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Carrying the Cross

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Carrying the Cross

Bishop Matthew Kukah

The birth of a child is supposed to naturally elicit immeasurable joy and excitement. But it depends on the culture. Not all cultures receive the news of the birth of a child with equal joy. Sometimes, even some mothers go into panic mode at the sight of a baby girl. They are worried how their husbands will react. The birth of a boy on the other hand elicits far more joy, a feeling of fulfilment and accomplishment in a man. For the mother who has carried the pregnancy through nine months, for some women, depending on the timing, the birth of a boy elicits the feeling that she has found favour with her husband and that her marriage is now secure.

A joyful father is likely to announce the birth of a son with a louder voice than that of a girl. Today, on the phone, he might say quite loudly and almost beating his chest; My wife has given me a boy. If it is a girl, the telephone call might come late and the announcement might be; It is a baby girl. Or, my wife has delivered a baby girl. The sense of possession and ownership is fractured. Many of us as priests might recall a typical call from a Parishioner requesting the baptism of a baby. If it is a boy, the father is likely to say, Father, I will like to have my son baptised next week. If it is a girl, he is likely to say, Fr. We are thinking of bringing our baby for baptism next week. The sense of possession is in inverse proportion to the gender of the child.

Within patriarchal societies such as ours, privilege and honour come to a man, a boy, naturally by virtue of gender. Men rejoice at the birth of a boy because they say they have someone who will ensure the future of the family name or inheritance. Mother Theresa’s name is more important to Albania than that of their President. We know Malala, but do not know her parent’s names. We know Chimamanda Adichie or Ngozi Iweala. How many of us know that they are children of distinguished Professors? Sadly, Chimamanda’s father, James Nwoye Adichie died only last week. However, to give it prominence, some media houses announced; Chimamanda loses father, or Professor Adiche, father of Chimamanda, is dead! Today, these and many other girls are the custodians of the family jewels not their fathers or their male siblings. That is the way God packaged his gifts and why we must receive them with care. Every gift of God is a treasure.

Today’s reading echoes this theme and it is significant to note that our African culture is no different from the Jewish culture and its patriarchal roots. In appreciation, when the man of God, Elijah, the prophet decided to return the favour of the rich widow, he turns to Gehazi his servant to seek advice. Gehazi is quite sensitive and he knows that the family is already rich in material wealth, what they do not have is a child, but not just any child. So, when Gehazi pleads with Elijah to pray that they have a child, the Prophet is emphatic and dramatic: By this time next year, you will embrace a son!

The Old testament has a patriarchal culture embedded in it. Among the Jewish people, if a rich man’s wife was close to child birth, usually, drummers and dancers would gather around the house. For as long as it takes to wait, since times of birth were uncertain, the eating and drinking will persist until the child is born. Usually, the drummers and dancers would receive a message from inside the house to announce that the woman has gone into labour. There would be silence and everything else will depend on what happens when the cry of a new born child is heard. If it is a boy, the drummers would break into drumming and dancing with intensity. If, on the other hand, it is a girl, the news will filter only quietly until it gets to the drummers and dancers. They would then quietly and stealthily move away with their drums in total silence to their homes. Boys were a blessing, but girls were, well….

For the last one month, the world has stood still over the tragic murder of George Floyd. Soon, the public revulsion will end and life will go on. However, we must pay attention to those victims who daily cannot breathe. And for today, let us pay attention to those who cannot breathe because they are women. These include victims of; forced marriages, forced abortions, forced pregnancies in baby factories, forced slavery, rape, domestic violence, human trafficking, illiteracy, poverty etc. We cannot call ourselves Christians if we do not honour our blessed Mother and we cannot honour her without honouring motherhood.

Today, we take so much for granted in the world. The struggle for the emancipation of women is still very much a hard sell whether it is in our cultures or even in our churches. Girl education is still a challenge, forced marriages, rape, trafficking, prostitution are the lot of the young woman today. My friend Archbishop Anthony Obinna, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri told me a story of how one of the leaders of the Catholic Women in his Diocese took him to a pastor to pray against him because the Archbishop dared to say that he would officiate at the wedding of her daughter with an Osu! The young man’s education, being a Catholic, his social status, being perhaps from the same town did not matter.

