A Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Luke-Dominic Onwe, has urged Christians to build relationships with both Christians and non-Christians as they begin the observance of lent.
Onwe, a visiting Carmelite priest from Ibadan Diocese, gave the advice in his homily at Christ the King Catholic Church, Kurudu, Abuja, at a Mass to celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of lent.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Catholic faithful in the parish adorned black attires to the Mass as directed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria.
The dressing was to mourn those who died in various attacks by terrorists and criminals in parts of the country.
According to Onwe, building relationships will help to encourage Nigerians that there is hope as good family relationships extended to the wider society will ensure unity among the citizens.
He reminded the faithful of the three pillars of lent – prayer, arms giving and fasting – all of which are meant for self purification and to draw one closer to God.
The cleric stated that lent was a period to reflect on life and to realise that ‘’Christ died for our sins and rose again to prepare a place for His people in eternity.’’
He explained that the ash the faith received on Ash Wednesday was to remind all that “we are dust and to dust we shall return’’ as well as the need for everyone to be humble before God.
He said that the three pillars of lent cut across many religions but the difference in their observance was on the method of observing them.
Accordingly, he advised Christians to ensure that they did not carry the pillars on their faces for everyone to see but to demonstrate them in their daily lives in very quiet and sober ways.
“Christ makes us to understand the best way to go about it.
“Many religions observe these pillars but the difference is how to go about it.
“Do not make anyone to understand that you are praying, fasting or giving arms to the needy.
“Jesus wants everything to be done secretly and not to be noticed by others; if not, then it lacks the purpose,’’ he added.
Onwe also reminded the faithful that lent was another period to make resolutions on what one could do to live better and sinless life.
“At least we make resolutions on what we don’t want to do. You also have to resolve what you want to do at this period.
“The readings today told us to build relationships. This is an opportunity for us to mend broken relations with those around us and other citizens in our society,’’ he said.
The priest prayed that God should give the faithful the grace to observe His dictates during lent.