Do “not to give in to despair,” Prelate Reassures “aggrieved” Young People in Nigeria

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama speaking during Mass at Christ the King Parish in Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese.
Credit: Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama/Facebook Page.

A Prelate at Nigeria’s Archdiocese of Abuja has encouraged young people who are weighed down by the tough economic times not to despair but to hold onto the hope for a better tomorrow.

In his Sunday, November 8 homily at Christ the King Parish of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama addressed himself the youth saying, “To all our young people who are aggrieved and dissatisfied with their socio-economic conditions, I enjoin you not to give in to despair. Do not let your hope of a better tomorrow die off.”

“Put your hope in Jesus who never fails. It is better to die hoping than to die hopeless,” Archbishop Kaigama said, and added in reference to the second letter of St. Paul to Thessalonians, “Remember also the exhortation, if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

Making reference to the Sunday Gospel reading about the 10 virgins, the Archbishop said that the parable was an invitation to prepare for death, judgment, heaven and hell.

“We are challenged to carry out a reality check of how prepared we are for the four last things – death, judgment, heaven and hell; to be alert and to keep the light of faith, hope and love burning brightly in our lives.”

In the parable, Jesus presents the virgins in two categories. According to Archbishop Kaigama, the first group of wise virgins, foresaw that the waiting period for the bridegroom might be prolonged and so carried with them extra oil.

The second group, the Nigerian Archbishop said, did not think of bringing extra oil, and at the bridegroom’s arrival, found their lamps flickering and they were unable to replenish their supply of oil.

“The five virgins considered wise represent those believers who are ready to live a life of faith and adherence to divine ordinances. The five foolish virgins represent those unprepared Christians who hear the word of God but fail to live out the Gospel values,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He explained, “Some Christians become indifferent, dull and negligent and it can be said that their lamps are without enough oil or no oil at all.”

“Jesus cautions us to prepare, since we do not know the day or the hour of His coming. We need to keep refilling our lamps with the oil of prayer, the word of God and the Eucharist,” he went on to urge.

According to the Nigerian Prelate, “continually refilling lamps” is especially important in the contemporary world, which he says is characterized by a severe shortage of the oil of forgiveness, kindness, patience, sympathy, friendship and the lack of the oil of good works and faithful discipleship.

Drawing lessons from the parable of the 10 virgins, the Archbishop encouraged the people of God to be ready and alert saying, “As we draw close to the end of the liturgical season, and the end of the year, our readings remind us of our own mortality and the passing nature of this world.”

The lesson to learn from the action of the wise virgins refusing to give their oil to the foolish virgins is that salvation is not something that can be handed over to another like an inheritance, Archbishop Kaigama said, emphasizing that salvation is not transferable.

“We have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling,” the Prelate said in his Sunday homily shared on his official Facebook page November 8.

He said that the Church today wants the faithful to reflect on how to allow the light of Christ shine in their existential situations to allow the Kingdom of God to start manifesting.

“We should not be distracted by human calculations,” the Nigerian Archbishop said, and added, “Christ will surely come and only those who are ready with their lamps burning will join in the festive procession to the realm of glory.”


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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

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