In his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis, Redeemer of Man in 1979 barely one year after his papacy, St. John Paul stated that: We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life. Gender constitutes a theatre for the drama between culture of death today and we are actors not spectators.
The Gospel challenges us to carry our crosses in other to follow Christ. Living the Christian life today revolves around the choice between the flesh of unredeemed person and the spirit of the redeemed person. Both are marked by the promise of the Resurrection and the gift of the holy spirit of Christ. Living out the challenges of the redeemed person revolve around whether or not we are prepared or able to carry our crosses. What exactly does carrying the cross mean today? It can mean any or more of the following:
Doing a job you are not happy with
Living in a difficult and abusive relationship
Living with a situation of powerlessness
Losing a loved one
Caring for a terminally sick person
Living with a terminal illness
Living with a misfortune/tragedy, loss of a job
There is no one, not least myself who wishes to carry a cross. We do not go out looking for a cross. However, every cross is a gift. Life itself is a cross: those who cannot carry it commit suicide midway. We have to keep carrying it because, in faith, we know that every valley has a hill. Every night has a day. Wealth is a cross: if we do not use it well, it can make us miserable. The story of Lazarus and Dives (Lk. 16).
One day, the story goes, people gathered in prayer. Afterwards, the Priest told them that they would have to set out on a journey but each will have to carry a cross. The crosses were in the parish hall and each should carry a cross of their choice. They all entered the hall and examined the crosses. Some looked lighter than others, but in the end, each picked what they wanted. In obedience, people picked their crosses and set out. There was this gentleman who came out last because he stayed back to pray for a lighter cross. He took his own cross, but it was a bit heavy. He came up with an idea. He stopped by the carpenter’s shed, reduced the size of the cross and set out to join the others. At the end of the road, there was a river and each had to use his cross as a personal bridge. Our man got to the river and discovered his cross was too short to reach the end of the river!
Many of us are interested in fashion. Fashion designers have their trademark names. You know, there are watches and there are watches. There are perfumes and there are perfumes. There are shoes and there are shoes. There are sun glasses and there are sun glasses. There are suits an there are suits. The most important thing for the trained eye is the original maker’s trademark.
In the same way, it is not the size or the look of the cross that matters. It is the assurance that it is a gift from God. How many of us would sell a precious family treasure given to us by our parents, such as a ring or a watch without pausing to think of the implications for the family legacy? Our faithfulness to the cross is a measure of our belief in the supremacy of the will of God who has assured us that even if the world sees our cross as being heavy, with Him, it is light and if we trust in Him, He will givuwe us to strength to carry it to the end (Mt. 11:28). His living water is free and we can drink it without payment and never be thirsty again(Is. 55: 1, Jn. 4:14). Along with your cross, stand by God because; If you do not stand in faith, you will not stand at all (Is. 7: 9). Recall that God has no favourites (Acts 10:34, Rom. 2:11). Therefore, I encourage you to hold your cross as a precious gift from God. You will need it at the heavenly stock exchange. Remember George Bennard’s priceless song in 1912:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So, I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
And I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

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With 208 Million COVID-19 Cases and 5 Million Deaths Worldwide, The Most Reliable Covid-19 Vaccine Remains JESUS!

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*Why COVID-19 will not go away, It’s the end time pestilence the Bible spoke about

Luke 21:10-11

10 Then Jesus told them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.
11 There will be violent earthquakes, and in various places famines and [deadly and devastating] pestilences (plagues, epidemics); and there will be terrible sights and great signs from heaven.
In the history of the world, there has never been a time where 200 million people and counting were afflicted with a pandemic. There was never a time where five million people died of a particular disease as we have in the case of COVID-19.
Five million at the last count, many more are still dying!
These are human beings not chickens, both the old, the young, the tender and new born babies!
In Nigeria, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said so far, there are 183,444, confirmed cases, 13,756 active cases, 2,229 deaths, that is, reported ones and 167,459 cases discharged.
Globally, according to the reports made available to the World Health Organisation (WHO) as of 6:28pm August 17, 2021, there have been “207,784,507 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,370,424 deaths, reported to WHO.
“As of August 16, 2021, a total of 4,462,336,040 vaccine doses have been administered”, it said.

