by Fr. Gregory Mulobela, S.J., Director Chikuni Parish Home Based Care Project – Zambia.

Tonight, some will gather in darkness to begin the Easter vigil in the Holy Night. The “darkness” of Covid-19 has necessitated a sheltering-in-place order in some countries. And the “darkness” of inequalities that have prevented some of our brothers and sisters from accessing life-saving HIV services and drugs still lingers around us. Surely the intersecting HIV and Covid-19 pandemics continue to prolong our dark nights. However, fire will be lit in this darkness tonight, and the Paschal candle will remind us of Christ who turns darkness into light.

An accumulated 40 years of experience in the HIV and AIDS response has provided us with evidence of progress towards the light. The Covid-19 vaccinations are also light that we can see on the horizon. For sure the dark stretch of the road might be with us for quite some time, but tonight reminds us there is light that turns night into day. We have come across testimonies of many living with HIV who are now enjoying long and health lives because of access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy. Men and women of good will are working hard to make the COVAX Facility work and deliver Covid-19 vaccines to every country. We have added our voice to the call to waive Covid-19 vaccine patent rights, and we will continue to add our voice to the call to end HIV-related inequalities. “Let there be light” we will hear tonight! And Christ our light will once again fill us with hope: light is stronger than darkness.

Dear friends, let Christ our light take us by the hand and lead the way. Let us allow him to hold us and walk with us into the light. May the fire of this night continue to strengthen our hands that sometimes get weak, and our knees that some times are feeble. May the fire of this Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, continue to power our humble contribution towards hope and goodness. May the apostolic works of our wider Ignatian family continue to be the fire that transforms the world and ourselves for the good of all. And may each one of us be a bearer of Christ our light to all who are anxious and afraid in this temporal darkness.

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