By David Okpala/Stella Okpala :
Akpo (Aguata LGA), Feb. 22, 2021 (MOI) Rev. Fr. Gerald Onwumelu has called on Nigerians to obey constituted authorities with regard to COVID-19 protocols to avert temptation to offer bribes as the Government intensifies to drive compliance.
He made the call in a homily to mark the first Sunday in the Lenten season, at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Akpo, on Feb. 21.
The cleric, who was on a visit said: “Anambra State Government has gone the way of enforcing compliance to COVID-19 protocols as they introduce Mobile Courts.
“Within Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi environs, people have gone to prison, paid fines or served public punishment for failing to keep COVID-19 Protocols.
“So, as we observe the Lenten Season, let us understand that it is all about subduing our flesh to make our spirit blossom in the Lord.
“It is a time of self evaluation of one’s relationship with God. There is time for prayers, fasting and alms giving to the needy.
“Therefore, if one must achieve the goal of Lent, he must work on adherence to getting it right at all times in dealing with each other.’’
He also said that obedience was one attribute that could lead to righteousness. “Government at all levels has repeatedly told its citizens to obey COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Obey these directives in your own interest and those of your loved ones.’’
“Do not go out without putting on your face mask in order not to offer a bribe to the police.
“It is going to destroy your prayers, drive away the Holy Spirit from you and give advantage to your flesh, and make you behave carnally.
“Do not forget that offering bribe and receiving bribe are equal in the eyes of the law and attracts equal punishment.
“So, resist the temptation of offering bribes, begging the police/other enforcement agents, telling lies as you keep COVID-19 safety protocols willingly.
“Put on your face mask properly, have a bottle of sanitiser in your bag or pocket.
“Develop the habit of washing your hands with soap under running water regularly.
“Stay away from another in a distance of two metres, curtail unnecessary travels, avoid avoidable ceremonies/gatherings,’’ the cleric advised.
Fr Gerald added that Nigerians should not take God’s leniency for granted.
“The fact that God has not sent fire to consume you, does not mean he is happy with the evil you do.
“If you shed innocent blood in the name of religion, ethnicity or politics, loot public funds, pervert Justice, and go freely, it does not make God weak.
“He has only given you time to repent in love to gain a place in everlasting glory. God of the time of Sodom and Gomorrah is the God of today and shall remain the same forever and ever.
“So, examine yourself, purge yourself of every evil as God visits us in this year’s Lenten season.’’ (MOI)