Wild Fires

Wild fires ravaging some parts of the world are also another end time sign.
As at today, 104 large fires have burned 2.2m acres of land in 12 American States.
Wild fires have also consumed 15,000 meters of landscape in different countries. Even Siberia, the coldest place on earth by its freezing temperature, is also ravaged by wildfires!
Greece, Turkey, Germany are battling wild fires and massive flooding while Haiti is reeling with a a devastating earthquake that has killed close to 2000 people.
When and where have you seen fires burning 12 American states at the same time and Siberia, believed to be the coldest place on earth!!!
Science has attributed it to climate change but that position is neither here nor there.

God is Furious and Angry with His Children But Still Mercifully Revealing the End time Signs to Them

He says in Isaiah 45:22:”Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”
There will be more cases and more variants of COVID-19 with many more vaccines which may not be the ultimate cure to the pandemic.

In his perspective, Gary Ray, a writer for the prophecy website, Unsealed, and some of his fellow evangelical End-Times writers are focused on what is happening with holy sites in Israel, not disease.
“The key focus that we have in our minds is Israel. That’s God’s prophetic clock. As things progress in that country, we get closer to when the rapture of the church will occur, and then the tribulation,” he said.
Ray, who lives near Dallas, pointed out that there have been many pandemics in world history, and none of them have been a token of an approaching apocalypse. But this one might be different, he acknowledged — because of an astrological event in 2017 that Ray read as fulfilling a prophecy in Revelation.
“Jesus said there would be pestilences and great signs in the heavens. And sure enough, both of those things are happening together.”
In Ray’s opinion, these portents should send non-Christians rushing toward the Bible, so they can convert while there is still time before the Christians are raptured and everyone else has to endure the wretched seven years.
“God is a very gracious God,” he said. “He wants the most possible people to be saved. He’s giving sign after sign after sign, and they’re very clear.”

Conclusion

Most importantly, the message to you should be: repent and give your life to Jesus, worship God as He said on worship days and do what is expected of you. Join a group in the church, sanctuary, security, ushers, media, fellowship groups, evangelism groups among others and serve God, follow His commandments and you will be saved.
Do not delude yourself with worldly arguments that “the end time has always being talked about but it has not happened”. That is the devil’s strategy to keep you shackled until it’s too late.
The Lord told me last year that “the mightily pronounced day is here”. I searched for the mightily pronounced day in the Bible and I came up with “Last Day” and Judgement Day”.
My understanding of that message is that this (COVID-19, wild fires and other end time signs) is the beginning of the end! Wake up!

References:

1. Luke 21:10-11

2. Isaiah 45:22

3. World Health Organisation (WHO), (Website, COVID-19 update)

4. Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) (Website, COVID-19 update)

5 Washington Post, March 17, 2020 edition

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God Has Designated satan for the Bottomless Pit as Punishment

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Our God, the creator of heaven and earth, is such a merciful God. He loves His children dearly and everything He made with His hands.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know Him”. (1 John 3:1)
Even with our sinful nature, as soon as we repent of our sins and give our lives to Jesus, we are forgiven.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
He is also fierce in dealing with those who are unrepentant and condemned; his enemies, because as you know, He is a fierce combatant, He is a mighty man of war, the leader of the heavenlies armies!
He is the Lord, strong and mighty and He is the Lord mighty in battle!

satan and the Bottomless Pit

Have you ever wondered what the appropriate punishment would be for a blood-thirsty aggressor like satan, whom the scriptures described as one who came to kill, steal and destroy. He has killed, stolen and destroyed the children of God from generation to generation because of our sins.
Sometimes, I wonder if their is any punishment that is commensurate with the atrocities committed by satan, the devil and the evil one, since the beginning of man’s creation.
Recall that God created hell for satan and his corterrie of fallen angels, who have continued to wreck havoc as the end approaches.
But God is the master planner. He devised a punishing strategy to ensure that the evil one feels the pain of his atrocities.
He will send him into a bottomless pit (abyss). Imagine him falling into the pit and screaming wildly as he plunges, a fall without an end. What a sanction!
Revelation 20:3 says “He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time”.
A thousand years of falling without an end!
The punishment reserved for his followers (witches, wizards, sorcerers, glory traders, destiny theives etcetera) are no different. They will go to hell where the fire 🔥 will burn them forever and ever.
Must we subject ourselves to this horrific experience instead of following the teachings and commandments of Jesus?
He only needs us to repent and give our lives to JESUS, work in the kingdom of God while there is time.
Brethren! This is end time! Give your life to Jesus 🙏 now!

