Dear Friends in Christ, I wonder how I am to talk about love with a broken heart, I wonder if there is any connection between love and pain, how do I convince people that love alone is the answer? When deep inside me, all I want to do is cry, curse, and rebel. The Nation is in pain especially with the turn of events of 20/10/2020, when innocent young citizens protesting against the evils in their land were ruthlessly slaughtered. A lot of families are broken and in pain, the oppression is just too much to bear, yet we are invited to love.
The first reading from the book of Exodus, sounded more like a warning on incurring the wrath of God and a lot of its message favours the defenseless and the weak, the orphans and the widows, strangers and the poor. The Lord assures, that if any of those who fall under these categories cry out to him for injustices melted upon them, he will hear. This reminds me quickly of the Church’s Catechism on the four sins crying to God for vengeance namely: willful murder (Gen. 4:1-16) Sin of Sodom (Gen. 18:20-21), Oppression of the poor (Amos 8:4) defrauding labourers of their wages (James 5:4, Deut 24:14-15), some of which spells out the whole reason for the youths’ protest in the country.
For certain, there is a cry in heaven for vengeance. Dear friends, while we await God’s judgement, we must not lose focus on the rules of engagement, that the protest is peaceful and non violent, that there should be no bloodletting and vandalization of the national patrimony, and that love conquers all things. The second reading of this day strengthens this vision as St. Paul’s writing to the Thessalonians urges them to imitate the early Christians notably known for their sacrifices, sufferings and pain, and how they spread the word in much affliction. Jesus in today’s Gospel confirms love as the core teaching of Christianity, the same type of love that we encourage to be the character of our protest. A love that is sacrificial, a love that has faith and hope, this is the love of Jesus; this is the love of the many peaceful protesters who lost their lives.
The law of love has the Lord God as its point of departure and end in the self. This formula of love is sacred and sacrosanct. It cannot be turned around; we cannot make love of self as the point of departure, to do this is to end up in crisis. The society we live in can only be sane when the law of love is well practiced and reciprocated. If the citizens take love of God as their point of departure and her leaders takes love of self as their point of departure, the result will definitely be same with what we are experiencing now in Nigeria.
My dear, friends the more reason why our response must always be love; we must not be tired of insisting on peace, on justice, on sacrifice etc. Little wonder the famous words of St. Augustine makes so much sense when he said: “Love first and then do whatever you like” that is, once love is secured in us, we cannot do whatever we like, because everything we do will stem from our love. I think we all recognize that the love we have for a person can find its best expression in time of crisis, Nigeria is currently in Crisis, this is the time to show her love, love does not approve of violence, retaliation, vengeance, rebel, anger, vandalization etc. love conquers all things. Love alone can win this fight, love is the answer, love alone suffices. Let us pray: Lord help us to love you and to love one another as we continue to say no to bad governance. Amen