Christians throughout Nigeria, especially Catholic faithful, have been called upon to shed their toga of complacency and use all they have to reach-out with the Good News of Christ without counting the costs; even in the face of persecution.
The call was made by the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah in his homily during the celebration of the Mass at St Gabriel’s Chaplaincy, Durumi, Abuja, recently. According to him, it is an irony that instead of giving everything they have, including their lives, to spread the Gospel of Christ, Christians continue to remain in their shells and keep complaining about Muslims attempting to Islamize the country.
Bishop Onah used the analogies of the reading of the day where Noah after the deluge sent out the Raven three times to find out the situation of the earth and the bird did not return after the third time; and that of the family where parents have their children with them always until when they are matured to start their own life; to buttress his point.
His words: “Noah sent out a dove, the raven, first time it found no place to perch, next time it came with a leave, and the final time it left and never came back again. From all intent and purposes that was a loss, Noah has taken some time to pick the members of this ark, of the household so to speak. Following other command and perhaps he may have had also his plans for resettling them but this bird this time did not come back again and rather than grieve Noah celebrated and give thanks to God”.
He continued: “May I tell parents here that it happens to you regularly as long as your son or your daughter keeps coming back every night to your house you may not have every reason to celebrate, but by the time he or she comes and it is evening and he or she said mom or dad I am sorry but I must go. Then it is a gain, she is loss to you as member of the household there, but it is gain because she has found her destiny, he has found his mission, he has found his own life.
The Catholic Bishops Conference Episcopal Chairman for Social communications urged people to note that stated that “very often the things we hold back never realize what God meant for them; whether they are talents, persons or other gifts, material or spiritual. Once we keep holding them back they will never realize the purpose for which God made them. Noah saved humanity, saved creation and from Noah’s ark life was born anew”. He called on the faithful to emulate Noah by using all they have to continue the salvation mission work of Christ on earth, by using all they have to preach the Good News
Bishop Onah called on Christians in Nigeria to stop giving excuses for not living up to expectation in their faith after receiving the Holy Spirit. He said: “I like to remind Nigerians, especially Nigerians Christians that it is unfortunate that so many Christian so many Catholics over thirty, forty million Catholics in Nigeria don’t consider themselves enough to perform the functions that inmate of Noah ark performed at the end of the flood. You will tell me God cleared every other living thing for the inmate of the ark for them to be able to perform; so you will need to clear every bad person from Nigeria, before the good ones can perform. But that is not necessarily true, if we consider the newness, the force we have because of the gospel then we should see the challenges we have and renew the face of the earth.”
He urged Christians to stop complaining about the expansion of Islam asking that what efforts have they made to preach the Gospel to Moslems or even the Fulani Cattle Herdsmen. He added: “Muslims are at your door steps, in your market, in your offices; who has told them about Christ? We complain about the Fulani herdsmen, who has tried to convert them; what opportunity do they have to hear an alternative to the only way they know of worshipping God?”
Bishop Onah concluded: “I have not seen yet maybe my record of history is not correct a country that is predominantly Muslim and has now become Christian but there are many countries that were predominantly Christian but have now become Muslim. Very soon two third or Europe will be Muslim and Nigerians will say it is not our lot in Jesus name.
He added: “Except we do something about it and that thing is, we have to question and challenge our comfort as Christians and be able to go like the dove from Noah’s ark and bring that message to them. Some of us may die trying to do that but that is the only way Christianity can spread.”