I participated in the Chrism Mass celebrated by the archbishop three days ago at Archangels parish, Satellite. The church was filled with the lay faithful from various parishes. Every year this takes place and one thing that occurs during the Mass is the renewal of promises by the priests.
The homilist was clear, priests have to “make up”. In spite of their weaknesses, they are to continue the tasks that their office demands. The homilist gave several examples of men in the bible whom God used in spite of their weaknesses. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Moses was hot-tempered but he was instrumental in leading God’s people out of Egypt. Jacob was a liar, Samson was a womanizer, David was an adulterer and murderer, the examples are many. Our weaknesses should not stop us from carrying out the tasks assigned to us by God.
Later on in the Mass, the oil of Catechumens and the oil of the Sick were blessed, and the oil of Chrism was consecrated. These oils will be used throughout the year for their respective purposes.
When the archbishop addressed the lay faithful towards the end of the Mass, he made an announcement that directly concerned my worshipping community.
Earlier in the year, I made a decision to leave St. Theresa Catholic Church, Marine Beach by the end of February. I could count eight Catholic communities closer to me than St. Theresa. I decided to worship in the one closest, St. Kizito Catholic Church, Alaba Oro, starting from March.
On the day of the Chrism Mass, I was only about three weeks old in St. Kizito. In his address, the archbishop elevated the status of St. Kizito from an outstation to a quasi-parish. That was great news for all members of St. Kizito. But there was also sad news. In the evening of the same day was scheduled a Christian wake for one of the men who worked tirelessly in his contribution to make the pronouncement of the archbishop possible.
At 6pm, parishioners of St. Mary, Ajegunle were at St. Kizito for the wake (St. Kizito had been an outstation of St. Mary). The man was Chief F.A.C Nwagbara. I remember the last time I saw him about a month before. How would I have known that that was the last time I would see him? Shortly after that day, he took ill, before I knew it, he has been called.
I remember the tears of the family members that evening, that of two ladies beside and behind me, and the teary eyes of persons I saw by the end of the wake.
In the course of the wake, I reflected. It was the first time in a long while in which I seriously thought of the reality of my mortality – one day I will die. I went as far as consciously thinking of the fact that one day my body will be in a coffin. Someone would shout “God forbid” as if I was wishing myself an immediate death. But the truth remains that whether I have the thought or not, I will die someday.
The thought of my death made me examine my life. I knew I had to work hard to be the person I would want to be at the point of death. A happy death is my desire.
Consciously think of your mortality and you will find a need for your redemption. This leads you to mending your relationship with God. This is the primary relationship for anyone who wishes to die in a state of grace.
What is the point of living as if you will never die and dying as if you never lived?