The celebration of Easter can only be meaningful with our true witnessing to the resurrection of Christ, the Catholic Bishop of Ijebu-Ode, Most Rev. Francis Obafemi Adesina has declared. The bishop made the remark in his homily at the celebration of this year’s Easter Sunday Mass held at St. Sebastian Cathedral, Ijebu -Ode, Ogun State.
In addition, the bishop also called on Christians to detach themselves from the encumbrances of life if they are to resurrect with the Lord Jesus. His words: “If you and I must rise with Jesus this Easter, we too by the grace of His resurrection, must do something radical. We must be ready to detach ourselves from every encumbrance of life. We must detach from whatever is holding us down spiritually and keeping us embalmed in the grave of sin. Jesus has set us free and we must be free in deed - free from earthly corruptions, free to love, free to serve others like Christ did.”
Bishop Adesina articulated three major reasons why Christians celebrate Easter with pride and jubilation. These include the resurrection of Christ being the basis of our Christian faith. The other two reasons are that “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave is the guarantee of our own resurrection” and that the “Feast of Easter gives us hope and encouragement that the Risen Lord is with us always as he promised”.
The bishop added: “Therefore, being a Christian means that l know and l believe that I am not alone; that Jesus Christ lives in me and works through me. That he abides with me in moments of joy and in days of sorrow. That I recognize the presence of Jesus not only when things are going well, but also when I am struck by my fear of sickness, anxiety, insecurity and failures. Jesus' resurrection from the dead teaches me how to carry my cross daily trusting God to overcome for me every human and sinful adversary.”
In his homily at the Good Friday Service, Bishop Adesina noted that “What happened on that day, two thousand years ago, was the most gruesome violation of human rights recorded in history.” He continued: “It was a horrible combination of betrayal, injustice, oppression, wickedness, and treachery leading to the murder of an innocent man destined by the will of God to redeem the world from sin and the power of Satan.”
Noting that Christians celebrate Good Friday because “we know and believe that the Cross and the death of Our Lord was not in vain but for our salvation”, Bishop Adesina remarked: “ Through his obedience to the will of the Father, Jesus transformed the shameful Cross into the Altar of Sacrifice of God’s unblemished Lamb for our Salvation; and that is why we celebrate Good Friday as part of the Easter Triduum for without the events of Good Friday, there would not be the Feast of Easter Vigil and the Resurrection of the Lord.”
He affirmed that the Liturgical Service of Friday of the Passion of the Lord focuses our attention on Christ’s victory over sin and death and God’s love for us. He urged the faithful to unite their anxiety, fear, pain and sufferings during the CoronaVirus pandemic period with the Passion of Christ so that “He may offer them to the Father and gain for you salvation, peace, freedom and forgiveness”.
And in his homily at the Last Supper Mass of Holy Thursday, held at the St Clare Monastery Chapel; Bishop Adesina noted that the Last Supper gave a definitive meaning to the Jewish Passover with the institution of the Holy Eucharist. He spoke extensively on the three significant mysteries of Holy Thursday – institution of the Holy Eucharist; institution of the Sacred Priesthood and the solemn invitation of Jesus to fraternal Charity (Diacona) – to love and serve one another.
He declared: “We are invited tonight to enter into the Sacred Paschal Triduum reflecting on the mysterious gifts of the Holy Eucharist and Sacred Priesthood in the Church, knowing that both mysteries are given and received in the Church for the purpose of salvation of souls.”
Bishop Adesina described the Last Supper as the most supreme act of love and tenderness that has ever been made on earth and the Holy Eucharist, the sacrament of our salvation accomplished by Christ on the Cross. He therefore urged the faithful to receive the Holy Communion with respect and reverence, He also spoke on the washing of the feet by Christ describing it as “a life of service of love.”
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