The picture created by the Prophet Isaiah in the first reading of today, could be compared to the current scene in our country Nigeria, and quite adrem at this time when the country is marking her 57th Independence Anniversary. The prophet was writing about how injustice has become the order of the day among the chosen People of God. It was also at a time, when the poor in the society were marginalized, corruption was everywhere, and so many abominable things were happening.

It was in the height of all these anomaly that God’s voice was heard through his prophet Isaiah. That same voice of God is also re-echoing through the word of God, at this time in our country Nigeria when the justice system of the country is already with a big question mark. It is no longer news that so many are already agitating on their perceived marginalization. It is no longer news that the tension and war cry is on a daily increase in our country. It is no longer news of the rate of insecurity in our country, which has cost the lives of some of our Catholic priests, and many innocent Christians and citizens. The question that keep reoccurring in this state of seeming hopelessness are: When will the prophecy of Isaiah (11: 6-8) about a time of peace when the lion and lamb will live in harmony, and children play with dangerous animals and remain unharmed, be realized? Is there any hope for a relative peace and understanding on earth again, even in our various families and our communities?

Surely peace is possible, and Jesus Christ is the answer. If we can align ourselves to him as members of God’s family, we can be sure of the better days already prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah. For we are a house built on the foundation of the apostles, and the prophets, of which Jesus is the cornerstone. We must join together with Jesus and become a holy temple (Eph. 2: 20-21), if we must achieve peace. It is only then that the Jews and the Gentles will come to the Father through the Holy Spirit, just as the second reading tells us. The Christians and Moslems by extension will also share a bond of love and understanding. And so also other religions, and among different tribes, races, classes, countries and beyond.

All these may not happen overnight as fast as we may want them, but we shall continue to live in hope and confidence in God. The gospel of today left us with a model of how the holy family survived such hard times in the earthly days of Joseph and Mary. Joseph harkened the to voice of the angel that came to him in a dream, by taking refuge in Egypt with his family until the crisis in Judaea was over. We also have to listen to the voice of God in order to know how to cope in our difficult moments. Jesus’ return from Egypt and the relocation of the Holy Family to Nazareth aligned Jesus to the prophecy that he will be called a Nazarene (Matt. 2:23), and lay credence to his Messiahship. We must remember that God’s ways are not our ways. Sometimes, what we conceive as problem are not meant to destroy us, but to make us stronger and activate God’s plan for us.

What then are we to be doing as good citizens as we wait for God’s intervention in our country and situations?

a) We must not relent in prayers for God to give us good leaders and bring peace to our country Nigeria if we must remain as one.

b) We have to begin the change we have always desired from our family and communities.

C) We have to eschew greediness in our relationship with others, and the organizations at our care.

d) Remember to vote the credible people to lead us, and not people who lure our vote with money but do not have our welfare at heart.

E) Always train your children with the fear of God, so that they will grow up to become good citizens and better leaders of tomorrow who will not repeat the mistakes of the past.

As we live in hope that the message of hope from the scriptures will come true in our lives, we pray that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patroness of Nigeria, that God will grant a lasting peace to our country (Nigeria). Amen.

By: Fr Justin Nzekwe



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