The celebration of the birth of Christ has been described as a missionary mandate on the part of Christian faithful to continue his redemptive mission by extending the love and mercy of God to neighbours, especially the poor and the needy.
This was the kernel of the homily of the Catholic Archbishop of Ibadan, Most Rev. Gabriel ‘Leke Abegunrin, during the celebration of the 2016 Christmas Day Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral Church, Oke Padi, Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to the Metropolitan of Ibadan Archdiocese, the example of great love, mercy and humility of Jesus, who in-spite of being God, came into the world in human flesh and was born in the manger; becomes a mission for all faithful to extend same to all persons because “what we see God do, we are expected to carry on”.
The Archbishop continued: “there are no few opportunities to do this. The current state of our nation, the circumstances of the lives of individuals makes this an urgent duty for all Christians; adding: “What Jesus also brings to us at this time is peace. Peace among men”
Archbishop Abegunrin urged that during this time, “we must remember that many people go to bed hungry every night; people living with disabilities; communities without health care centres, people spending hours looking for bucket of water and those abandoned because of sickness or other conditions of life and old age”.
He called upon the faithful to be concerned about the happenings around them especially insecurity; eschew hatred, rumours that are untrue and destructive; selfishness, greed for materialism. While admonishing that the faithful should be spiritually endowed, Archbishop Abegunrin urged them to be watchful, careful, patient and courageous; as well as be Christ-like in all facets of Life.
Earlier in the homily at the Christmas-eve Mass, Archbishop Abegunrin called on Christians not to be obstacles to any one; not to be destructive or diabolical and not give room to violence in their hearts and lives.
While describing the birth of Christ as God’s greatest gift to humanity, the Archbishop stated that Christ opened the doors of grace with his teachings, works of mercy, suffering, death and resurrection He therefore called on them to be wise followers of Christ, embrace and develop a renewed conscience of love, sacrifice and truth.