From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama has highlighted the reason for the recent sudden increase in social ills in Nigeria.
Archbishop Kaigama said that a sea change in the understanding and expression of hospitality in today’s Nigeria has greatly contributed to social ills such as terrorism, kidnappings, increasing number of children streets, etc
Archbishop Kaigama, in his homily delivered at Loyola Jesuit College, Gidan Mangoro, Abuja, on Sunday said that hospitality is one of the fundamental virtues of African and Christian cultures, adding that a typical African family setting believes in the joy of welcoming with open arms and sharing what we have with the other person.
“Unfortunately, our sense of being the keepers of our brothers/sisters is gradually dying out due to a highly individualistic disposition. Faced with worsening insecurity, it has become difficult to offer hospitality to those we know and almost impossible to welcome those we don’t know into our homes.
“The African conception of hospitality is based on the fact that no one exists alone; on the contrary, each individual is part of the whole community. As a new elementary school teacher years ago, I was going to my station for the first time. We crossed a large river in a canoe, and as it was too late, I joined Fulani Muslim men to walk a long distance to the next village where they took me to their home.
“I was given a mat to sleep on and something to eat. The next day they showed me the way to the next village until I reached my station. This was once how Muslims and Christians treated each other. But things fall apart quickly unless we truly take back our beautiful culture without distrust or suspicion,” he said.
He, however, lamented the negative effect of social media on the current generation of young people who he says have denied them the opportunity to spend quiet time, meditate and reflect more deeply.
He said, “Social media and other related platforms promote several activities, thus leaving little or no time for prayer or studying the word of God. Some students even claim that they study better with loud music.
“We are challenged today to make time for solitude and contemplation. To teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, civil servants, artists, artisans, craftsmen and musicians, your unique talents can be of great service to society if you do things according to the inspiration of Christ and in deep communion with him.
“For all of us, and especially for you students, you must create time despite your many activities to be in the presence of Jesus; listen to his words by participating in daily masses, recitation of the rosary, reading of the Bible and Eucharistic adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and thus, possessing the joy of Martha who “received” Jesus with a generous social disposition and of Mary who listened with great attention. Remember that a busy life makes prayer harder, but prayer makes a busy life easier”.