Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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hen Jesus Christ was hanging on the Cross at Calvary for the salvation of sinful humanity, he uttered some useful words seven times. At the sixth time he said that he was thirsty. Instead of offering him drinking water, the wicked soldiers offered him poisonous vinegar. He tasted it and shouted, "It is finished!" (John 19:30). Instantly he bowed down his head and died. 'It' is an inanimate pronoun. Why did the Saviour use the term? What is the 'it' referring to? From all indications he used 'it' to stand for the unique sacrificed he paid on the Cross in order to salvage fallen mankind. He has done it once and for all. Immediately Jesus uttered the three significant words 'It is finished', the Gate of Heaven, which was shut after the unfortunate fall of Adam, was reopened again. All the departed righteous souls trouped into heaven with smiles on their faces. From then till the end of the world, all those who lived good life on earth can gain access to the Beatific Vision in the Kingdom of God.

'It is finished' and 'I am finished' are not the same. 'I will finish you' is something else. Few days ago, I came across two drunkards fighting with everything they could lay their hands on. One of them hit the other on the head with a heavy stone. Blood flowed like flood. The bruised man brandished a long sharp knife before his opponent and shouted, "I will finish you today. Kneel down and say your last prayers!" Hurriedly he raised the knife to chop off the man's head. Luckily the finishing attacker was overpowered by three hefty men who snatched the knife from his hands. He was fuming and boiling like overheated water. The saved victim was full of appreciation to his rescuers. The alcohol power in him vanished instantly. He knelt down pitifully before them and said, "Thank you my brothers for coming to my aid. I would have been finished today." The rescuers advised him to stop running mad again through alcohol consumption and to go home and finish remaining his days on earth in peace. Mercifully the three good Samaritans took the bruised man to the nearest hospital for urgent medical attention. The two former drunkards, who were seeking each other's throat, are today pastors in the Finished Orthodox church.

Last week Tuesday, I finished my strenuous office hours, which was the first in the New Year 2023. I felt very tired and hungry. At the same time my attention was needed at a bank. Since life has no duplicate, I rushed into my refectory for my lunch. I was already salivating as I was climbing the stair case. I washed my hands anyhow and descended on the appetitive plate of soup and swallow. Before I remembered to open the tight belt between my waist and my bulging belly, I have already finished the plate of food. I opened the belt forcefully. The waiting food on the upper chamber of my belly sunk into my natural storage tank like a fallen wall. I heard a strange sound, "Gbim-gbim!" I was choked internally and I fell down flat on the floor and shouted, "O God, save me! I am finished!" After some uncountable minutes, I looked around like a helpless child. I managed to make the Sign of the Cross. The devil who wanted to finish me through indigestion ran away from me. I got up. Hurriedly I rushed into my room and dressed up in my immaculate clerical soutane. With every alacrity I sat behind the steering of my pastoral car and drove to the bank.

On my arrival at the commercial bank, I walked into the bank manager's office. He welcomed me warmly. As he was solving my transaction problem, the door was opened. A young beautiful lady walked in with the bank's security man. The escorted lady was down in uncontrollable thick tears. She was shouting, "I am finished! I am finished!! I am finished!!!" Emotionally I asked her, "Nne, who finished you?" She cried the more. The manager consoled her. She sat beside me. She narrated her ordeal to the manager. Mobile phone scammers duped her of the large sum of university school fees paid into her account by her father. She pleaded with the manager to assist her to collect her money back from the scammers. The manager shook his head negatively and said, "My dear customer, it is not possible because there was a compromise." The crying lady cut in and exclaimed, "How?" He made it clear to her that she offered the scammers useful information about the details of her account. The only option left for her was to report to the police. I told her that she finished herself by supplying her bank details to the unknown fraudsters. I consoled her and advised her to bear the loss with fortitude and to be careful in the future. I blessed her and asked her to go home in peace. With frowned face and tears she asked, "Man of God, how can I go home in peace when I am finished? Please help me to regain my money." As she was gazing above, I sneaked out of the bank before I get finished myself.

Once upon a time, I was almost finished. I was at a reception where rice and stew, including assorted drinks were plenty. After finishing a plate of 'combido' (rice and beans), I was about to consume the accompanying fat chicken meat. The phone in my pocket rang extraordinarily. I held the appetizing meat on my right hand and answered the call with my left hand. The caller intimately mentioned every detail about me. He even mentioned the date of my death. At this my breath failed me. He informed me that fraudsters were about to hack the money in my bank account. He instructed me to give him the last three digits in my ATM card in order that he might block the hackers. I honestly told him that I was not with my ATM card there. He advised me to go and get it and supply him the three digits quickly. I dropped the fat meat. Foolishly and ignorantly I hurried home to supply the requested three digits.

Fortunately on my way home, I came back to my senses. I stopped beside the road and made a phone call to my bank official. She asked me to praise my God for rescuing me from fraudsters. I made the Sign of the Cross seven times. Then I reversed my car. I went back to the reception venue to consume the meat I left behind. Unfortunately it has disappeared. Instantly my phone rang again. I picked it. The fraudster was on the line. He asked me to supply him the three digits without further delay. I called out the three digits as 419. Angrily he asked me to stop joking in a matter that was serious. I advised him to stop defrauding people and to look for a decent job to do. He shouted, "Idiot!" I shouted back, "Satan!" He cut the phone immediately. I think I won the battle by God's help. In addition, Idiot is better than Satan. Don't you think so? Please let us shine our eyes always. Do not allow yourself to be finished in 2023.