Be wary of pastors and preachers who promise only fortunes, miracles and prosperity, but ignore what St. Rose of Lima said: “The cross is the only ladder by which paradise is reached, without the cross there is no road to heaven.” This summarizes the submission of the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama in a Homily he delivered recently at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Utako, Abuja. The Homilist, fresh from the imposition of the pallium on him by the Holy Father, represented by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Anthony Filipazzi, penultimate Thursday, said Christians should expect obstacles on the way for those who are just and those who want to do God’s will.
Reflecting on the readings of the day taken from the book of Jeremiah and the gospel, Archbishop Kaigama drew attention to Jeremiah’s lamentation that he had been deceived and abandoned by God to suffer in the hands of his adversaries just as Peter and Jesus experienced persecution and suffering, called on the Faithful to be prepared to suffer while remaining faithful to God. He recalled that after the euphoria of Priestly ordination of seven Priests in the Archdiocese on the Feast of Assumption, there was joy in the Archdiocese but then, he noted, working in the Lord’s vineyard is tasking and that the demands are high.
The Archbishop said that like Jeremiah who wanted to abandon his prophetic call, but God’s word was like a burning fire in his heart and was compelled to speak about the calamities that would befall his people because of their stubbornness, the Faithful should remain steadfast and see suffering as part of doing God’s will. “Our Lord Jesus knew suffering, distress and anguish from the Jewish political and religious authorities, and even his kinsmen, but remained faithful to His Father’s will to the end. Rather than consent to the counsel of Peter to avoid the way of the cross.” He said “millions of Christians want to enjoy Jesus miracles and get instant answers to their problems of finance, fertility, employment and sickness.”
But we must realise that there are dark moments and sometimes suffering will not go away no matter how much we pray, he submitted. Archbishop Kaigama said the Faithful must not give God conditions or grow rebellious, disappointed or frustrated but to courageously face the challenges of everyday life, take up their crosses to follow Jesus to the very end.