, 27 February, 2021 / 3:56 PM
The devil today is manifested in the greed for material riches and love for power as demonstrated by political, religious and traditional leaders, the Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has said, cautioning Christians against the danger of falling into temptations.
In his homily on the first Sunday of Lent, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama urged the people of God in the West African country to “emphatically resist the devil who continually tempts ethnic and religious groups to be selfish and myopic.”
“Like coronavirus, the devil is very real and prowling around in our decadent society like a roaring lion. He puts in the heart of political, religious and traditional leaders the greed for material riches and love for power,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his Sunday, February 21 homily.
“Leaders today are only concerned about fraudulently perpetuating themselves in power and the acquisition of riches to the detriment of the people they lead,” he said and urged leaders to follow the example of King Solomon who asked God only for wisdom to lead his people in justice and fear of the Lord.
Making reference to the temptations of Jesus in St. Luke’s Gospel, the Archbishop said that the season of Lent is one of spiritual warfare against the devil and his agents who cause evils in the world.
One does not need to go too far to find examples of evil in society, the Nigerian Archbishop said, adding, “Kidnapping, banditry, murderous activities of armed gunmen who kill people and rape women; immorality and corruption are as devastating to our well-being as the coronavirus.”
He highlighted the various instances that the devil tempted Jesus and said that those who follow Christ are also bound to face temptations in their daily lives.
“Though we receive the Holy Spirit and cleansing at baptism, it does not grant us immunity from temptation,” he said.
The Archbishop went on to recount that when the devil asked Jesus to turn stones into bread, he wanted him to use his power to meet his personal needs.
This, the Prelate explained, meant putting on a sensational display of power, in a self-gratifying manner, to satisfy his human hunger.
“To do so would have been a dangerous distraction and diversion from Jesus’ path of obedience to God,” Archbishop Kaigama said, and recalled the reply of Jesus who disarmed the devil by saying, “Man does not live on bread alone.”
The devil asked Jesus to display his power by throwing himself from a high cliff, a suggestion that Jesus resisted.
In the third temptation, the devil promised Jesus the kingdoms of the world, only if Jesus would bow down and worship him.
“Jesus did not,” Archbishop Kaigama said, and added, “Unfortunately, some believers fall into the temptation to worship the devil in order to become rich or to acquire power to fight juju or evil spirits.”
“We must emphatically resist the devil who continually tempts ethnic and religious groups to be selfish and myopic, husbands and wives to be morally deviant and unfaithful; youths to be recalcitrant and violent; kidnappers to dehumanize fellow human beings for money; militant herdsmen to destroy food crops, religious fundamentalists to kill for reasons they don’t even understand and bandits to unleash terror on innocent citizens,” he said.
The 62-year-old Archbishop who has been at the helm of Abuja Archdiocese since November 2019 expressed regret that while millions of Nigerians are unemployed, the devil and his agents have no problem with lack of work.
The devil and his agents, the Prelate cautioned, “are very busy causing confusion in homes and offices.”
He said that with prayer, the weapon with which Jesus defeated the devil when he was tempted, Christians will be able to overcome the challenges they face.
“The devil is afraid of prayers,” Archbishop Kaigama said, and added, “Somehow, we give the devil far more credit than he deserves by rationalizing our crimes, attributing them to him instead of blaming ourselves for the misuse of our freedom. We even pronounce the devil’s name more often instead of the Holy Spirit.”
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