2020 Easter Message of His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian M. Okeke.

Greetings to all of you, and Happy Easter to all of you.

My Easter message is a request to all of you to keep hope alive: Keep Hope alive. Hope in a general sense is a desire for something with some confidence or expectation of success. (cf. Chambers Dictionary)

Some define hope as a desire accompanied by expectation or belief in fulfilment. (cf. Webster Dictionary)

Hope is further defined as the striving of the human person for a future that is possible, desirable but not easy to achieve. Nevertheless, it is a striving by which we move into our future with courage and perseverance. (cf. Otto Hentz)

All these we can call hope in a general sense or hope as a human virtue. We have also hope as a Christian virtue which is one of the theological virtues (namely Hope, Faith and Charity). These are gifts from God, not acquired but infused. Such however, is not our discussion today.

The hope of our discussion today, is hope as a human virtue. It is what St. Thomas Aquinas calls a desire for a good that is hard or difficult but not impossible to attain (cf. Summa Theologica). It is a move into our future with courage, with confidence and with perseverance.

This hope is anchored in our faith in God; our faith in God Almighty who can do all things, and to whom nothing is impossible. Going through the Sacred Scriptures, we see the sufferings of God’s people which always ended up in their victory or in God’s intervention.

This period we are reliving the history of Christ’s passion and death which ended 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 CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC. As a result of this, some people are passing through untold difficulties, frustrations, hunger, sickness, joblessness, high handedness of some of the law enforcement agents and what more? 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. Move on to the future with courage, since the future is in the hands of God. If it is in the hands of God, it is in good hands. Take the necessary precautions. Stay safe. Our God will save us. Mother Theresa of Calcutta used to say, “I do not know what the future holds, but I know the one who holds the future”. And St. Paul will always remind us, that all things work onto good for those who love God (Rom 8:28).

Please, keep hope alive and never despair!!!

The future holds a great promise.

And may the blessings of our Victorious Lord, Our Risen Lord from the dead, the blessings of Easter, come down on all of you in abundance. Amen!

May Almighty God bless all of you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Peace be with you.

Happy Easter once again!

Given in Onitsha, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, on 12th April, Easter Sunday, in the year of our Lord 2020.

MOST REV. VALERIAN M. OKEKE

Archbishop of Onitsha

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