As some Christian faithful mark Ash Wednesday, the Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, has urged them to desist from all forms of criminality, including selling and buying of votes during the elections.
Badejo gave the advice in his Lent message titled ‘Nigerians knocking on Heaven’s Door’, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Ibadan.
He stressed that the three pillars of Lent which were prayer, fasting and alms-giving must go together, adding that praying and fasting without good works amounted to hollow religion.
“In the election period, Christians must resist selling and buying of votes, lying, thuggery and all criminality,” he said.
According to him, lent is a 40-day season of great hope for Christians, leading up to Easter; it calls for repentance, mobilisation of all human, material, and spiritual resources to attract God’s mercy and favour on our personal lives and that of our country.
“This is important for long-suffering, especially as Nigerians elect new leaders to lead us into the future.
“By the ashes received on Ash Wednesday, we are called to repentance, humility and love. Jesus said: “Repent and believe the good news.”
“The focus of Christians, observing prayer and fasting, is to get close to God in love, holiness, and good works for we cannot claim to be Christians without bearing fruits of good works, for faith without works is dead (Jam. 2:20),” he said.
The Catholic Bishop emphasised that doing good works meant living a truthful life by shunning falsehood and deceit.
He added that in Lent, Christians fast not only from food and drink but also from doing evil such as murder, cheating, lying, infidelity, stealing, hoarding, calumny, backbiting and all sorts of wickedness.
“Lent requires humility in recognition that God is supreme and that He will judge everybody.
“Christians’ conduct, during Lent should demonstrate trust in God and his word which says: “If my people who bear my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my presence and turn from their wicked ways, then I will listen from heaven and forgive their sins and restore their country,” (2Chron. 7:14).
“Beyond all human effort, we must trust God to write even on crooked lines and use anyone,” Badejo said. (NAN)