Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaSunday, November 1, 2015




ho are the Saints? After the inauguration of President Buhari on 29 May 2015, he vowed that he belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody. His All Progressives Congress (APC) promised Nigerians change in all ramifications. Even if you need a change of currency, you go to the APC Secretariat. If you wish to change your old car, then approach the same party. Last week I went to the APC secretariat to ask them for the change of two worn-out tyres of my vehicle. I was told that they do not give such a service. Buhari appointed some of his close associates as his personal assistants in different fields of governance. But it took him roughly four months to name his Ministers. Hence he beckoned on Nigerians for patience. He was pre-occupied with the task of searching for Saints to occupy the Ministries, because corruption has eaten deep into the heart of most Nigerians. After waiting for months, the president succeeded in sending the list of the proposed saintly ministers to the Senate for confirmation. I was glued on my television set as the Senate President read out the list of ministers. Which names did I hear? I sighed and shouted, "Are these old cargos the saints?" The vulture after taking a cold bathe asked her children how beautiful she looked like. Unanimously they chorused, "Mother, ugliness has met ugliness!"If the listed ministers are the ideal saints, then there will be a violent rebellion in heaven soonest. Those in hell will accuse God of partiality and marginalization. If they are the saints Nigeria has, then I would prefer to stay behind on earth to manage suffering. The Bible condemns pouring new wine into old wine-skin or pouring old wine into new wine skin. It is laughable. The same re-cycling of old politicians still goes on. Some of them are already corrupt. How can they join hands with President Buhari to fight corruption? It is just like employing an armed robber as watch-night. Anyway, the president just compiled a compensation list of those who fought for the actualization of his mandate. They are not saints at all. I am in no way a saint myself.

No one is born a saint. A saint is made. Made where and how? Saints are made on earth and exported into heaven. The account of creation in the Book of Genesis tells us that everything God created was good. At last God said, "Let us make man in our own image and likeness. Male and female he created them." (Gen. 1:27) God created man holy and then put him in-charge of all creatures and the environment. Later, the temptation to taste the forbidden fruit robbed man of his holiness. Consequently, he was expelled from Paradise. Often we blame Adam and Eve for their disobedience and greed. But if it were today, we shall eat not only the forbidden fruit. We shall also cut down its tree. After the fall of man (woman included) suffering and death set in. The Bible tells us that death came as the consequence of sin. By committing sins we swim against the current.

However, God being so kind, at the fullness of time sent his only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to redeem us by shedding his blood on the Cross. By so doing he reconciled us with God. To become incorporated once again into the divine plan, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Baptism. After Baptism we beam with the holiness associated with the Saints. By committing actual sins we fall from grace to grass again. Despite this willful failure, God is still merciful because he does not desire the death of a sinner but wants him or her to repent as we read in Ezekiel chapter 18. This is because he is a Loving Father.

As Jesus was about to ascended into heaven, he assured us he was going to prepare for us many mansions in his Father's house above. I called Angel Michael yesterday on phone to book my own mansion, but there was serious network failure. Tomorrow I shall call again to see if there is an improvement, even though I am not yet ready to die.

In this world, we are on pilgrimage. We move from temporality to eternity. Human death is not annihilation but a passage from mortality into immortality. Our destination after judgment is Heaven, if we are faithful to God. St. Paul makes it clear that each and every one of us will render account of his or her live when we die (Rom. 14:12). That is a compulsory examination for all human beings. Those who got excellent result will be considered for heaven. This group of the Elect is called the Church Triumphant. St. Paul again says, "No eye has seen; no ear has heard neither has it been conceived what God prepares for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9). The Book of Revelation says, "Nothing unclean will enter it, or anyone who does what is evil and false but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life" (Rev. 21:27). Is my name or your name written in that Book? If not, let us make haste and approach Jesus to write our names immediately. If you do not know where to see Jesus, please come to my office and I shall give you the address. Delay can be dangerous.

God has no limit of those to be admitted into heaven. Some say it is only 144,000 as described in Apocalypse 7:4. Are they blind to read what John says in the same chapter: "After this I saw a great crowd, impossible to count, from every nation, race, people and tongue, standing before the throne and the Lamb, clothed in white, with palm branches in their hands" (Rev. 7:9). Heaven will accommodate all of us. A certain man approached Jesus and asked him how many people will be saved. The Lord Jesus answered him, "Do your best to enter by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able" (Lk. 13:24). Practice makes perfect. Indeed I have started following the narrow door. Wherever I see a big gate and a small one both open, I normally take the small one which is the narrow gate Jesus talks about. Am I not right? There will be no paying of house rent in heaven. Power failure can never be experienced there. Racism is not found there. Since my town Aguluezechukwu (AgulukingGod) is God's own town, many of my people will be in heaven. It is a big shame for a person called Godson to go to hell. What is a Christian doing in hell? Maybe he went there to preach to the hardened sinners for conversion. If a priest is seen in hell, it may be he is there for pastoral reasons or just to hear the confessions of the damned souls. If a bishop is found there, it could be that he went there just to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation on Satan and his subjects. If a governor or a president is found there, it could be he is campaigning for votes. If a Lawmaker is sighted in hell, it could be that he is on mission to make laws to be followed there. If a business man or woman is in hell, it may be for the purpose of selling his or her commodity, because there is much hunger and wants in hell. The inmates also lack clothes, housing and the necessities of life. A student may be in hell just for academic research. Some medical doctors and nurses seen in hell may be there just to diagnose the patients there and administer drugs to them. A lawyer seen in hell is there for legal purposes, to fight for the rights of the souls suffering there and work for their release.

We here on earth are on the battle field. We are the Church Militant. A military man is always alerts for any eventuality. We fight with evil. We fight with our weaknesses. We fight with the devil himself. St Peter warns us to beware "because the devil is prowling round looking for someone to devour" (1 Pt 5:8). If we succeed in conquering the devil, then the Saints in heaven will triumph with us. But if the devil conquers us, then we are lost forever. God forbid! As we triumph with the Saints today, let us fall on our knees to ask for God's mercy on those souls in Purgatory who are yet to behold the Beatific Vision. Some of us see visions as a result of malaria attack. Those souls suffering in Purgatory are referred to as the Church Suffering. They took the final eternal examination and scored weak-pass. Even though they are suffering, they have high hope of going into heaven when their purification is over. The case of those in hell is completely hopeless. They failed woefully in the divine Examination; hence they are repeating the class. Please kindly do this homework: WHERE WILL YOU SPEND YOUR ETERNITY?