The congregation in prayer mood during the Holy Mass.
An Awka Diocesan Catholic priest and the assistant director of the Archbishop Obiefuna Retreat, Pastoral and Conference Centre, Okpuno (REPACCO), Anambra State, Rev Fr Melkizedek Obi has said that Anambra State and Nigerian politicians, who were known for the practice of hate speeches and castigation of others, lacked the spirit of forgiveness.
Rev Fr Obi, who stated this in his homily of the Holy Mass to mark the closure of the 2017 Annual Seminar of Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese (CLCNAD) at the REPACCO, noted that politicians who spent their time castigating others, instead of plan and speak on what they would do for the benefit of the masses found it difficult to forgive whatever wrong that was done to them.
The Catholic priest, who based his reflection on the gospel of the story which was on the story of the unforgiving servant, averred that just as the master could not pardon the unforgiving servant, because he could not forgave his co-servant, the same way, God would not forgive anyone that refused to forgive his fellow human being.
Rev Fr Obi, who gave an insight into the story of the unforgiving servant, maintained that every individual must forgive those that wronged him, because he was greatly forgiven by God. He exhorted couples, family members, colleagues, politicians and those in positions of authority, who bore grudges against each other to, in the midst of the many grievances, consider the many times they asked God for forgiveness, and equally forgive each other.
The priest, who cited the manner in which Pope St John Paul II forgave Ali, who shot him, described forgiveness as a spiritual affair. He noted that Pope St Paul II was able to forgive Ali, because he prayed always and from a tender a age, took the Blessed Virgin Mary as his mother.
Fr Obi exhorted those who lacked the grace to forgive, to imbibe the act of constant prayer life which included praying the rosary, saying that constant devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary helped in the spiritual exercise of forgiveness.
He noted that forgiveness was an added advantage to every individual, because forgiveness gave joy, freedom and relief, while unforgiveness meant bondage.