The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most (Rev) Ignatius Kaigama, has cautioned public office holders in the country against exploiting religion, ethnicity and other fault lines to divide Nigerians.
Kaigama gave the admonition in his homily on third Sunday of Lent,at the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Garki-Abuja.
According to Archbishop Kaigama, both leaders and the led must understand why God must remain at the centre of all human affairs, saying that was the only way to gain salvation.
He said: “When public officials take oaths of office, with their hand on the Bible or the Koran, they promise to serve selflessly, but many soon commit very unpatriotic acts and corruptly rob the poor, polarize and factionalize our people based on religious, ethnic or economic interests’.
Reflecting on the readings, the cleric said: “On this third Sunday of Lent, we are called to reflect on the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, and their practical implications in our relationship with God and with one another.
“God gave the Law to Moses for the people of Israel to serve as a wise guide to them, and reminded them that He is “a jealous God” (Ex. 20:5), who tolerates no infidelity and disobedience, but prefers the person “who walks in the law of the Lord, who meditates on His law day and night” (Ps. 1:2).
“Our first reading is about the Commandments that Moses received from God at Mount Sinai, given to the Israelites to protect and build their spiritual bond with God, and to spur them to positive living. Jesus summarized the commandments as: love of God and love of neighbour (cf. Mt. 22:37-38).
“Without laws, we risk ending up as a chaotic society. We obey human laws such as traffic laws, security laws (curfew), but sometimes we feel that divine laws tamper with our personal freedom”.
He added thus: “Many desire to be free to use their bodies as they like; some want to use their freedom to deprive others of their freedom, e.g. to take the life of an unborn child or to kill in the name of politics or religion or ethnicity.
“Our world seems not to understand why God must remain at the centre of all human affairs. St. Paul in our second reading was speaking about this type of attitude whereby the crucified Christ appeared as a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
“Many today see as foolishness the laws of God and influenced by moral relativism, believe there is no universal or absolute set of moral principles, and freedom is to do as one pleases.