Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Ignatius Kaigama, yesterday, urged Christians never to give up on the virtues of patience, perseverance, hope and trust in God.
Kaigama stated this while celebrating the Easter mass at the Holy Trinity Church, Maitama.
“The resurrection of Christ teaches us that Jesus is alive forever. The victory of evil and the cruel plans of men could only be temporary. The message of Easter is that God does not forget or forsake us, and that the darkest hour is just before the dawn. But soon, it will be daylight again,” he said.
The archbishop commended the Federal Government for the prompt response to the coronavirus pandemic. He also hailed government for making the difficult decisions about the hard-hit states of Lagos, Ogun and the FCT.
“The active role of the state governments, especially states where cases have been reported, is equally deserving of praise. The generosity of the private sector, well-meaning citizens and philanthropists, through acts of compassion, solidarity and self-sacrifice at this time can only rekindle hope in the resilience of the Nigerian spirit,” he said.
In his Easter message, the cleric quoted the book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10, verse 40, where Peter testifies that: “God raised Jesus to life on the third day, and let Him manifest himself.”
“No doubt, during the 40 days of Lent, many of us have been praying, fasting, giving alms and making efforts at repentance and conversion. But we may ask, ‘why is the calamity of a pandemic spreading?’ Is God asleep? No. Did he travel? No. Has he forgotten us? No. Is he angry? I don’t know. Even if God is angry because of our misconduct and stubborn resistance to his will and the pride about our scientific and technological knowledge and skills, he still loves us,” he said.
“A dwindling economy and its harsh consequences, the COVID-19 crisis has introduced a crippling climate of fear, taking away almost every aspect of life we hold dear. We cannot shake hands and embrace anymore, neither can we visit family, relations and friends without doubts or preoccupations. More seriously, we cannot even go to the house of God to pour out our troubles and find succour in the embrace of a believing community.
“Everything seems gloomy, dark and frightening, like an extended Good Friday night. But we must never give up even as we are afraid of kidnappers, militant herdsmen, loss of jobs or money or material resources, illness, etc. Easter tells us that Jesus has overcome the night; you don’t need to be afraid anymore, Christ is alive,” he added.
In his sermon, Archbishop, Province of the Niger, Anglican Communion, Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Alexander Ibezim, called on Christians to pray and appeal to God to roll away the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.
He also called for total repentance from sin and rededication of lives to God, if the world really wants an end to COVID-19 which appear to defy medicine.
Addressing newsmen in Awka, yesterday, Ibezim said the church should emulate the courage of the women who went to the tomb of Jesus with a burden of how to roll away the stone, only to meet an empty tomb on arrival.
The prelate said the resurrection power of Jesus Christ would terminate the deadly virus the same way it rolled away the stone at His tomb on the day of His resurrection.
He said that the theme of the celebration: “Who will roll away the stone?” was significant to the church, especially at a time when the world was on its knees because of the devastating impacts of coronavirus.
“The church was reminded of what the faithful women that went to the tomb of Jesus early to anoint His body did. They were burdened with one particular question, “Who will roll away the stone?. As women, they were physically powerless, not that they were spiritually powerless. They had the burden of rolling away the stone to enable them anoint the body of Jesus. But they, on approaching the tomb, discovered that the stone has been rolled away.
“This is significant for us as a church, especially in a moment the whole world is crying over who will role away the stone of coronavirus, a disease killing thousands of people all over the world.
“We heard that the virus has been recorded in Anambra. Even scientists are all battling, civilised world still struggling, nobody knows what to do. It will be terminated, having fallen into the Easter season. Even though we’re celebrating in little groups, God will answer our prayers.
“Just like the stone in the tomb was rolled away by the supernatural power of God, that’s the same way this coronavirus will be terminated. Don’t be afraid. You won’t die like a grasshopper. Once you fear death, it will come to you. But when you stand and believe in the resurrection power of Jesus, then you won’t be like those dying anyhow.”
Archbishop Ibezim commended the efforts of the state government in fighting the pandemic and urged the public to give it maximum support.
Similarly, the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, has charged Nigerians to keep hope alive even in the midst of the challenge of coronavirus pandemic.
In an Easter message yesterday at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha, Archbishop Okeke, said the future held greater prospects and urged the people to face the future with courage, since the future was in the hands of God.
“This period we are reliving the history of Christ’s passion and death which ended up in the victory of the resurrection; that is the Easter we celebrate now. However, today the challenges of the present time are enormous, including but not limited to the deadly coronavirus pandemic. As a result of these, some people are passing through untold difficulties, frustrations, hunger, sickness, joblessness, high handedness of some of the law enforcement agents and price hike of essential commodities. There is fear in the land. But my brothers and sisters, God who is omnipotent and omniscience is in charge of our world. We shall overcome!
“Please keep hope alive. If it is in the hands of God, it is in good hands. Take the necessary precautions. Stay safe. Our God will save us” he said.