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Insecurity, Nepotism: There Would Have Been a Coup If Buhari Was Not President, Says Bishop Kukah

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A Nation in Search of Vindication

Christmas 2020 Message by Matthew Hassan KUKAH, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto

1: Another Christmas with Dark Clouds of Death: Let me paraphrase the holy prophet Isaiah who said: “For Jerusalem (Nigeria’s sake), I will not be silent until her vindication shines forth like the dawn…..No more shall people call you forsaken, or your land desolate, but you shall be called my delight and your land espoused.” (Is. 62:1,4).
Against the backdrop of our endless woes, ours has become a nation wrapped in desolation. The prospects of a failed state stare us in the face: endless bloodletting, a collapsing economy, social anomie, domestic and community violence, kidnappings, armed robberies etc.
Ours has become a house of horror with fear stalking our homes, highways, cities, hamlets and entire communities.
The middle grounds of optimism have continued to shift and many genuinely ask, what have we done to the gods? Does Nigeria have a future? Where can we find hope?
Like the Psalmist, we ask; from where shall come our help? (Ps.121:1). Whatever the temptations to despair, we cannot to give up. When the Psalmist asked where help shall come from, he answered that it will come from the Lord. Therefore, like Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, we Priests must stand before the mercy seat of God and plead the cause of our great country (Lk. 1:8).
Like Abraham, we must plead for the Lord to save our nation because we have more than ten righteous men (Gen. 18: 16ff). Like Moses, we believe that as long as our hands are held up in prayer, the Lord will be on our side ( Ex. 17:11). These are trying but life changing moments in the history of our nation. Politics and Economics alone will not resolve our problems. There is enough hate and bitterness to go around. We need to pause, reflect, pray, be honest and courageous in facing tomorrow.
Yes, our dreams have been aborted. Yes, our commonwealth has been stolen. Yes, our cancer of corruption has metastasized. Yes, we have been guilty of patricide, fratricide and attempted even suicide. Yes, we are hungry, angry, thirsty and starving. Yet, we stand firmly with the unshaken belief that no matter the temptations, the world has known worst times.
These may be the worst of times, but for men and women of faith, they could be the best of times. We must stand firm and resolute because, our redeemer liveth (Job 19:25). 2: Annus Mirabilis or Annus Horribilis? The roads to the graveyards are busier than those to the farms.
Amidst the wails and laments, I hear the congregants saying; the world is coming to an end, it has never been so bad. Yes, people are dying, but they are not dying more now than they did in recent years. It is the social media and its connectivity that has given us a sense of greater urgency and added to our seeming despair with the way things are.
The social media is value neutral. It depends on what we make of it. Its instantaneous impact is often times dizzyingly traumatic, but the other benefits more than compensate. In a way, the choices we make will help us decide whether this year is our annus mirabilis or annus horribilis.
When Isaac Newton, at the age of 23, made the spectacular discoveries in the areas of Calculus, Motion, Optics, and Gravitation, the year of those discoveries, 1666, was referred to as, annus mirabilis, the year of joy.
On the other hand, in 1992, when the marriages of three of her children collapsed, Queen Elizabeth in her Christmas address referred to that year as her annus horribilis, the year of horror. As such, notwithstanding all the earth shaking impact of the Covid-19, our own individual, communal and national tragedies, it is not just a choice between annus mirabilis and annus horribilis. At various levels, there have been grey areas of hope, flickers of light, achievement and so on.
It to these flickers of hope that we must cling tenaciously. For our son, Anthony Joshua, the loss of his title to Andy Ruis on June 1, 2019 after 25 fights without a loss, that year was his annus horribilis.
When he pummeled Kubrat Pulev, this year became his annus mirabilis. Things change and, joy or sorrow, we must know that nothing lasts forever. What matters is how we handle failure.
3: Another Christmas in Cloud of Doom: Not unexpectedly, this Christmas is again coming against a backdrop of so much pain, sorrow and uncertainty in our land. We all seem to have become sedated and inured to pain. Tragedy has been standing as our gate keeper. For over ten years now, at almost each Christmas, a dark pall of horror, sorrow and death has consistently hung in our horizon threatening to eclipse the promises of the joy of Christmas.
Recall the bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla on Christmas day in 2011. In the wake of the Christmas day bombing, I issued a statement titled, An Appeal to Nigerians. In the statement which enjoyed a wide circulation, I stated: All of this should cause us to pause and ponder about the nature of the force of evil that is in our midst and appreciate the fact that contrary to popular thinking, we are not faced with a crisis or conflict between Christians and Muslims. Rather, like the friends of Job, we need to humbly appreciate the limits of our human understanding. Terror is a product of hate, but while hate tries to divide us, terror and death should pull us together.
