COVID-19 “compelling us to see things of heaven” amid “agents of tragedy”: African Prelate

Bishop Emmanuel Badejo during Mass at Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese.

The challenges the people of God are experiencing across the globe amid the coronavirus are expected to trigger a focus on heavenly realities and the place of God in our lives yet some have become “agents of tragedy,” hellbent on causing others pain, an African Prelate has reflected in his Sunday, August 23 homily shared with ACI Africa.

“The trying period of the COVID 19 pandemic persists in compelling us to see the things of heaven more and confirm God as the ultimate deliverer of mankind,” Bishop Emmanuel Badejo says in the text of his homily delivered at Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese where he is the Local Ordinary.

Bishop Badejo regrets the situation in various parts of the world where people are suffering from intentional and planned criminal activities by those he calls “agents of tragedy.”

“Today in Nigeria, in Africa and our world, too many people live to hurt others making life difficult even for the most innocent people,” Bishop Badejo says.

He adds, “Terrorists, war mercenaries, religious and ethnic bigots, fraudsters and those who spread fake news and other criminals simply refuse to see God as the ultimate power in the world and so do not consider his commandments in what they do.”


“Sadly, among such agents of tragedy are political, economic and religious leaders and people in authority who are entrusted with the forces and resources of the State and community, precisely to create a better world for their people,”

The 59-year-old Nigerian Prelate who is at the helm of the Pan-African Episcopal Committee for Social Communication (CEPACS) highlights some of the countries where some “agents of tragedy” are operationalizing their criminal activities.

“From the United States of America to Belarus, from Lebanon to Libya, from Ivory Coast to Mali to Nigeria etc, such leaders all over the world make life more difficult for their citizens, promoting hatred rather than love, dividing people rather than uniting them and sowing sorrow and sadness rather than peace and joy,” Bishop Badejo says.

The word of God “demonstrates God’s power and ability to turn things around when he wishes to,” he says, hinting to the need to turn to God for His intervention to overcome COVID-19 challenges and “agents of tragedy.” 

“Many are the peoples and countries which would pray to God today for such grace from God that he mercifully intervenes, and save his people. Nigerians would prominently feature among such people. May God hear the sincere prayers we offer!”

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He says that “God’s intervention is not only about multitudes of people or nations; it concerns individuals as well.”

Focusing his reflection on the Sunday Gospel reading that has the Apostle Peter professing his faith in response to Jesus’ question about his identity, Bishop Badejo says, “We all must constantly interrogate ourselves about who we believe that Jesus is and ask how Jesus sees us.”

Such interrogation about who Jesus is, the Nigerian Prelate says, “will help us not to stay by seeing him simply as money or candy machine which we simply operate in order to receive a favour, a mere personal bodyguard or a hired assassin for eliminating our perceived enemies.”

“The Church and God’s people today are, in many ways today, assailed by the powers of hell,” Bishop Badejo says, adding, “It is indeed opportune that we invoke the promise and powers of Jesus who established his Church on Peter, the rock, to rebuke the powers of hell under every guise so that his Church, his people may breathe, may thrive and live in peace.”

Reflecting on the  40-day prayer period announced by Catholic Bishops in Nigeria to seek  God’s intervention for an end to violent conflicts and targeted killings that have been described as “genocide”, Bishop Badejo say, “It is aimed at ending the incessant killings in Nigeria, especially in the northern part.”


“I urge you all to unite with the voice of all the faithful in this exercise fully trusting that God will hear those prayers,” Bishop Badejo says about the spiritual exercise that kicked off 22 August to conclude 30 September, the eve of Nigeria's Independence Day.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.