• News - South West - Oyo
  • Updated: February 14, 2024

Significance of Ash Wednesday/Valentine coincidence – Catholic Bishop

Significance of Ash Wednesday/Valentine coincidence – Cath

Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most. Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, has said that the coincidence of Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day this year signifies the need for Nigerians to show more love to God and fellow humans.

Badejo, who stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Ibadan, opined that no tension was found between ashes and agape love, as ‘there’s Lent in Valentine’.

“For all who see Valentine’s Day as a day for lovers, Valentine merely asks: Who do you need to love more?

“God is love. Is He not greater than any other love? The coincidence of Valentine and Ash Wednesday today calls for us to love God more and also, our fellow humans.

“So Jesus is just asking you today to be His Val. And you must be, because you cannot find any other better person than Him,” he said.

According to him, lent is a period of sober reflection, repentance, doing good and engaging in more intense prayers, while fasting is a tool for repentance, mortification and purification.

"However, this year’s lent is asking us many questions. Most Nigerians are already sitting in poverty, sickness, and deprivation. How do we then ask hungry people to fast?

“How can repentance be relevant to people already traumatised by insurgency, kidnapping, joblessness, escalated cost of living and lack of basic amenities?

"All these notwithstanding, the call to repentance is for everybody: the poor, the sick, the suffering, because it addresses the purification of the heart rather than external manifestations.

"The best lesson from this lent, therefore, is that we must be Good Samaritan to one another. The Good Samaritan took pity on the man in need, not considering ethnicity, religion or status,” he said.

The cleric urged politicians to discharge their duties with the fear of God, adding that civil servants, businessmen, artisans and technocrats must also do the same.

"Religious leaders must stop giving false prophesies, while all of us must stop lying, stealing and cheating one another,” he said.

Badejo also urged governments at all levels to show more sensitivity to the plight of the populace and reduce fiscal profligacy drastically.

“For instance, deployment of huge resources to non-essential expenditure like purchase of foreign vehicles for political office holders and their dependants must also stop.

"The nation’s currency must be stabilised urgently, while insecurity, which has kept many farmers away from their farms, thus worsening food shortage, must be confronted head on.

“Policies capable of mitigating the biting effect of fuel subsidy removal, such as improved power supply, subsidised public transportation and upward review of workers’ wages, must also be given immediate attention," Badejo stressed.

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