Thursday of Week 14 in Ordinary Time
Mt 10: 7-15
“I myself taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in my arms; yet they have not understood that I was the one looking after them.”
It is difficult to study and understand God — God reigns in mystery and divine perfections. From the time of creation, danger and the attendant situations have not seized. From the prompting of the Passover that heralded the death of the Egyptian first sons [Exo 12:12] to the plagues and the various accounts of wars and killings in the Bible, today’s human tragedies and disasters have remained part of human experience. Every day, we are inundated with news of tragedies across the world now confined to a global village; many of these disasters and killings run to God for decisions because He holds the account for overall knowledge. And these worrisome happenings have kept people asking, “Where is God?” And yet, God superintends over the universe and human existence. Sometimes, the character of God is revealed in the rubble of what we could describe as human tragedies, and in His perfections, God consoles the afflicted and draws attention to His presence.
Recently in the town of Owo, in Ekiti State in Southwest Nigeria, hell approached the walls of human vicinity when on 5 June this year, on Pentecost Sunday, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church was attacked by terrorists. The attack that killed no less than forty parishioners and left many wounded attracted extensive condemnation and outcries; it was a horrible tragedy that further exposed the complexity of the daunting security challenges in Nigeria that is repositioning the country in taking the place of terror landmine. But in the intense trail of casualties following the attacks lies God’s saving grace for a family. Mr and Mrs Ola Adegoke (both in their mid seventies) had prepared to attend church on that fateful Pentecost Sunday and, just as they were leaving the house, their 7-year-old granddaughter insisted on joining them to go to church. After failing to persuade her to stay at home, they agreed to let her go to church with them. When the attacks took place in the church, there was pandemonium and confusion with bullets flying in the church, cries of people struck, as wounded and dead bodies littered many parts of the church. Mr and Mrs Ola Adegoke noticed their granddaughter was running towards the sanctuary and followed her. The moment they left their position, bullets rained down on the place they had been sitting, killing and wounding those who had sat next to them. Running after their granddaughter to the sanctuary had saved them. In this incidence of tragedy, pains, and the unexpected spectre of inhumanity, God showed that He can carry people in His hands, and they may not know He is with them.
Brothers and sisters, this is who God is; His ways are indeed not our ways, and His saving grace comes at His will.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Julius Otusorochukwu Dike, KSJI, KSG, JP)
Prayer: Lord, we rely on our attachment to your will. Please help us to keep our faith and hope strong in fulfilling your will. Guide us not to stray away from following you. We believe and trust you will continue to guide and protect us. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, we thank you for protecting us in line with your will, for grace and protection are assigned according to your will. We thank you for sustaining our faith in you and relying on you. Thank you, Lord, Amen.