Isaiah 11:1-10, Ps. 72:1-2,7-8,12-13,17, Ephesians 2:13-18, Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

“Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” (Matthew 2:13)

Happy Independence Day. We thank God Almighty for bringing us all alive to see yet another birthday of our dear country. In today’s Gospel passage, Joseph is warned in a dream to take the child Jesus with his mother and flee from the country of Israel to another country, Egypt.

Why did God send his angel to tell Joseph to run abroad overnight? Those in power forgot their purpose and wanted to kill the child Jesus by all means just to remain in power. Isn’t that similar to what is happening in our dear nation wherein people are ready to rig, loot and commit all kinds of atrocities to remain in power?

God knew Israel was like this, yet he chose that country as the birthplace for his son Jesus Christ. Moreover, at the time Jesus was born, Israel was not even an independent nation, it was a Roman colony. As bad as things were, Jesus Christ carried out his ministry in that same country, and the world as a whole today is a different place because of what Jesus did in Israel two thousand years ago. What does this teach us? As bad as Nigeria may appear in our own eyes now, God can still work in us and through us to make our world better.

As we celebrate our independence today as a country, today is also an opportunity to remind ourselves of our dual citizenship; the fact that we are not just Nigerians but Christians as well. And as St. Paul would tell us in our second reading today, because Christ died on the cross, he has broken the dividing wall that separated nations.

“You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” Our celebration today should not make us think of ourselves as separate from the world, it should also remind us that we are united with others as citizens of heaven.

Nigeria as a country is under the patronage of our Mother Mary. Hence, on a day like this, we celebrate our Mary as the Queen of Nigeria, thanking her for her intercession so far that has kept this country despite our challenges and we also call upon her to continue to intercede on our behalf.

We pray that just as she agreed to wake up in the middle of the night to take the child Jesus with her and make the arduous journey to cross the border and enter Egypt, she may be willing always to inconvenience herself for the sake of our dear nation that good things may come our way. 

Let us pray: Lord God, be merciful to us as a nation and make us better citizens. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Our Lady, Queen and Patroness of Nigeria – Solemnity Bible Study: Isaiah 11:1-10, Ps. 72:1-2,7-8,12-13,17, Ephesians 2:13-18, Matthew 2:13-15,19-23).

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu