YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF OUR LADY QUEEN AND PATRONESS OF NIGERIA (1)

YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF OUR LADY QUEEN AND PATRONESS OF NIGERIA

HOMILY THEME: Yes, there is still Hope for Nigeria.

BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu

 

HOMILY:

_“Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” *Matthew 2:13*_

In Nigeria, October First is our independence day; a day that marked our freedom from British Colonial Rule. However, many continue to wonder if we were ripe enough to be made an independent nation fifty-eight years ago and if that independence was real. Today, the greatest threat to our sovereignty as a nation is the issue of borrowing and heavy dependence on foreign aid which are systematically designed to keep their recipients in perpetual poverty. Nevertheless, as we mark our independence, hope is all we can hold on to.

It is in the light of this hope that our first reading today is taken from a portion of Isaiah that speaks of a time when things would be well. It says: “On that day, there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse…” Re-reading this passage in Nigerian terms, it would appear like this: “On that day, there shall come forth by Divine Appointment, a leader and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, a spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord… He shall not steal our money… he shall not take sides on issues… he shall decide with equity for the meek… he shall not tell us lies… righteousness shall be the belt of his waist…”

In fact, when this God-appointed leader comes, the Psalmist sings: “In his days, shall justice flourish and great peace forever.” He shall save the needy when they cry, the poor, and those who are helpless, he will not send Military men after innocent citizens, he will not go on months of medical tourism while our hospitals have become dignified mortuaries, he will not send his children to school abroad while our universities lie in shambles, he will allow free and fair elections, he will not go borrowing monies that will eventually be looted and never get to the grassroots.

This is our hope, this is why we call on our Mother Mary to beg God to give us such a leader. A leader who will bring peace like Jesus Christ who as our second reading says, destroyed the hostility among men through the Cross. We need a leader who will not encourage division through one-sided political appointments whereby key offices are given to persons not because of what they are capable of doing but simply because of where they come from.

We are so assured that things will be well for this country Nigeria as we ask Mary’s intercession. Apart from the fact that she quickly intervened at the wedding feast at Cana, Mary is a woman who understands the meaning of hardship. Our Gospel passage today tells us how Joseph had to wake Mary up in the middle of the night just a few days after she delivered the baby Jesus to run to Egypt. Mind you, Mary was already stressed up from the journey they embarked upon to take a census, they had nowhere to stay other than a manger where animals were kept and she gave birth without the help of midwives or professional medical care.

The fact that Nigeria is such a very religious country, many have had the course to make a mockery of all our prayers and spiritual activities. I have heard even Preachers use Nigeria as a point of reference to say: “If prayers alone can bring progress, Nigeria will be the most developed nation in the world.” From a positive perspective, our religiosity defines us a people of faith, a people who continue to pray like the widow seeking justice from the unjust Judge. Dear friends, the fact that things aren’t working yet does not mean our prayers and prayerfulness is in vain. Let us continue to pray for this country as we work for its progress.

Finally, let us Love our fellow Nigerians, let us think not only of what Nigeria can do for us but what we can do for Nigeria.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, your mother understands hardship, as we honour her today as Queen of Nigeria, may she intercede for Nigeria. Amen.

Happy Independence Day. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Feast of Our Lady Queen of Nigeria. October 1st. Bible Study: Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-17, Ephesians 2:13-22 and Matthew 2:13-15.19-23).

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