AS LENT BEGINS
The annual spiritual exercise of walking with the Lord begins on the 26th February, 2020; it is another period for us Christians to reflect on our attitude and way of life. This is the season of conversion; the season to improve our relationship with our God. (Joel 2:12) challenge us to return to the Lord, and Isaiah 58 also explained the kind of fast the Lord is expecting of us.
The Holy father Pope Francis said “Lent is a favorable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church through fasting, prayer, and almsgiving”.
The world in general and Nigeria in particular has been a city of self-centeredness. The country is full of paradoxes. Affluence and poverty walking hand in hand, greed and openness stay together, while people cannot afford a meal per day, some are burying million of naira in a pit, in farm house, in water tank, inside soak away, some money are in hard currency buried away from usage and people are dying. 1 Timothy 6:10 says “the love of money is the root of all evil.” There is no love of God, no love of our fellow human being. In a situation where we love material wealth more than our fellow human beings (an image of God), we can see how our minds has been corrupted?
The news in Nigeria recently is disheartening, everyday, millions of dollars, naira, euro and pounds are being unearth where they were buried. Ministers, governors, even head of states and lots of former governors and ministers starch away money in foreign lands where they might not be able to reach again. And people are dying; people cannot afford good hospital, insurgency in the North-East, militancy in Niger Delta, virtually all the food prices are out of reach for the common people, yet politicians are carrying our wealth outside. Where is the love? Where do we put the love of God? People still wasting food and other resources while some cannot eat once a day. Twenty-two years after the death of Abacha, his loots are still coming in, yet people did not learn from him. How much did he take along?
Another period of reconciliation has come when we pray, we fast and give alms, how do you go about it? Can all the stolen money be returned for the benefit of all? Can the food prices come down for the masses? If we cannot afford rice can you make garri affordable? Please help the poor at this lent and care for the other fellow men those whom Pope Francis called ‘gift’.
As usual, for the next six weeks, pray, fast, give alms and go to confession. Let us not be concerned about ourselves alone. Let us take almsgiving seriously at this period. The benefits of almsgiving are immeasurable. Tobit 12:8-9 says “prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness….. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold. For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life”.
The book of Sirach3:30 says “as waster extinguishes a blazing fire, so does almsgiving atones for sins”. How often do we evaluate our relationship with others? Lenten period is a period to retreat, to evaluate, to re-prioritize and re-focus. By April 12th, 2020, we would have been done with this year’s lent, will there be any difference in our way of life?. Wishing you a happy Lenten season.
OMONIJO MICHAEL ADEDAYO
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