Lay Reflections on this Sunday’s Reading from the Catholic Liturgical Calendar
By Noel Ihebuzor
All the three readings and the responsorial Psalm speak to the Nigerian situation today.
The first reading speaks of the plans of the wicked to oppress and dispossess others. It also speaks to specious arguments to rationalise or justify dispossession, be these of lands or of resources.
The second reading examines the drivers of such injustice – envy, jealousy, covetousness, selfish ambition, insincerity and sinful passions – these negatives and the bludgeoning arrogance of the ignorant (certified and uncertified) and their poorly founded entitlement mentality resonate with the sad situation in our country where dishonest debates, inconsistency, lack of constancy, insincere opinions, nepotism inspired policies and misguided executive interferences push the country closer and closer to the edge of social abyss.
The third reading puts the finger on one of the causes of our “wahala” – elected officials (including judicially handpicked ones) who see themselves as masters (magisters) instead of as servants (ministers) of the people.
Psalm 54, the responsorial Psalm, provides hope for all the oppressed, for all the downtrodden and for all whose existence are likened by the arrogant to dots. God above listens and hears their groans and bids His time.
Onwa gbama, ije aguma! In moments of either apparently misunderstood communication, or deliberately misinterpreted communication or outright miscommunication, indulging in poetry becomes powerfully tempting! So here goes –
A visit to the land of dot
ought to handled
with care, if not
nought may come from it
nought is a hot cipher,
Worse than dot,
a zero is a cipher,
not hard to decipher
It signifies emptiness
The person who calls his/her child Nkemdirim is not asking for too much! The person is simply asking God to confirm and sustain his gift to him or her. He or she is also asking God to imbue that gift with utility, distinctiveness, a sense of identity, permanence and sustainability. Nkemdirim is also a prayer that the gift remains with us whatever may be the vicissitudes of life!
People advance and progress when they grow, solidify and edify what is theirs. People advance when they build on their positive values and assets. Peoples and nations advance recognizing the value of what is theirs and not by uncritical self abandonment nor by group rejection nor through the adoption of the structures that belong to others. You cannot be an Ogaranya with someone else’s wealth or structure. Charity and beauty, they say, start from home. “Eji eshi uyo mara mma fuma ama” the Owerri person would say, and correctly too!
We approach others with more confidence and with a greater sense of security when invested and vested in our uniqueness, our USP, if you like. These constitute our distinctiveness.
In such situations, our base is firm, our unit flags, our symbols and our totems are visible, unique, vibrant and distinctive.
These things give us identity. A family, a village, a town, a clan…indeed, any structure without identity is lost and will be absorbed by others in a way that degrades it and ultimately wipes it off from any serious reckoning.
As in life, so also in other spheres of life, including associating with others in politics. Which political structure is ours? Just asking! Nkemdirim.
One of the worst afflictions that a people can suffer from is that disease that prevents them from knowing who their true friends are!
Another equally damaging affliction that can visit a people is the sickness which traps them in narrow span and short term thinking.
A people without a long term social vision that is guided by a moral-ethical consciousness will end up becoming servants and errand boys/girls in any assembly of nationalities!
A people who opt for quick profits in the short term without sufficient consideration for the medium and long terms will end up short changing itself.