• …Unveils Holy Family grotto
The Catholic Bishop of Oyo, Most Reverend Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo has called on all who lost their loved ones on the streets of Nigeria while exercising what normally should be their democratic rights, during the #EndSARS protests, to keep calm and restraint on all sides as he urged everyone to work and pray for God’s help. Bishop Badejo made this appeal in his homily, and blessing of the Holy Grotto for praying for Nigerian #EndSARS protests recently in Oyo Diocese.
Quoting the Gospel Matt 2: 18, Bishop Badejo said: “I recall today that ugly episode narrated by the Gospel of Matthew in which Herod seeking to kill Jesus, slaughtered so many innocent children. “Unfortunately, many Nigerians are like that in our country today, and even more. Our children, brothers and sisters have been killed on the streets of Nigeria while exercising what should normally be their democratic rights. “Innocent blood has been shed and many families are mourning. May God have mercy on Nigeria, rest the dead in perfect peace and console bereaved families. Amen.” The Bishop appealed to citizens to ensure peacefulness and calmness in the country.
“Now, from the killings and destruction, we seek a way out. We appeal for calm and restraint on all sides even as we work and we pray for God’s help”, he said. The cleric lamented that some people do not take prayers seriously again. “Some people have derided prayer as ineffective or even useless. I totally disagree. We must work as if prayer does not matter and pray as if work is useless. In fact, prayer works. “What is ineffective is our misapplication of the power and function of prayer. Prayer works when we allow it do so, by doing our own duties.
Prayer is the linkup we have with God, the oxygen for our righteous actions. So, we must work with prayer. While noting that prayer is not responsible for our failures, the Bishop said that failure comes from people and their choices. “Prayer is not responsible for our failures, we and our choices are”, he said. Expressing his happiness while blessing the grotto, he revealed that the grotto to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph was sponsored largely by a group of pious ladies called The Marian Sisters, from the Catholic Community in Falomo, Lagos. He said:”I am happy during this prayer session to bless this grotto to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. “The grotto has been sponsored largely by a group of pious ladies form Lagos, called the Marian Sisters from the Catholic Community of Falomo, or if you wish, “the Holy Family Grotto Sisters” from Lagos.
“To them, and others who have worked here I express very profound appreciation, and I pray that this grotto will be a place where people come closer to God in prayer and meditation”, he said. While revealing that he saw God’s hand in his work, Bishop Badejo said when he started the project in July that he never expected to bless the grotto in the midst of the widespread turmoil in the country. “When I started this grotto in July, I did not exactly plan to bless it in the midst of this widespread turmoil in Nigeria, but I now see God’s hand in it. “What family in Nigeria is not concerned at this moment for its children and future? And what better ally for recourse to divine intervention could we have than Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
May God hear our prayers today, through Jesus Mary and Joseph. Amen”, he prayed. While speaking on the Gospel reading, he said: “Our Gospel passage today, Lk. 2 42-52, has all the elements of today’s Nigeria. Check out Jesus, who extricated himself from his parents to challenge the status quo. “He was only twelve, a youth. His questioning the elders and the chief priests was to say the least a protest against the system of his day, corrupt, oppressive and arrogant leaders. No wonder that his parents when they finally found him sounded their disapproval.
Why have you treated us like this? They said. “Jesus however decided to ‘Soro soke’. He rebuked them. Don’t you know that I should be about my father’s business? He had made his point. He had given the State and his family something to chew on and to think about.” He went on to say: “The scriptures tell us that Mary pondered these things in her heart. However, Jesus having accomplished the mission, then returned to Nazareth with them and was beholding to them. He then grew in wisdom and favour before God. These psalms; 51 and 52 are so precious to the survival of our youth today.
“There is a limit to rebellion and struggle even when they are legitimate. Could the current mayhem, destruction of life and property have been avoided if the protesters had called it off when their point had clearly been made? Most likely. “This is what we pray for in Nigeria today, that our youths thrown in the streets by their disaffection with the status quo should please, return home.” Like St Joseph, Fathers are concerned, and Mothers are worried like Mary. Now, like Jesus let the youths go back home so that the nation can breathe and make amends.
” Bishop Badejo called on the government and appropriate authorities to look into the allegations of the youths and make amendments. “Let our government authorities and politicians be amazed at the courage, the clarity and the commitment, which the youth have expressed their grievances and make a turn around. “We pray for better days in Nigeria, as we ask all of us to mend our ways. God’s word remains ever valid: ‘If my people who bear my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my presence and turn from their wicked way, then I will listen from heaven and forgive their sins and restore their country’ (1Chron. 7: 14). “Let us all turn to God even as we work for peace and harmony.
Let us all mend our ways to live in love and justice. Let us give peace a chance. If we all do our duty God will help us, for heavens help those who help themselves”, he said Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo concluded his homily by rendering the popular music, ‘By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, when we remembered Zion’. “ I end with this well-known piece, ‘By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, when we remembered Zion.’ Oh how we remember years ago, when Nigeria was better. Well, happy days shall return. May the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph intercede for us all,” he prayed. And the congregation chorused, “Amen.”