By Jessica Onyegbula
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja on Sunday tasked Nigerians with praying and ridding the nation of corruption and other social vices.
Kaigama, who gave the charge during her homily, at the Notre-Dame-Reine-du-Nigeria pro-cathedral in Abuja, stressed that true prayer must include prayer for your enemies.
He said Nigerians must have a big heart to be able to love and forgive each other without preconditions and to treat everyone with dignity even if they are different from you.
The Archbishop noted that the polarization of Nigerians, whether along religious or tribal lines, and the overemphasis on our differences has had far-reaching negative consequences that permeate and manifest in almost every facet of life.
“Like Mary Magdalene, Peter and John in the Gospel, we must spread the good news and nothing else; no bad news, no news of violence and despair or news of division and hatred.
“Our leaders can bring good news to Nigerians; our security guards, officials and others must be honest in their work and good news will follow. Ordinary citizens can, also individually and collectively, behave with the fear of God, and their activities will become good news.
“This will only be possible if we accept to stand on the common bases of our national aspirations, to see each other in each other: brothers and sisters, beyond unhealthy prejudices and artificial borders.
“We must pursue our causes in accordance with the nation’s mission statement on its coat of arms:“ unity and faith, peace and progress ”.
“It is urgent that we put our swords in their plowshares and our spears in their hooks (cf. Is 2: 4) and that we embrace each other with love.”
Kaigama said the country was fed up with impunity, bloodshed and the crimes of kidnapping, banditry and terrorism.
“Today in this country we need more patriotic men, young people and especially women, who should be allowed to go beyond low political participation to create a new Nigeria. And by the grace of God, together we will succeed, ”he said.
“We must continue to pray for our brothers and sisters who are still being held captive by their captors such as: Leah Sharibu, the remaining Chibok girls, the students of Kaduna State Forestry College.
“Let us remember the very sick who are unable to celebrate Easter with us either because of the COVID-19 pandemic or another crippling disease, or because of civil unrest, insecurity, violent attacks by people unidentified, hardships caused by the global economy. slow-down.
“Pray for God to intervene in their situations.
“I wish all of us the blessings of the Risen Lord and that his peace never leaves us or our nation,” he said.
The Archbishop said Easter Sunday is a total reversal of the gloom of Good Friday. The death of Jesus which seemed to be a defeat is represented as a triumph, a victory over sin and death.
He added that celebrating Easter for us is our desire “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and to share in his sufferings by becoming like him in his death to attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3: 10-11).
“While Christmas is only a ‘mission started’, Easter is a ‘mission accomplished’. At Easter we tell of this great mystery which brought salvation to the world and completed the story of our redemption.
“Therefore, Easter is not just one feast among others, but the“ feast of feasts ”, the“ solemnities of solemnities ”.
“An expatriate Muslim who brought me an Easter basket with very warm greetings two days ago asked me what we celebrate at Easter.
“I explained that we are celebrating the redemptive suffering and death of Jesus and the fact that he was resurrected three days after his burial, we and the whole world are illuminated by the light of his resurrection.
“For us, the fact that Jesus rose from the dead is not in question, even though the chief priests and elders bribed the soldiers to lie that the disciples stole the body of Jesus at night while the soldiers slept ( cf. Mt 28.: 11-15).
“Peter in Acts 2 and in 1 Peter 1: 17-21 reaffirms the historical certainty of the resurrection and its dramatic impact on the faith of the early Christian community,” Kaigama said.
He also explained that the resurrection is the reason for our faith.
He said that if Christ had not been resurrected our faith would have been just a myth; our sacramental celebrations would have been empty rituals and our Christianity would have been an association of simple convenience.
“But we know by conviction that Christ is dead, risen and will come again.”
At the first reading, Peter reminds his audience that he and the apostles witnessed all that Jesus did in both Judea and Jerusalem (cf. Acts 10: 38-39).
“Peter teaches that only those who truly experience Jesus can effectively testify of him.
“Witness must be a deliberate and conscious effort to live the gospel values of Christ diligently and faithfully, through words and examples wherever we are: at work, at school, at home, in a shopping mall. , family reunions or community gatherings.
“St. Paul tells us in second reading to look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (cf. Col 3: 1).
“As Easter people, we must lead the Christian race with sincerity and truth and look more at heavenly things for the world will someday pass away and heaven will be our eternal home,”
“If we are to go ‘to make disciples of all the nations’ (Mt 28, 19-20), Christ must penetrate this sacred space deep within our being in order to transform us, so that we can experience this burn. feeling of faith and saying: “Did not our hearts burn when Christ spoke to us?” (Lu 24:32), ”he said.
The Archbishop said that the Risen Christ is concerned about our unity, harmony and peaceful coexistence among the multiethnic and religious peoples of our country.
He said we should always pursue national development without rancor, exploring civilized approaches to address real or perceived grievances.
He said: “And as the former British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, said, our politicians should be prepared to be leaders rather than politicians.
“The Nigerian Catholic Bishops Conference (CBCN) believes that prayer can move mountains, which is why they have composed the ‘Prayer for Nigeria in Distress‘ and the’ Prayer Against Corruption and Corruption ‘. (NOPE)
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