4: Is Government in Suspended Animation?: As our country drifts almost rudderless, we seem like people travelling without maps, without destination and with neither Captain nor Crew.
Citizens have nowhere to turn to. After he assumed power, a delegation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference had audience with President Buhari. In the course of our discussion, the President shared with us his frustration over the state of decay and rut that he had met. In frustration, I vividly recalled him saying that, from the decay and neglect, it seemed as if preceding governments had been doing nothing but just eating and going to the toilet! Looking back, one might conclude that those were happy times because at least there was food to eat and people could go to the toilet. Now, a journey to the toilet is considered by the poor an extra luxury. Our country’s inability to feed itself is one of the most dangerous signs of state failure and a trigger to violence. 5: Breaking the Ice: From Chibok through Dapchi to Kankara: The sleepy town of Kankara, just 130 kilometers outside Katsina, like Chibok and Dapchi before it, has leapt into prominence not because they now have potable water, electricity or any dramatic improvement in the quality of their lives. Rather, it is because of large footprints of the evil men who have passed through their terrain. As always, we were unsure of how many children were missing: 80, 820, 800, 500, 520, 333, 320,no one knew.
The numbers kept changing between the government and Boko Haram. The story of Chibok and Dapchi was for some time, a metaphor that exposed the vulnerability of the girl child. Kankara has added to the mix and now we have to face the mortal dangers of the Nigerian child in northern Nigeria.
The Almajiri is the poster child of the horrible and inhuman conditions of the northern child. It is a best kept secret that the region refuses to confront but it has now exposed its underbelly. Now, what next for the children of the north? In another ten or twenty years, these children will be leaders in their communities. What will they remember and how will they remember? Their fate and future are a dream deferred, a nightmare that will be ignited by the fire next time. We thank God that the children have been returned safely. This is the easy part. The challenge now is how to deal with the scars inflicted by a derelict nation which is still unable or unwilling to protect its citizens. Yes, we commend the federal and state governments for the rescue operation. The larger issues now are whether the federal government understands the evil web of intrigues into which Boko Haram has tied it. Will the federal government continue to reward and fund Boko Haram by playing its game?
How long can this circle of deceit last for given that every kidnap merely strengthens their arsenal? The men of darkness have shown far greater capacity to shock and awe a forlorn nation by constantly blindsiding us all. When will it all end? 6:
A Nation in Search of Vindication: This government owes the nation an explanation as to where it is headed as we seem to journey into darkness. The spilling of this blood must be related to a more sinister plot that is beyond our comprehension.
Are we going to remain hogtied by these evil men or are they gradually becoming part of a larger plot to seal the fate of our country? President Buhari deliberately sacrificed the dreams of those who voted for him to what seemed like a programme to stratify and institutionalise northern hegemony by reducing others in public life to second class status. He has pursued this self-defeating and alienating policy at the expense of greater national cohesion. Every honest Nigerian knows that there is no way any non-Northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Buhari has done by his nepotism and gotten away with it.
There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war. The President may have concluded that Christians will do nothing and will live with these actions. He may be right and we Christians cannot feel sorry that we have no pool of violence to draw from or threaten our country.
However, God does not sleep. We can see from the inexplicable dilemma of his North.
7: Nepotism and the Worship of False Gods: It is curious that President Buhari’s partisanship and commitment to reinforcing the foundations of northern hegemony have had the opposite consequences. For a long time, beyond the pall of politics, very prominent northerners with a conscience have raised the red flag, pointing out the consequences of President Buhari’s nepotism on national cohesion and trust. With time, as hunger, poverty, insecurity engulfed the north, the President’s own supporters began to despair and lament about the state of their collective degradation. Was this not supposed to be their song? The north that the President sought to privilege has become a cauldron of pain and a valley of dry bones. Today, the north itself is crying the most and why not? No one has suffered as much as they have and continue to. The helplessness is palpable and the logic is incomprehensible. One Northern Imam after the other have posted videos of lamentation on the social media asking why, with all the cards of power in the hands of northern Muslims, everything is bursting in the seams.
