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  • Writer's pictureOlufunmilayo Adekusibe

DIFFERENT ERA, SAME STORY


 

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 17:1,9-10,15-22

Psalm 128:1-5

Matthew 8:1-4

 

Do you know that today in nigeria (2023), a basket of tomatoes is now a hundred thousand naira (about $132 usd)? It is literally impossible for the poor to breathe (emphasis on the “th”).. When people are hungry, they become desperate and when desperation kicks in, people do whatever it takes to survive. Some even abandon the practice of the Christian faith in such situations. Today, is the optional feast for the first Holy Martyrs of Rome. “Who were they?”, you may ask. In July of 64 A.D., more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumour blamed the tragedy on the emperor, Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He, however, blamed the Christians. As the houses in Rome were largely made up of wooden structures, fire was a frequent occurrence in the city. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death "not so much of the crime of burning the city, as of hatred against mankind.”


Because most Christians in Rome did not indulge in the gross immoral and vulgar lifestyle of other citizens (and usually fellowships with each other), they were considered “haters”. What did the Romans do to these believers in Christ? Tacitus said that Christians were covered with the skins of beasts and fed to wild animals while others watched in excitement. They were torn by dogs and perished. Some were nailed to crosses, or bound to wooden poles and set on fire to serve as streetlights at night. All because of hatred for the Christian way of life. Could we consider the crushing weight of financial responsibilities today a subtle form of persecution which is meant to make us substitute the love of Christ for the love of money? It is possible.


In every age, we Christians will always find ourselves swimming against the tide of persecution. Know this and know peace. Step out of the crowd and refuse to conform to the world’s standards no matter what happens. Look to the champions of our faith for inspiration and love your family. Abraham entered into a covenant with God and was promised a son even though he was as good as dead. God honoured His word and made him a great nation.


The leper who came to Jesus in faith, seeking a cure, went home completely free from his illness. The martyrs of Rome found strength to pay the ultimate price for their salvation. We too must run to Christ for grace and do what lies within our strength. Turning to a life of sin is not an option. Remember, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help…but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD” (Isaiah 31:1). *God is faithful in every age, no matter the situation. They shall be blessed who fear the Lord.

JUDE-MARY OWOH


 

Prayer:

  1. Bless the Lord, O my soul, O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed in honour and majesty.

  2. You are covered with light as with da garment: You stretches out the heavens like a curtain.

  3. Lord, in trust, I lay down my life and my cares before You. Give me neither poverty nor riches.

  4. Supply my needs according to Your riches in glory and never permit me to turn away from Your grace. Amen.

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