READINGS: Gen. 15: 5-12, 17-18; Ps. 26(27): 1, 7-9, 13-14; Phil. 3: 17-4: 1; Lk. 9:28-36

On this second Sunday of Lent, I wish to bring to your kind attention three points:

Meaning and significance of the transfiguration

Tit-bits from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria

Lenten campaign focusing on the youth


In the Gospel today, we read of the change in the countenance of Jesus – the transfiguration, while He was on Mount Tabor to pray, and God the Father spoke: “This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to Him” (Lk. 9:35). The transfiguration of Jesus gives a glimpse, an anticipation of the future glory of Jesus. Having experienced that glory, Peter never wanted to come down from the mountain. This moving religious experience led him to request for permission to build three tents.

One of the lessons is that God speaks to us in the Person of Jesus, the one who was foretold by the Law and the Prophets. Like Peter, James and John, we must learn to hear God speak to us in the Person of His Son. The transfiguration of Jesus teaches us that our change must go beyond physical appearances. Our hearts must be the object of this transformation.

There was a transfiguration event when Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, and he displayed an unconditional faith in the promises of God, and was promised a great future and his descendants were to be as innumerable as the stars. Abraham, the first biblical figure to put his trust in God, proved to be an obedient listener to the voice of God, ready to even sacrifice his son Isaac. God’s call is personal and at the same time very demanding. We are called to listen to Him with an ardent faith and complete trust and to respond to Him promptly and wholeheartedly.

Like Abraham, we too must enter into a personal covenant with God, not by a mere change of name, but by a change of hearts, as Prophet Joel urges: “rend your hearts, not your garments” (Joel 2:13), so that we can “see the Lord’s goodness in the Land of the living!” (Ps. 26:1, 13).


The message of the recently concluded Catholic Bishops’ meeting in Abuja drew a lot from Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti”, to call on all Nigerians to transcend artificial boundaries to see ourselves as brothers and sisters and compatriots. We must pray and work for peace and unity at all levels to bring about the much needed healing from the wounds of the past. The doors of honest dialogue need to be reopened at all levels to help us march the common path of nation building. Our positive voices and actions of love, forgiveness, reconciliation and solidarity must be above the prevailing language of violence, discord, parochialism, antagonism and self-centredness.


In the second reading, St. Paul challenges us to live our lives here on earth to promote worthy causes, with a conscious realization that we are pilgrims on a journey to a more permanent dwelling place with God.

Our theme for the national 2022 Lenten Campaign is: “Rekindling Hope in the Nigerian Project”. In our Archdiocese, we are focusing on the youth, forced by cruel realities in our country to lose hope, and others have left the country in search of greener pastures, while many more are contemplating the same line of action. They are frustrated by serious unemployment and grave security situation, and many of the best brains seek to migrate. There was a joke that some youths even went to the Ukrainian Embassy here in Nigeria to enrol to go to war against Russia as a way of keeping gainfully employed! Even with its attendant dangers, many youths are still prepared to trek the Sahara Desert and cross the Mediterranean Sea! Do you blame them?

The objective of our Lenten campaign this year is to demonstrate to the youths in the Archdiocese of Abuja that the Church is always with them even during turbulent social moments. We intend to set up for the youth a multi-purpose formation centre that will offer holistic programmes of skills acquisition, leadership training/mentoring, remedial studies, and provide opportunities for recreation and other pastoral and spiritual programs.

Last Sunday, parishes in the Archdiocese of Abuja began their Lenten campaign, and during the entire Lenten Season, collections will be taken at Stations of the Cross; Catholics save proceeds of their fasting in Lenten boxes, etc., to be used for youths in and around the Federal Capital Territory and even beyond to rekindle their hope a little. The youth showed during the #EndSars demonstration that they are disillusioned. Ours is a simple gesture, but it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Sometimes the youths believe that the Church has all the resources as the government and that is why they ask “what is the Church doing about unemployment?” Instead of taking their concerns to their elected representatives in government they turn to the Church with apprehension, failing to realize that the Church is not the cause of their poverty, but doing its part about prayers, preaching the word of God, moral instruction, etc., and even rendering unpublicized social services.

Our Justice, Development and Peace Commission is functioning creditably as a social arm of our Archdiocese; we want the body to grow in strength and impact like other faith-based Catholic agencies in Europe and America: MISSIO, CAFOD, ACN, MISEREOR, CRS, etc. As the Church empathizes with and is close to the youth, we had hoped that government would recognize this and even empower the Church with grants to do more in schools and hospitals and other social services. The government agencies instead squeeze out taxes from Church social programmes or make things difficult.

The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, admitted in his 2020 New Year speech following the #EndSars protests that “Our young people are our most valuable natural resource, at home and abroad. Their ingenuity, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit is evident to all’. He promised that the government will “develop an enabling environment to turn their passions into ideas that can be supported, groomed and scaled across regions” in close and effective collaboration with religious bodies.

Like Peter in the gospel reading, let us not only build a tent for God in our hearts but also a tent for the suffering, especially the youth; to avoid their being tossed by the wind of politics, violence and social disorder. Let us all support them to be shining stars even in the midst of severe hardships.

Thank you JDPC for giving hope to the poor and suffering. God bless all of you parishioners for supporting the youth during this Lenten season. May God’s blessings come down abundantly upon you, now and forever. Amen.

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