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February 22, 2017

Don’t shut the door of mercy Msgr. Akagha appeals to Catholics

Christians have been reminded that the Year of Mercy which ended on November 20, 2016 does not mean that works of mercy have ended.

The Parish Priest of St Marks Catholic Church New Owerri, Rev. Msgr. Kevin Akagha gave this explanation in his homily on Sunday, January 29.

Reflecting on the Eight Beatitudes, Msgr. Akagha laid emphasis on Mercy – “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”. He said there was no other time to show mercy to others than now that things are very difficult in Nigeria and even appear worse in Imo State. “The call for mercy is more important than ever as hardship bites harder in Nigeria and Imo State.”

To underscore the importance of mercy in the life of Christians, Msgr. Akagha quoted James 2:13, “He shall be judged without mercy, he who has not been merciful”.

“These are frightening words and I shudder whenever I read this passage,” Msgr. Akagha said, and advised the  faithful to “check yourself and find out whether you show mercy to others, whether you share God’s Mercy through individual acts of compassion, kindness and forgiveness.

The former Rector of Assumpta Spiritual Year Seminary Ogbaku, recalled that forgiveness was a major part of  the Year of Mercy.

He narrated the parable of the unforgiving servant (Mtt 18:21), whose master forgave him a huge amount of money he owed, only for him (the servant) to sieze a fellow Servant who owed him a much smaller amount, and started to choke him, demanding, ‘pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me and I will pay you back.  But he refused and instead had him put to prison until he paid back the debt. When his master heard what he did to his fellow servant, he summoned him and said to him. “You wicked servant, I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant as I had pity on you?  Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. “So will your heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

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Msgr. Akagha also drew the attention of the faithful to Mtt 6:12- 14, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtor . . . if you forgive others, your heavenly father will forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, neither will your father forgive your transgressions.”

Noting that mercy seems to be in short supply in Nigeria, the former editor of The Leader asked the congregation to check how they stand before God in this commandment of mercy and compassion Don’t shut the door of mercy on the needs of those around you, Msgr. Akagha  pleaded.

Life is a journey in which you are either going forward or backward, either becoming a saint or Lucifer, he said, adding that you cannot stand still because there is no equilibrium in spiritual journey.

He prayed that God may give us the grace to be Christian Catholics who understand the meaning of mercy and show mercy and compassion to one another.



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