By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has exhorted Christians to choose between Christianity and paganism, saying that going to Church on daily basis and occupying lofty positions is not enough reason to be called a true Christian.
Bishop Ezeokafor who stated this at Christ the King Parish (CKP), Isuaniocha, in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, while delivering a homily, described a true Christian as one who does not attach much importance to earthly possessions, adding that some Christians who frequented the House of God, lacked proper understanding of what Christianity entailed.
‘You have to choose between Christianity and paganism. Neo paganism is wrong. It is unchristian to be going to Church and still be patronizing or hobnobbing with idol worshippers. It is either you are a Christian or you are a pagan. You cannot be blowing hot and cold at the same time. You must choose one,’ the bishop said.
He admonished those who, he said, were after one position or the other in the Church, yet paid little or no attention to their spiritual lives.
‘That you are chairman or secretary of this and that is not enough. Holding different positions and serving in different capacities in the Church without living a Christ-like life is a waste of time. It will not take you anywhere. Think more about eternity,’ Bishop Ezeokafor exhorted.
The bishop who was visiting the parish for the first time since 2012, stated that anyone who placed or paid more attention to their wealth, beauty, intelligence, husband, wife, children and earthly acquisitions, had already relegated God to the background.
‘Once you start paying so much attention to a particular thing, you have already started worshipping that thing. That thing automatically becomes your God. Some of us here, if you ask them to choose between God and earthly things, they will abandon the former,’ he said.
The chief shepherd of Awka Catholic Diocese urged Christians to always show their faith and gratitude to God by contributing to the growth of the Church.
The Catholic prelate stressed the need for people to stop over-emphasizing their positions but to endeavour to use such positions to help others and make God proud of them.
The Local Ordinary observed that one of the problems of today’s society could be traced to people claiming what they were not.
He therefore advised Christians to learn to be humble from John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, pointing out that humility was key to heaven.
According to him, Christ had no need to be baptized as He had no original sin, neither did He need to receive the Holy Spirit nor to be a Christian.
‘But He brought Himself low to be baptized by John, even when John himself objected,’ the bishop stated.
Speaking on the essence of Pastoral Visit, Bishop Ezeokafor said the visit availed him the opportunity to interface with the congregation, just as it afforded the parishioners the opportunity to see and know their bishop.
He charged the newly confirmed candidates to be steadfast, obedient and prayerful, while enjoining Christians to be vigilant and be ready to fight for their faith, noting that certain believers of a particular religion were trying hard to suppress Christianity in Nigeria.
For the part of John the Baptist, the Catholic prelate, stated that John exhibited a lot of humility by not accepting that he was the Messiah, even when people were asking him to declare himself the Messiah.
In a vote of thanks, the Parish Priest of Christ the King Parish, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Ekwealili, CSSP, thanked the bishop for making out time to come.