Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas: Awka Diocese Bishop Tasts Christians to show gratitude

As Christians the world over set to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ on 25 December, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor has urged Christians to use the period of Christmas celebration to show profound gratitude and thanksgiving to God for sparing their lives.
Bishop Ezeokafor who stated this in his Christmas message said one of the abiding lessons of Christmas was the depth and power of God's love noting that out of love for humanity, God emptied Himself to take human form adding that the power of God's Love for His Children unsettled King Herod and he felt threatened.
His words, 'King Herod feared that the baby born at the Manger had come to take his kingdom from him and he decided to eliminate Him the Prince of Peace. When the three wise men did not return to inform him of the birth place of Jesus Christ.
' He sent and had infants who were two years old and below, in Jerusalem and in the surrounding cities, killed. He hoped that this way he would eliminate the threat to his dynasty (Matt. 2 : 16). Unfortunately, he did not know that Jesus ' kingdom is not of this world.
'It is Christmas once again! As we thank God for the gift of His son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we also recall that we are lucky to be alive to see this Holy Season.
' We pray God to spare all families and peoples from incidents that may cause grief and pain ; that all may have a peaceful and grace-filled celebration of the birth of the Son of God who out of love for us took flesh in the Blessed Virgin Mary.
'The love of power that one sees in the life of Herod is still with us human beings and manifests itself in various ways, especially in the political arena : As the period of elections our country draws near, one sees it at work in the candidates vying for political offices who go to any length to secure and retain political power.
'It also shows itself in many people whose only calculation with regard to the political process is what gains they could make out of it.
'For  these politicians, the stakes are too high ; access or loss of political power means a corresponding access or loss of the key to enormous financial and social resources. This is equally true about those who depend on the political office holders whose relevance and source of livelihood are tied up with their candidates winning at the polls.
'Unfortunately some of these people could be as ruthless as Herod in the pursuit of this aim. They stop at nothing in order to achieve their purpose.
'God saved baby Jesus by asking Mary and Joseph to take Him and flee to Egypt. Similarly, God looking for those who would open themselves up to His love so that they may be the channel for moving our fledgling democracy to greater heights and saving it from all those who are desperately clinging to political power or those desperately seeking to gain access to this power and its pay-off in terms of wealth, clout and prestige.
'Such people, like Mary and Joseph, would be those who, instead of being motivated by love of power, are convinced of the power of love and seek to live out this conviction through a commitment to the well being not only of themselves but of the whole community.
'Such commitment would translate into a focus, not on their own immediate gains but, on what, how and who would be able to move the society forward in the right direction even at great personal cost.
'As we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace and the one who loves the world so much that he emptied Himself to be like human beings, let us strive to empty ourselves of all selfish and self-serving ambitions and embody love whose power can surely transform our society for the better. Once more, I wish you a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2015!,' Bishop Ezeokafor enthused



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