Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaSaturday, August 9, 2014
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n a certain parish, the parish priest and his vicar were living together in the presbytery, looking after the flock of God entrusted into their hands by the Bishop. Every priest in the diocese is entitled to one month leave annually. It was the turn of the vicar to go on leave. But he decided to stay indoors to mark his leave. He only came out during meal times.

It happened that one day the parish priest was alone in the church hearing confessions. The penitents were so numerous that he became tired. He got up from the confessional, sweating like a condemned fowl in hot water. He rushed to the presbytery and knocked at the door of his vicar and asked him to come out and join him in hearing confessions. The vicar, who was sleeping and snoring, stretched himself on the bed and opened one of his eyes and replied, "Father, please I am on leave." The parish priest angrily shouted, "Leave means you leave!" To avoid trouble, there is an urgent need to demarcate between "Leave Allowance" and "Stay Allowance."

My dear admirable readers, I am just back from my annual leave. I travelled to the desert because leave means "You leave!" That means you leave your place of abode temporarily to get fresh air somewhere else. Even if you do not have anywhere to go, you can climb a tree at the back of your house and enjoy your leave there. As I was on one month leave in the desert, series of phone calls came across me, but the spirit operating in the desert forbids answering of calls. I could only read and reply text-messages. I have been missing you awhile. Did you miss me also? One of my admirers wrote me this text: "Today again father I missed your column. What's wrong for how many consecutive Sundays now?" I replied him that I was on leave. I left, but I am back now. I hope we are still together. Or have you moulded a golden calf to worship during my absence? Please come, let us put hands together to glorify God and improve our society. If there are no readers, then writers are labouring in vain. Writers and readers are equally important. Therefore all hands should be on deck. If a Reverend Father comes to the church and does not see anybody, would he say to the pews (seats), "The Lord be with you"?

A popular saying goes, "No one is an island." Geographically speaking, an island is a piece of land surrounded by water. Those who produce pure water are surrounded by water. What are they? When I was in my junior primary school, I thought that an island is two words "is" and "land" joined together to mean a land that is still in existence. Indeed ignorance is a terrible disease but it is better than Ebola. "Biko, e bokwala m ya." (Ebola, God forbid!) Are you ignorant? Remember that ignorance is not an excuse in Law Court. It is also not an excuse in heaven. You ought to know what you are supposed to know. It is only a fool who gives birth to a baby and named him (the baby) Ignorance. When the baby Ignorance grew up and went to school, he learnt the meaning of his name and changed it to Ignatius. As Ignatius, he began to ignore evil, to name and to choose the right thing at the right time. Hence, Ignore + Name + Choose = Ignatius, QED.

United we stand; divided we fall. Is it true or false? Jesus Christ himself asserts, "Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin; and no town, no household divided against itself can last" (Mtt.12:25). A certain old man from an ancient town was about to join his ancestors. He summoned his seven children before his ageing wife. He brought a big bundle of brooms and said to his children, "Do you see this bundle of brooms? If you untie it, they fall apart in singles. In fact no single broom can sweep a room. But as a bundle, it sweeps well. Likewise, if you are united by love as brothers and sisters, you will achieve a lot. But if you are divided by hatred, you are finished." Immediately the old man dropped the bundle of brooms beside his local bed-chair, he gave up the ghost. All efforts made by his wife and children to resuscitate him proved abortive. Indeed the old man has given an intelligent lecture to his family and departed quietly and peacefully. After all, what is the teacher doing in the class when the school is over?

In the Catholic Church, the priest dismisses the congregation at Holy Mass by saying, "Go in peace, the Mass is ended." The people respond, "Thanks be to God." Anyone staying behind in the church after this final greeting is perhaps doing a private devotion. Private devotion is quite different from Communal Worship. Active participation of each individual in the congregation is a sine qua non in a public liturgical worship. The Choir sings in different parts; but when combined, they sing classically in unison. The choir-master unifies the different parts to sing as a unit.

The 2014 World Cup just ended few weeks ago. Some football teams from various countries were humiliated because they failed to play as a team. In the semi-final match between Germany and Brazil, the latter were humiliated by seven goals to one. The reason was that the Brazil team reposed their entire success on the Captain and the Centre-forward man. Unfortunately, the two players did not feature in that crucial match. The Captain was barred from playing due to football crime committed earlier while the Centre-forward player called Neymar got a serious injury in the quarter-final match. So, Brazil team was weakened and lost control. Germany humiliated them 7:1 goals in the semi-final match. Holland crucified them in the match for the third position by 3goals to 1. Brazil football was then buried in their own soil. Will Brazil rise again from the grave in the 2018 World Cup in Russia? The World Powers must protect the planes conveying players from different countries to Russia in 2018 to avoid the Separatist Terrorists shooting down their planes. I am afraid!

The Final Football match competition took place between Germany and Argentina. Before the commencement of the match, a Commentator said, "Argentina has good players. But Germany has a strong team." This statement is pregnant with meanings. It is one thing to have good players. It is another thing to have a strong team. Good players can play without achieving success while strong team can put their resources together to achieve success. This happened exactly between Germany and Argentina in 2014 World Cup Final in Brazil. Even with Messi as the best player in the tournament, Argentina couldn't carry the exalted Trophy and luck was against them also. However, as a strong and lucky team, Germany won by 1:0 in the dying minute of the extra time. Germans all over the globe danced for joy.

All hands should be on deck in every aspect of our society, be it social, political or religious. Nevertheless, no one is indispensable. Soldier goes, soldier comes. The different talents we possess should be harnessed together to achieve a common goal. In the Sacred Scripture we read about the Parable of the Talents (Mtt.25:14 - 30). Three servants were given certain amount of money Talent to do business. One was give 5 Talents; the other 2 and the other 1. The first and second utilised their Talents and gained more. But the third dug the ground and hid his Talent. The industrious two were rewarded while the other lazy one was punished for his stupidity. What Talent do you have? If it is not useful to others, then it is useless.