The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, has lamented the poverty situation in the country, urging the Federal government to make conscious efforts geared towards poverty alleviation in the country.
Archbishop Kaigama made the plea during his homily on Sunday at the Sacred Heart Parish, Airport Road, Abuja.
His grace said leaders must be alive to their responsibilities, in order to reduce the fatigue associated with daily life.
According to the Archbishop: “As Jesus identified with the sick, the suffering and downtrodden, our leaders must make conscious efforts to alleviate people’s suffering.
“Today that farmers cannot go to farm for fear of bandits and kidnappers, children are not safe in school and youths are frustrated to the point desperation. Leaders must wake up to their responsibilities, to help heal the trauma of poverty, the psychological stress of insecurity and the fatigue of daily life”.
Kaigama further noted that: “The type of faith we demonstrate in pilots or doctors is the type of faith we should demonstrate in our political leaders. But they must first be exemplary, selfless in service and sensitive to the needs of people under their care, especially in the use of public resources.
“Leaders can command the respect of people only when they don’t pursue their personal comfort or engage in an arrogant display of wealth and the paraphernalia of power”.
While speaking on the readings of the day, the Archbishop stated thus: “Faith and good work must go together. Do not abandon work for prayers or be working when you should be praying. We need to budget our time well. Instead of going on a retreat or spending time fasting on a mountain on a day of work, you should be at your work.
“Faith that tells you not to seek medical treatment is not a mature faith. We must combine faith and reason. A man whose house is on fire but chooses to pray the rosary has a naive faith,” he said.
He added: “In the Gospel, Jairus is described as a synagogue official, a man of considerable standing in the Jewish community. He approached Jesus and asked Him to heal his very sick daughter. On the other hand, was the woman with an incurable hemorrhage for 12 years, left physically weak, religiously ostracized, socially isolated and economically drained. She was as good as dead! In faith she sought secretly to touch Jesus’ garment. Right there and then she received healing.
“Things we should learn today: The request for healing in each story is a courageous act of faith. Both the woman and the little girl were dead before their encounter with Jesus Christ. What is striking in the story is the faith of the woman and Jairus who refused to stop at anything till their persistent faith got them their hearts desires – new life.
“In the Gospel story of the woman with the issue of blood and Jairus, we learn that God gives each one of us the opportunity to touch Him. At Mass when we touch Jesus in faith, we can receive physical or spiritual healing.
Our challenges should bring us closer to God rather than drive us away from Him because “with God all things are possible” (Mt. 19:26).
“Do not allow people’s attitude to discourage you from getting what you need from God. The crowd did not deter the woman with haemorrhage and Jairus. Psalms 50:15 urges us to call on God in the day of trouble; He will answer us and deliver us.
God grants our petitions because of our faith. Remember, the woman lived in her condition for 12 years until she showed faith in Jesus, and got healed touching the fringe of His garment. Jesus told her, “Go in peace, your faith has made you well” (Mk. 5:34).
“We must be patient and consistent in our prayers – the woman prayed for 12 years. Jairus never stopped believing even when he was told his daughter was already dead. Philippians 4:13 assures us that with faith we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. No problem is too complicated for Jesus to solve”.
(CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE OF NIGERIA)