June 19, 2024
Diocese News News Reflections / Sermons

Easter message: Bishop Odetoyinbo on 2024 Easter

2024 EASTER MESSAGETHE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST SHOULD IMPACT OUR ATTITUDE AND VISION OF LIFE

Glory to God the King of Glory as we once again celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. I greet you, sons and daughters of God and wish you all a happy Easter! Our Saviour Jesus Christ is truly risen, let us rejoice because He has broken the bonds of death and won for us the kingdom of God. Christ though being in the form of God emptied Himself and accepted death on the cross (Phil 2:6-8); the victim undefiled who for sinners bled and reconciled men with God. In Christ’s resurrection is our hope risen again for in His dying, he destroyed death; and in his rising, he restored life. The joy of Easter brings new hope and life that must impact our attitude to one another. Christ through His death and resurrection has redefined our understanding of victory and glory. Glory is now perceived as the cross and sacrifice of the self rather than the conquest, acquisition of power and the right to rule. Though as the son of man, on him was conferred dominion, glory and kingship that is everlasting (Dan 7:14), yet He suffered and having been made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. (Heb. 5:9). His death and resurrection was salvific, and we learn that only by death comes life, only by spending our lives for others do we retain it and only by service to our brethren comes greatness (Jn. 12: 24-25).The Easter experience once more my dear brethren brings to us the message of sacrifice. Christ for the love of humanity gave up His life for our redemption. This is our creed and the core of our missionary endeavor; to preach the crucified Christ, the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24).

At this Easter therefore, it is important to learn once more from the manifestation of God’s power who raised Jesus from the dead. Let us take advantage of this Easter celebration to learn from the Master how to manage victory and glory for having been lifted up on the cross, He has drawn all men to God. We too should learn to bury our personal desires and ambitions and be generous in spending our lives for our brothers and sisters. For unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (Jn. 12:24). This is the profound message from our Lord to us at this Easter. We must learn the spirit of sacrificial love. It is true that the idea of service is in the danger of getting lost in modern times as so many people today in business, politics, civil service are only interested in what they can get and not what they can offer humanity. Selfishness has become the order of the day and we no longer care about what happens to our next door neighbour.

Let the message of Christ reach all men and women of goodwill that just as Christ laid down his life for our redemption so are we called to spend our lives in service to one another.

With respect to the present hardship in our country, we must be sincere in asking ourselves how we have individually and collectively contributed to the present menace. No one is ready to make sacrifice for the other any longer as everyone seeks to enlarge his or her coast and build a private empire. This was not the attitude of Jesus; for out of generosity, though He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, so that by His poverty we might become rich (2 Cor. 8: 10). This is what we are called to emulate as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

In our society today, we witness a surge in selfishness and the radical pursuit of wealth without paying attention to the poor and marginalized. Little wonder then how we have become so insensitive to the needs and cry of one another as each person struggles for personal survival. It is no news that the present economic hardship is biting hard on many Nigerians. This is the time to open our hearts to another in love and charity as the season of Lent reminded us. We cannot be crying for basic needs in a country blessed by God with the best of human and natural resources you can find around the world.

As a people, we must all admit that we have made wrong choices in the past that did not encapsulate the plan for our common good and a better future for ourselves and posterity. This is the time to retrospect and make effort to fix Nigeria once and for all. While we appreciate the effort of the present administration in toeing this path, we also advocate that their economic policies should have a human face. The impact of fuel subsidy removal, apparent devaluation of Naira resulting in an unprecedented inflation in the prices of goods and services demand a careful look. Let us not lose the love and care for one another in the bit to save our nation; there is hunger and starvation in the land. Of course, the corollary effect is the spike in cases of criminality and insecurity that daily confront us not to mention the onslaught by bandits and criminal elements who do not mean well for our country. The government is called to do more particularly by addressing the disposing elements of insecurity such as hunger, poverty and marginalization, tribalism and bigotry.As citizens we are all involved. I admonish us all to reflect on those areas of our lives that urgently require change such as structurally adjusting our lifestyles and attitude to reflect love and consciousness for our neighbours. Discipline in our taste and preferences based on present economic reality as citizens and government is the way to go. We must collaborate with government to support local production of good and services that will take our economy from consumption to production and economic prosperity for our country. Let us be patient with the present administration and give them a chance to do their best for the interest of our country as we demand sincerity of purpose from the government as well. Christ endured pain for the sake of the glory and so after Good Friday came Easter Sunday.

Let us be patient with one another as citizens and government. The outcry of the people is legitimate and Government should provide succour rather than try to suppress their voices. We must support the effort of government and tune down the embers of tribalism and bigotry. Our quest for common good is what can fix our country. I therefore enjoin you all to allow the resurrection power to impact the manner of our lives and attitude to one another.

May Christ’s resurrection bring us hope and victory over death, selfishness and sin in our personal lives and the world.

Happy Easter to you all.

Most Rev. Dr. Peter OdetoyinboBishop, Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta 28thMarch, 2024

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