By Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo
Lent, is a 40-day season of great hope for Christians. Leading up to Easter, it calls for repentance, the mobilisation of all human, material, and spiritual resources to attract God’s mercy and favour on our personal lives and that of our country. This is important for longsuffering, exasperated Nigerians especially as we elect new leaders to lead us into the future. L E N T says: “Leave Every Negative Thing, Let Evil Not Triumph” Call it a period for restoration, recovery and you would be right. It is a time when we are really knocking on heaven’s door for help.
By the ashes received on Ash Wednesday, we are called to repentance humility and love. Jesus said: “Repent and believe the good news.” The focus of Christians, observing prayer and fasting, is to get close to God in love, holiness, and good works for we cannot claim to be Christians without bearing fruits of good works. Faith without works is dead (Jam. 2:20). Doing good works means living a truthful life by shunning falsehood and deceit. In Lent we fast not only from food and drink but also from doing evil such as murder, cheating, lying, infidelity stealing, hoarding, calumny, backbiting and all sorts of wickedness.
The three pillars of Lent, prayer, fasting and almsgiving must go together. Praying and fasting without good works is hollow religion. In the election period Christians must resist selling and buying of votes, lying, thuggery and all criminality.
Lent requires humility in recognition that God is supreme and that he will judge everybody. Christians’ conduct, during Lent should demonstrate trust in God and his word which says: “If my people who are bear my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my presence and turn from their wicked ways, then I will listen from heaven and forgive their sins and restore their country” (2Chron. 7:14). Beyond all human effort, we must trust God to write even on crooked lines and use anyone.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Nigeria.