God, for upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole and with his stripes, we are healed (Is. 53:5) and delivered from sin and the devil; to Him be glory and honour forever.”
Describing this year’s Easter celebration as a unique one, Bishop Odetoyinbo called for a common front among all the peoples of the world to fight the CoronaVirus pandemic as a family, irrespective of colour, tribe, race or religion. He continued: “I, therefore, enjoin all to be empathetic and stay united in brotherly love and fellowship, seeing this pandemic as a call to repentance and re-evaluation of our common bond with God, care for each other and the earth (Laudato Si) as called for by the Holy Father Pope Francis which is the living of a new life of the Resurrection. Then, our Easter celebration has meaning and relevance for everyone since we can add value to each other’s lives and situations.”
Bishop Odetoyinbo commended the governments, medical health workers, religious bodies, and all stakeholder groups in the country, for the efforts being made to prevent the spread of the scourge; prayed for those who have died and those who have lost their loved ones and urged all to positively respond to the needs of the poor, marginalized, vulnerable people and displaced persons in the society because: “ … they pay the highest price and are at the highest risk of suffering the devastating effects of COVID-19”.
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