Posted by News Express | 25 December 2016 | 3,131 times
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday received various Christian clerics who paid Christmas homage on him, including Arch Bishop of Abuja Catholic Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan.
Aside paying homage, the clerics delivered sermons in their Churches preaching peace, security and progress.
Rev. Fr. Stanley Aroh, the Parish Priest of St. Rita Catholic Church, Mararaba, Nasarawa State, has advised Christians against reckless celebration of Christmas.
Aroh gave the advice in his Christmas sermon on Sunday in Abuja, stressing that Christians must avoid sin while celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
He explained that the day, which signified the birth of Christ should be celebrated joyfully but with caution in order not to offend Almighty God.
He advised that the celebration should be solemn and should reflect on the real reason for Christmas “and not just eating and partying in the name of celebration.
“Let us celebrate Christmas with great joy for it is the birth of our salvation that has brought grace to mankind.
“The season is all about showing love and making sacrifices for our neighbours and the poor.”
He noted that even in the face of recession which was bedevilling the country, people should endeavour to sacrifice by giving to the needy.
The Bishop of Umuahia Catholic Diocese, Most-Rev. Lucius Ugorji, advised Christians to be agents of peace and reconciliation in their families and society at large.
Ugorji gave the advice on Sunday in his Christmas homily at the Mater Dei Cathedral, Umuahia, saying that the birth of Jesus Christ was meant to bring peace and reconciliation to the world.
He said that Christ came to the world “in order that we may have peace, love and harmony”, saying that “as Christians, we should be agents of peace, reconciliation and communion.”
The cleric further urged Christians to emulate the humility of Christ who, he said, “elevated man to become son of God” by his birth.
He underscored the need for Christians to show love and care to the poor and underprivileged as well as to defend the oppressed, weak and vulnerable in society.
Ugorji expressed concern over the practice of the ‘Osu caste system’ and other forms of discrimination on the basis of gender, tribe, ethnicity, language or social status.
He said that discrimination was not only offensive to God but also the Constitution of the land, hence, the Supreme Court’s judgment that affirmed the right of women to inheritance.
The Bishop said, “There shouldn’t be any form of discrimination against our fellow human beings, we should fight against discrimination of any kind with the blood of our life.”
The religious leader also called for respect for human rights and the dignity of the human person, saying that God created man equal “therefore, everybody is equal before God.”
Meanwhile, some residents of Umuahia, the Abia capital, have attributed the low-key celebration of this year’s Christmas to the nation’s economic downturn.
Collins Ezebiro, a journalist, said, “The reason for the low-key celebration is not far-fetched.”
He said that the current economic recession had taken a big toll on peoples’ economic fortunes, adding that many families could not meet the expectations that came with Christmas.
“Things are very difficult. The economic hardship is biting so hard on a lot of homes, so most parents could not afford the usual Christmas wears for their children and wards,” he said.
The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ogun chapter, Rev. Tunde Akin-Akinsanya, charged Christians to always exhibit the good examples of Jesus Christ in whatever they did.
Akin-Akinsanya gave the charge during an interview with the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abeokuta.
He noted that the circumstances and place of birth of Jesus showed his simplicity and humility, saying that Christians should emulate such virtues.
The cleric also described the birth of Jesus Christ as a gift to the world for which all Christians should appreciate God.
He said Christ was the salvation that God gave to his people after man disobeyed him, adding that Christians should use the opportunity to reconcile with one another. (NAN)
•Photo shows Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan (L), in a handshake with President Muhammadu Buhari during a Christmas Homage to the President by FCT residents at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Sunday.