Catholic Bishop of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, has said that Nigeria needs urgent divine intervention to end the challenges of employment and deprivation.
Kaigama who made this known at Church of Annunciation, Kubwa, Abuja, in his Homily, said God’s intervention is urgently needed because of corruption, bloodshed and violence in the country.
The archbishop further said that apart from so many youths having no jobs, some Nigerian children are in the wicked hands of terrorists and bandits in the bush and are being subjected to emotional and social deprivation.
He lamented that the poor continues to get poorer with increasing inability to afford the basic necessities of life due to price increases and sluggish payment of salaries and pensions as well as very poor social welfare scheme.
“Our prayer is for all Nigerians to be supported by God’s grace to live in humility, purity and sincerity like Mary, so that even after this life of ‘suffering and smiling’, we will see God in the company of the Saints, the Angels and our Blessed Mother.
“We Catholics honour and venerate Mary in a variety of ways. Muslims too honour her as the ‘mother of Isa (Jesus) and she holds a singularly exalted place in Islam as the only woman named in the Quran, which refers to her seventy times and explicitly identifies her as the greatest of all women,” he said.
He noted that apart from several mentions of her in other chapters of the Quran, the 19th Surah titled Maryam is named after her. He said Catholics and Muslims could draw many lessons from the life and conduct of such a woman of deep faith to motivate the faithful to contribute selflessly to national development, harmony and peaceful coexistence.
“Mary’s life was lived fully, humbly and unconditionally with a capital ‘YES’ to the will of God. Mary expressed gratitude to God in her song of praise (Magnificat), teaching us to be always grateful and contented even with the little we have, and to learn to share with others, and not to struggle for vain riches, or to unjustly dominate others in the name of religious zeal.
“Mary was very sensitive to the needs of others as demonstrated by her visit to her six-month pregnant cousin, Elizabeth. Elizabeth, once called barren, endured a lot of shame and contempt, like women or families today who suffer insults because they have no children.
“The dragon that attempted to eat up the child to be born (Rev. 12:4) refers to the devil who even today is hyper actively labouring to consume our moral values, and deprive us of human feelings by proposing a God-less culture in many people and nations,” he said.
He also noted that if Nigerians can ask pastors and imams or holy men and women to pray for the country and their needs, they have even more reason to ask Mary, so highly favoured by God to intercede for Nigerians as she did on behalf of the wedding couple in Cana.