By REV. FR. VICTOR OKHIRIA, Assistant Parish Priest, Catholic Church of The Assumption, Falomo, Lagos.
Once upon a time in a lowly and humble town, emerged a young boy, the only child of his parents. His Jewish father was a very well-known man since his occupation revolved around the market place. Now, in Jewish culture of that time [1st Century] it was required of fathers to teach their sons their own profession or trade [in addition to their sons’ formal education], between the ages of five to ten [5-10] years. Definitely, this Jewish man adhered to this practice and taught his son his occupation but as the young boy becomes a man, he has his own ambitions and prospects. This grown up man went to the synagogue on the Jewish day to worship God as it was his weekly practice and being a frequent worshipper, he was invited to read from the scriptures by the president of the synagogue who had the authority to choose those who would read from the Torah. In a loud and clear voice, he reads from an ancient prophecy that announces liberation to all those in those in bondage; a liberation that is far greater than the Exodus from Egypt and the return from Babylon. When he finished reading, he sat down to instruct them; oh yes! He would instruct them because they had heard how wonderfully he had preached in the neighbouring towns while he worshipped in their synagogues, and since he was in his hometown synagogue, he was accorded the honour to teach. When he was done, there was a deathly silence in the synagogue and all eyes were fixed on him… The mood of the crowd shifts dramatically, they were amazed to a depth that they questioned “is he not the carpenter’s son?” [Luke 4:22; Matt 13:55]. His father Joseph was a carpenter but also he, Jesus, was a carpenter by Tradition.
An excerpt from a letter Blessed Alvaro del Portillo sent to the faithful of the Prelature on April 1, 1993.
We are on the threshold of Holy Week. In a few days we will take part in the liturgical ceremonies of the solemn Easter Triduum. We will share in the final hours of our Lord Jesus Christ's earthly life, when he offered himself to the Eternal Father as Priest and Victim of the New Covenant, sealing with his Blood the reconciliation of mankind to God. It is a drama we can never grow accustomed to: the Innocent One laden with the faults of sinners, the Just One dying in place of the unjust! Nevertheless, the tragedy of Holy Week is a source of immense joy for Christians. O happy fault, which gained for us so great a Redeemer! the Church sings in the Easter Proclamation, referring to our first parents' sin. And we would like to say the same about our own daily faults, when these lead us to amend our lives with a sorrow born love and contrition.