>>>Nigeria is 59 today – Happy Independence!<<<
(October Devotion begins – Intensify your Rosary prayer)
Nigeria is 59 years today. As the subtitle reads, today is her Independence Day Anniversary. As we celebrate with all Nigerian brothers and sisters and all our friends in the world, we are forced to ask the pertinent question: Is Nigeria really independent, both in “sensu stricto et sensu lato” of that word? My immediate answer is a capital NO! We are in the worse form of colonization called neo-colonialism. The colonization of a people by its own people.
That is why we plead for this just, wise, insightful, powerful, faithful, moral and God-fearing shoot from the “stock of Jesse” to spring forth and lead the weary people of Nigeria – liberating us from the crushing wickedness of the political authorities – so that true love, happiness and reconciliation may find home in this country of many nations.
1 Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse, a scion thrusts from his roots: on him the spirit of the Lord rests, a spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and power, a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. (The fear of the Lord is his breath.) He does not judge by appearances, he gives no verdict on hearsay, but judges the wretched with integrity, and with equity gives a verdict for the poor of the land. His word is a rod that strikes the ruthless, his sentences bring death to the wicked. Integrity is the loincloth round his waist, faithfulness the belt about his hips. The wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kid, calf and lion feed together, with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear make friends, their young lie down together. The lion eats straw like the ox. The infant plays over the cobra’s hole; into the viper’s lair the young child puts his hand. They do no hurt, no harm, on all my holy mountain, for the country is filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters swell the sea. That day, the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples. It will be sought out by the nations and its home will be glorious.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 71(72):1-2,7-8,12-13,17
R. In his days justice shall flourish and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, give your judgement to the king,
to a king’s son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice
and your poor in right judgement. R.
In his days justice shall flourish
and peace till the moon fails.
He shall rule from sea to sea,
from the Great River to earth’s bounds. R.
For he shall save the poor when they cry
and the needy who are helpless.
He will have pity on the weak
and save the lives of the poor. R.
May his name be blessed for ever
and endure like the sun.
Every tribe shall be blessed in him,
all nations bless his name. R.
2 Reading: Ephesians 2:13-18
In Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law. This was to create one single New Man in himself out of the two of them and by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single Body and reconcile them with God: in his own person he killed the hostility. Later he came to bring the good news of peace, peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near at hand. Through him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father.
Gospel Acclamation: cf. Luke 1:28
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!
Blessed art thou among women.
Gospel: Matthew 2:13-15,19-23
After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: I called my son out of Egypt. After Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’
Amidst the advent of a great scion from the root of Jesse, the divine judge and reconciler of peoples and nations, Herod, the wicked and unjust ruler, seeks to kill the infant child. That is always the job of evil – seeking to destroy or eliminate the good.
The readings of today can very much be adapted to console the Nigerian population, reposing its unalloyed trust in God and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Nigerians wait on the liberating hands of the Lord in the midst of total misrule by the leaders since the so-called Independence in 1960. The battle is the Lord’s, because, as we used for today’s blessing, the good news shall come one day and we shall all be in the Nigeria of our great dreams.
We therefore seek, earnestly, the intervention of Our Lady, our Mother and Queen in these times of doom. We begin the special devotion to her from this first day of the month of October, knowing that with her Son, everything is possible. “Pray always and never lose heart” (Luke 18:1).
“Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.” In the name of the Father, and of he Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Our Lady Queen and Patroness of Nigeria – Pray for us!