Catholic Bishop in Nigeria Cautions against Using “God-given talents to oppress people”

Bishop Felix Femi Ajakaye of Nigeria’s Ekiti Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The graces we have received from God, including talents are to be used to foster the growth of each other, not for oppression, a Catholic Bishop in Nigeria has said.

In his homily last Sunday, Bishop Felix Femi Ajakaye of Nigeria’s Ekiti Diocese reflected on the Readings for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2022, and said that life has meaning when God’s gifts are shared. 

“(The) best way to serve God with our God-given gifts, talents, is through our fellow human beings and that it is the best way not only to make life meaningful but also to foster communal life,” Bishop Ajakaye said July 31.

He added, “We are to use our God-given gifts, talents, to help one another to grow, both physically and spiritually.”

The Nigerian Catholic Bishop underscored the need to know the God the Creator through appropriate use of His gifts to us, saying, “We must not use our God-given talents to oppress other people. To mock the poor is to insult the Creator, no one who laughs at distress will go unpunished.”


He acknowledged the importance of communal life that involves reaching out to each other in service and emphasized the need to use talents to foster good human relationships.

As God’s children and human beings, Bishop Ajakaye said, “We are relational people and God has created us to be helpers to one another.”

“We have been created by God to relate and identify with ourselves, people in our Parishes, churches, people in our neighborhoods, and people in our workplaces,” he said in his July 31 homily.

The Local Ordinary of Ekiti Diocese cautioned against individualism and isolation, saying such styles of life do not reflect the nature of followers of Christ.

“Christians who isolate themselves and their churches in comfortable exclusive neighborhoods must know that the Church is inclusive, and not exclusive,” he said, and added, “We, Christ’s followers, need one another’s inspiration and encouragement.”

More in Africa

He advocated for the fostering of the way of being church through Small Christian Communities (SCCs), which he said enhances communion, love and unity among the people of God.

“In love, friendship and dedication, continue to relate to other people, and do not overlook your direct relationship with God (Jesus Christ) through prayer, Bible reading and regular worship with fellow Christians and other people as well,” he said.

Bishop Ajakaye who started his Episcopal Ministry in July 2008 as Coadjutor Bishop of Ekiti Diocese reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading about the rich fool, saying, “Life without reference to God is absurdity.”

“My brothers, sisters and friends, concern for the future is good stewardship. It portrays good planning. But if concern becomes greed, egotism, keeping up with the neighbors, inspired by the philosophy that ‘we live only once’, then, you are in trouble,” the 60-year-old Nigerian Bishop who has been at the helm of Ekiti Diocese since April 2010 said.

He added, “We must continue to remind ourselves that we are only God’s stewards of all that we possess. Thus, God should always be at the center of our lives, not on the fringes, edges.”


He urged the people of God to “be concerned about” the less fortunate in the society as well as those who are involved in vices such as corruption, murder, and other forms of crime. 

“God would like us, His children, no matter our status and position, to do good and be concerned about our fellow human beings, our neighbors, who are in the grip of suffering and evil,” Bishop Ajakaye said in his July 31 homily.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.