The impact of our Christian faith must be felt in public life – Archbishop Martins
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins in reiterating the message of the Catholics Bishops Conference of Nigeria in his Lenten talk, has urged Christian faithful in Nigeria not to allow the challenging situation in the country stop them from preaching the gospel of Christ.
“The present situation in Nigeria challenges all of us to a life of coherent witnessing to the gospel. The impact of our Christian faith must be felt in public life. This is not a time for compromises for the sake of personal convenience, but rather for heroism in Christian virtues,” Martins said.
According to him, Christians should remember the biblical saying about not being afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, they should be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body. “You will be hated by all because of my name, but no hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance, you will secure your lives (Luke 21: 19).”
Martins further admonished Christian faithful that nothing should stop their witnessing in the face of what seems to be the fate of the Nigerian Christian. “Like Cain in the Bible who the Lord put a mark on, we seem to have been marked out, since we are Christians, by these bloodthirsty human beings.
“The Prophet Ezekiel speaks about those who received a mark on their heads because of their righteousness and faithfulness, in order to separate them from the corrupt and immoral people of the time and also to save them from an impending punishment,” Martins stated.
However, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos did not fail to mention about those who lost their lives on the back of being Christians in Nigeria. “May we kindly offer our prayers for all the victims of the ruthless acts of these terror groups, for their families and friends that the Lord may console and comfort them. In all of these, our consolation is that evil and death never have the final say, this is the meaning of the Resurrection of JESUS: he has triumphed over evil, darkness and death,” the cleric said.
Speaking on the current socio-political situation of the country, Martins opined that the volatile and occasional spate of killings, shameful insecurity techniques at all levels and the total lack of respect for the nation’s common humanity calls for serious concern. “It seems to be that nothing really sears us away from each other more dangerously than religion; religious ideals and practices that trample upon the very core of our existence. What else can be responsible for this if not the egregious discrepancy between faith and reason? On the occasion that one of the other tilts to the extreme of the scale, the result cannot but be devastating,” said Martins, stating that faith without reason and reason without faith is never good for the survival of societies.
However, in the midst of the threatening and highly inflammable times, Martins said Christians must stand to “wage war” against the menace that givesthe country a horrific stare, with all the weapons of Christian moral values and a surprising attitude of non-violence to a violent society. “Our war isn’t that of bloodshed, vengeance, anger, hatred but the conquering of evil and its perpetrators with the light of truth and the balance between faith and reason that exalts humanity as the centre of every endeavour,” he said.