How come our region has become a cesspool of blood and death? Why did President Buhari hand over a majority of the plum jobs to Northern Muslims? Was it for efficacy and efficiency? What was the logic? President Buhari must pause and turn around because his policy of nepotism has been rejected by the gods. During the Endsars Protests, the north pretended that it was ensconced from the pain that was driving the protests and that they had nothing to complain about.
The northern elites claimed that the protests were part of a plot by Christians to overthrow a northern, Muslim government. Their sentiments false, but understandable. However, it turned out to be the lull before the storm. The dam soon broke as the bandits tightened their grip on the region as the spiral of kidnappings, abductions and killings of innocent citizens intensified.
The North spurn into denouement: the idea of a united north seems to have ended. The northern Governors’ Forum has split into the three zones. With the killings, kidnappings and abductions of Emirs and other traditional rulers in the north, the signals have gone out that no one is safe and nothing is sacred.
In the wake of the Endsars protests, the traditional rulers across the country assembled to express solidarity with the President. Then it all changed. The Emir of Katsina, the President’s home state, only recently said; We cannot continue to live like animals. I have not seen this type of country. His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar said that the north has now become the worst part of the entire country.
The Senate whose leadership is almost totally dominated by Northern Muslims has raised alarm. The Northern Elders’ Forum has called on the President to resign.
Has the politics of nepotism run its course? Perhaps, the spirit of Christmas should offer us an answer.
8: A People that Walked in Darkness has Seen a Great Light. The rut and decay in our country today is evidence of a people who have not yet seen the light. The experience of northern Nigeria is evidence that nepotism is a counterfeit currency.
The nation must therefore now pull together. It is not enough to blame the military. After all, they neither run the economy or the bureaucracy. It is not enough to blame even the political class or even the President alone. We found our way here by the choices we have made as a nation over time.
Indeed, the colonialists claimed that they were bringing light to a dark continent. In a way, despite the cost, we could see ingredients of their light; good education, running water, relatively good roads, security, among others. We finally accepted Democracy as the platform for actualizing these. However, today, there is evidence that we have literally returned to the cave, those times when life was brutish, nasty and short.
Each and every one of us has contributed to the darkness of our nation. The light of Christ which we all received at baptism calls on us to act in the mind of Christ. To be a follower of Christ is to be in his footsteps. This moment calls on us as Christians to celebrate the simplicity of Christ represented in Christmas. Joy to the world, the Lord has come, the song says.
Jesus has offered us a roadmap. We are challenged to bring light into the darkness of our society. Darkness has its own logic. St Paul reminds us without Christ, our lives are characterised by; immorality, filthy and indecent actions, worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight, they become jealous, angry, and ambitious.
They separate into parties and groups, they are envious, get drunk and have orgies (Gal. 5: 19-21). When it is dark, we cannot see our way and we stumble.
Nigeria has stumbled so much. It is time to for us to turn on the light of the torch. Each of us can make a change.
9: Wailers and Redeemers: Finally, today, amidst the pains and the trials, we can say with the Psalmist: Our tears have become our bread (Ps. 43:2). We have no reason to doubt that at the fulfilment of time, in His own time, the Lord will dispense justice to our nation. It will come as day follows light. Our brother Femi Adesina, a Pastor of the Four Square Gospel Church was right when he referred to those who were calling attention to our situation as Wailers. The wailing started quite early in the day.
To the herdsmen across Nigeria whose cattle have been lost to rustlers, bandits, or lightening, the Prophet Zechariah said: There is a sound of a shepherd’s wail for their glory has been ruined (Zech 11:3). To the thousands of widows left to mourn their husbands or children across our country, the Prophet Jeremiah is saying; Send for the wailing women, that they may come! Let them make haste and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may shed tears and our eyelids flow with water (Jer. 9: 17).
For our hapless nation overrun by bandits? Prophet Jeremiah still says; A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more (Jer. 31:15).
So, Pastor Adesina was right. On the sad situation in Nigeria, the United Nations has wailed. The Pope has wailed. Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Pastors have wailed. Emirs have wailed. Politicians have wailed. The Sultan has wailed. Surely, it is time for the Lord to hear the wailer as they have sung their redemption songs.
With St. Paul, I say: The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over the day is almost here, so let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Rom. 13:11-12).
Let us unite and seek the Lord in sincerity because the Lord will vindicate the righteous. Happy Christmas to you all.

Matthew Hassan KUKAH Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto

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