By Nna Anulumadu

The parish priest of St Albert the Great Catholic Church, Oraukwu, Fr Joseph Nkwankwor, last Sunday stated that the essence of being is to live for others.According to him, living for others embraces humaneness, hospitality, putting oneself out on behalf of others and being patient with one another. This is why we are humans. This is why “I am” and “you are” are saying the same thing. For if we are not collectively one, then we are not at all. In the first scriptural reading, we were presented with the hospitality of Abraham to three strange men who were on a journey.  He was the one who ran after them and requested to be allowed to take care of them. Those men had neither known blood, social nor religious connections with Abraham. The only connection, I guess, was that they were humans. He took them in, served them the best way he knew, and at the end of their stay, he had the promise of a child, a son, for his act of goodness. (Gen. 18: 1-10.)Such is the reward for a humanist attitude to life. Such an uncommon reward!Honestly, our full humanity is contingent on our hospitality. We could only be complete when we are giving something away. For the sole meaning of life, says Leo Tolstoy, is to serve humanity. The Gospel reading echoed almost the same concern about living to serve others and to be there for one another. Jesus was a guest at the house of Martha and Mary. Whilst one was busy preparing for what he would eat, the other was more concerned with listening to God’s word. Although Jesus preferred the service of listening to God’s word to the one of running around for food, he never condemned Martha’s effort at hospitality (Lk. 10: 38-42).  Martha may not have been appreciated enough by Christ; however, our daily experiences in today’s world tell us that love, mercy and compassion are no longer luxuries—they have become urgent necessities, for without them, it will be difficult for human beings to live and co-exist with each other, according to the Dalai Lama.Our society today appears to me as one in which so many are in search of meaning through many “selfish” routes, namely reading and securing academic certificates, hustling and working for wealth acquisition via unconventional means, thinking and believing in one-sided life goals and in destroying others in order to live big, etc. These lifestyles show that we think too much and feel too little.  Perhaps it was because of these that James Joyce (1914) said, “Sometimes I fear that this new generation, educated and hyper-educated as it is, will lack those qualities of humanity and hospitality of kindly humour which belonged to an older day.”Dear friends, Abraham has by his humanism reminded us that our lives are meaningless if we do not live for one another. Regardless of our race, our religion, our language and our political affiliation, one thing eternally holds us together: the brotherhood of our collective humanity.  If our country is in bad shape, it affects all of humanity irrespective of where you come from. And if tomorrow we decide as one united race to take our destiny into our own hands and chart a new political course to the rebirth of a new Nigeria, together as one united humanity, we would be all the better for it. Whatever your political drive, remember this: in the 2023 presidential election, it will be a choice between the final straw that would gradually and steadily lead to our collective and definitive destruction and the end of the entity called Nigeria, and the rebirth of a new country, and a new nation.  This choice between the old men (a terribly selfish lot) and the New Order (at least—from all we see and know today—selfless, young and knowledge-driven) is the CHOICE of a lifetime.Our collective humanity beckons on us for—and the God of all humanity demands from us—a choice that is both informed and revolutionary. Let our choices, dearest friends, be the final triumph of our collective humanity as a people.

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