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2020, Apr 22

Christians have again been reminded that Christianity without the Cross is a negation of the teachings of Christ and any Gospel that emphasizes personal gains and closes its eye to the truth of the cross is questionable. This assertion was made by the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama in his homily at the celebration of the Good Friday Service held at the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Garki, Abuja.

Warning Catholics to be careful of those who are not too keen on acknowledging the cross of Jesus Christ, the local ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese noted that many Christians, including preachers are slow to preach the cross or are ashamed of the Cross of Jesus. 

Pointing out that the Cross of Christ is one of the major pillars of the Catholic faith, Archbishop Kaigama declared: “We Catholics however wear the cross, install it in our churches and begin our prayers with it, so as not to easily forget that through the cross Christ has redeemed the world.”  He added: “Jesus transformed the cross, a symbol of shame, to become the altar to establish the Kingdom of God.”  He described unstable Catholics who go from one church to another in search of miracles and prosperity as “nomadic” Catholics; noting that this makes it “difficult for them to make progress in their spiritual journey or knowledge of God”. 

According to the Archbishop, Jesus transformed the cross, a symbol of shame to the altar on which the Kingdom of God was established. His words: The cross, the most horrifying instrument of torture became for us the perfect instrument and fountain from which the riches of God’s mercy flow. It reveals and testifies to love beyond all measure that God has for every human being.” 

Archbishop Kaigama who spoke extensively on the significance of Good Friday in the life of the Church and the Salvific mission journey of Christ during the Holy Week, pointed out that “The resurrection of Jesus was preceded by the dehumanizing suffering meted to him.” He added that: “This fact must not be forgotten easily in favour of a Christianity without cross.” He emphasized: “The good news is that when Jesus ascended the cross on Golgotha, He changed the meaning of the cross. The cross became a life-giving tree; a symbol of victory, a symbol of joy and above all, a symbol of salvation for all who believe.”

And at the Chrism Mass, on Holy Thursday celebrated at the same Cathedral, Archbishop Kaigama reminded the priests of the significance of this celebration to their vocation, as a recall of the institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Order. He  urged them to maintain their priestly focus, remain steadfast in their vows and avoid “The temptation of self-centeredness or personality cult in which case some preachers draw attention to their prowess of working miracles, captivating eloquence and dramatic presentation of the message of the Gospel which shifts the honour and praise to themselves rather than to Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop averred: “Our vocation as priests involves not only maintaining a sound relationship with God, but also reaching out to the unreached, the neglected, marginalized, stigmatized and socially deprived”. He added: “The temptation to prosperity preaching and undue emphasis on prophesies and political predictions must give way to a gospel-based emphasis on personal encounter or communion with God and holiness of life …”


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