Grace to you!
I want to share an African proverb in my native language with you. It says “Mmadu anaghi ano n’uno ewu amuo na ogbori”—literarily meaning, “It is an abomination for a person to be at home and watch the pregnant goat deliver while leashed.”
Let’s unwrap the wit of this native African wisdom. For the goat to deliver leashed is gross neglect, and an abuse of both the mother goat and the billy. Both animals are put in the danger zone of being strangled by the leash. It would be an abomination in our native African culture to willfully allow this to happen. Basically, the adage bemoans the tragedy of indifference.
Indifference or sitting on the fence is a terrible thing. Isn’t it? Lent should be a time for us to reconsider sitting on the fence regarding our Christian faith. The Lord himself told us: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23).
In another place in Scripture, regarding the Church in Laodicia, we read about God’s rejection of sitting on the fence: “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my month” (Rev. 3:15-16).
Do we suppose by being indifferent to evil, injustice or social structures of sin, we are exempt from accountability and responsibility? Do we believe our, “Well, it doesn’t concern me” attitude is always the best when we can step in and help? The great African novelist and the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Wole Soyinka, once wrote: “The man died who keeps silent in the eyes of tyranny.”
Actually, indifference seems to me to be worse than taking a side which, inadvertently, was wrong. As the bible hinted, only the lukewarm is to be spewed from God’s mouth, not the cold or the hot (Rev 3:16).
You may have heard a popular phrase attributed to a General during the holocaust. He never ceased regretting for being indifferent while the Jews were killed, because he thought, “well I am not a Jew.” Not long after, the persecution extended to protestants, to Catholics and finally to his friends and relatives. “Evil thrives when good men do nothing.”
Are there situations which call for our doing something to promote peace and love and upend injustice? Lent is an apt time to respond adequately.
Praying for the grace of the audacity of faith and for the defense and fostering of social justice and social charity. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Thursday. Lent Week 3: Jer. 7:23-28; Lk. 11: 14-23]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.