Homily (Reflection) for the Solemnity of Our Lady, Queen and Patroness of Nigeria (1st October, 2016) on the Gospel and the Solemnity
Is 11:1-10;Ps 72:1-2.7-8.12-13.17. (R. v. 7);
Today, the Universal Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, but in Nigeria, this memorial is celebrated on 3rd October. The Church in Nigeria celebrates today the Solemnity of Our Lady, Queen and Patroness of Nigeria in commemoration of the consecration of Nigeria to the Blessed Virgin Mary soon after the Independence in 1960. Pope Saint John Paul II led the Church in Nigeria in the consecration to Mary during his visit to Nigeria in 1982. Today also is Nigeria’s independence.
Topic: Consecrated to Mary.
In today’s gospel, after the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord said to Joseph, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” He did exactly as the angel instructed him and they remained there until the death of Herod. Then the angel of the Lord appeared again and told him to take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel. The fear of Archelaus, Herod’s son who took over from his father coupled with the warning he received made them to settle at Nazareth.
Saint Joseph being the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus Christ was among other things charged with the responsibility of protecting the duo. Hence, in obedience to the angel, he took them to Egypt to save them from Herod’s fierce anger. This in a loosely sense portrays the importance of being consecrated.
On 14th February 1982, in Kaduna, Nigeria, while leading in the consecration, The Holy Father prayed in part, “O Mother of all individuals and peoples...I desire to consecrate and entrust to you, Mother of the Church, in a special way, the Church in the land of Nigeria....” By this consecration, we pledged to be obedient to Mary. Certainly these words jangle in some ears. But everything Mary wants from all her children is simple: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). It is important to remind ourselves that everyone who does God’s will is a child of Mary, cf. Rev 12:17. And the love she has for all her children is unparallel, cf. Jn 2:3.
Our country Nigeria is bedevilled by various kinds of evils right from her independence. They are far deeper than all the medicines already applied, and the ones being applied today. Hence, no positive result so far. Often, those who said that they look for others to cure are in worse condition than the ones they said that they are curing or want to cure. We need to run into the maternal protection of Our Lady, Queen and Patroness of Nigeria now more than ever. The evils that bedevilled this country really need divine intervention.
Bible Reading: Jn 2:1-11.
Thought for today: Let’s take refuge.
Let us pray: Lord, we pray through the powerful intercession of our mother to look kindly upon Nigeria that is bedevilled by so many evils – Amen.
Our Lady, Queen and Patroness of Nigeria – Pray for us.
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