HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF OUR QUEEN AND PATRONESS, 26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
By: Fr. Uchenna Onyejiuwa
HOMILY THEME: WE FLY TO YOUR PATRONAGE, OH MOTHER
Interestingly, every 1st of October, a very remarkable day in the history of our country, the Holy Mother Church celebrates equally the Solemnity of Our Lady, Queen and Patroness of Nigeria, seeking her continued maternal care and prayers for all of us Nigerians and the rest of the world, as we rejoice for yet another milestone in our nation’s history; although, this year, following the situation of things in the country, one can argue quite plausibly that there is absolutely nothing to rejoice about as the nation clocks 63. However, optimism would require us to assume a more positive outlook, to be appreciative of God’s benevolence – the air which He has continued to subsidise for both the oppressed and the oppressor and His constant care that helps us not to lose our minds while we travail in squalor just to eke out our daily bread. But we should never allow our optimism to lead us to believe that the woes of this nation will dissipate on their own.
Frankly speaking, the citizens of this lavishly endowed nation have seen many forms of hardship and life-threatening situations as governments come and go but, none can be compared with the current situation in the country, which has led so many people to begin to question the validity of the independence we said or thought we gained in 1960. How can we be celebrating independence when two-thirds of our citizens are living like prisoners in their own country? How can we talk about independence when the claws of our erstwhile Colonial Masters are still sunk deep into the flesh of the nation, controlling almost everything? How can we talk about independence when we are still importing everything, including PMS whose raw material our land produces?
Today we are the taunt of other nations because it has become obvious that our electoral and judicial systems lack independence, yet they say we have to celebrate independence. At elections, they remind us of our tribal and ethnic differences and pit us against one another but after elections, hunger will then open our eyes to the real difference which is between the rich and the poor, yet they ask us to celebrate independence. They say democracy has to be upheld but if you speak out to condemn their evil they tag it hate speech and hunt you down, yet they claim we are independent. Every year we strike more than we school, yet they ask us to march out with our school uniforms to celebrate independence. The poor can no longer provide shelter for their children or pay their school fees, yet they talk about independence. We now live in a constant state of insecurity and fear, not knowing who the next gunshot or kidnap victim might be, either kith or kin, yet they say we should celebrate independence.
Therefore, on this special day, dearest Mother, we come to you in tears pleading for your maternal help out of our condition of perpetual slavery, for it is not right that you continue to answer the Queen and Patroness of a nation as raped as ours. We know we contributed immensely to our misery by turning a deaf ear to the teachings and warnings of your Son in pursuit of our own selfish gains, that is why we tearfully plead that you come to our aid, that you light once again our lights of faith which greed and selfishness have blown out. Oh Mother most merciful, shield us from the wickedness of men who want to devour us like wolves and help us to know that in your Son is our peace and freedom. May no sordid desire ever again separate us from His love.
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Oh most excellent Mother, we earnestly want to be independent, the type of Independence that allows us to control and manage our natural resources for the good of all the citizens; the independence that provides us with equal opportunities to excel in every field of life; the independence that makes us proud to be called Nigerians; the independence that puts us in a respectable position at the dinner table of civilisation; the independence that will strengthen our institutions and make governance unattractive for thugs and criminals. As you once contributed as our mediatrix to the salvation of mankind, we implore you to once again come to the aid of your children who call upon you day and night from this slummy abode.
So my dearest friends, we must take this year’s October devotion very seriously. We can not expect the assistance of heaven and go ahead to rock and roll with earth. Instead, we must punish the knees to make friends with heaven, and only in that way will our prayers be answered. Then, shall the wolf and the lamb live together and the babe play unscathed with the asp and the glory of the Lord shall be seen among the inhabitants of this nation. I wish you all a blessed new month and a joyful week. Peace be with and happy feast day. (First reading, Is 11:1-10; second reading, Eph 2:13-22; gospel, Mt 2:13- 15.19-23).
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