As Christians all over the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Catholic Bishop of Abeokuta Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Odetoyinbo has called on Nigerians to be empathetic and stay united in brotherly love and fellowship.
He said they should see the pandemic as a call to repentance and re-evaluation of their common bond with God, care for each other and the earth.
Bishop Odetoyinbo, who made the call in his Easter message, described this year’s celebration as unique because of the way it would be celebrated due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “This year’s celebration is indeed a unique one, unlike the regular events of Lent and Holy Week that usher us into a befitting celebration of the paschal mystery.
“Our celebrations and preparations were affected by the precautionary directives of the federal government and the Ogun state government and of course, our church; on the need for us to stay at home in order to curtail the spread of the COVID-19”.
“We celebrate another solemnity of the resurrection of Jesus; we celebrate the risen Lord as our hope, our succour, our strength and victory over sin, illness and death; Christ is indeed, our health and salvation.
“This year’s celebration is very unique and significant because of the reality in our world and church today.
“This reality is rather not to be lived and accepted with lamentations and regrets, but as a positive call and sign from God for us to understand, evaluate and reflect as individuals, as families, as priests, religious and lay faithful on the real meaning of the resurrection of the Lord, the Easter.
“Each of us must draw from the present reality the significance of the abiding presence of the risen Lord.
“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”, Bishop Odetoyinbo said.
He commended the government, doctors, nurses, security agents, the press and all people of goodwill, who have responded in no small measure to this pandemic and the citizens for all of their sacrifices at this period.
According to the bishop, it has been such a trying time not only for christians and Catholics, but also everyone and indeed the whole wide world.
The bishop emphasised that “our world today faces a common enemy; a virus that cares not about nationality, ethnicity, rich, poor or faith, but affects all relentlessly.
“The most vulnerable people; the marginalized and the displaced people of our society pay the highest price and are at the highest risk of suffering the devastating effects of COVID-19.
“We must therefore, see in the risen Lord our hope and succour especially to the sick, aged and the most vulnerable in our society as we fight this disease and other vices ravaging the world, our nation Nigeria, families, churches and individual lives.
“This renewed hope in the risen Lord is what our human family needs now more than ever, the experience is true; one world for.”