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Month: July 2022




The prevalent problems of corruptions and delinquencies confronting contemporary societies especially in Nigeria are horrendous. Violence, dishonesty, and downplay of the value of justice and truth have become commonplace in our society. Unfortunately, most of these problems are often stimulated by the acclaimed “learned persons.” Paradoxically, some of our ancestors, though devoid of sophisticated academic learning that we enjoy today, lived truthful and harmonious lives. In their days, people could keep their belongings and travel, later when they returned, would still find them there.

Thus the crux of the matter is, despite the high-level academic qualifications (FSLC – PhD) with distinctions obtained by so many people, there seem to be a serious lack of good character and morals amongst them. Does it mean that people living in this era are different persons all together with corrupt and paralyzed minds? Or does it mean our direct parents did not take the pains to give us good parental upbringing that is saturated with moral values which they received, or are we resistant to their teachings?

Sequel to the above perplexing questions, effort would be made in this work to explore the rationale behind the problems mentioned above, and then proffer possible solutions on how our education system should be restructured so that people would not only acquire academic excellence but also be imbued with moral rectitude during the course of their academic pursuits, since education devoid of character and morals renders the mind paralyzed and deformed.

Definition of key Terms:

Etymologically, the word “education” is derived from the Latin word “educare” meaning to bring up, to train, to rear, and also from the gerund word “educatio” meaning “a breeding, rearing, or bringing up.” It is the gradual process of acquiring knowledge or the result of good upbringing especially knowledge of correct social behavior. The word “moral” comes from a Latin root “moralis” meaning “goodness or manners.” It is concerned with the principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character of a person in the society. The word “character” is derived from the Greek word carakthr meaning “engraved mark,” or internal disposition which constitutes part of a person’s moral identity distinguished from others. It can be measured in virtues like: honesty, patience, truthfulness, kindness and the like.

The Goals/ Objectives of Education:

Education has for its objectives, academic learning and formation of character. For Plato, the ideal aim of education is the liberal training of the human mind and character so as to move them from darkness to light as well as develop in a child the qualities of mind and character that most fully express the ideal of human nature (Morrow 1960:297). Similarly, the aim of education is geared towards self-realization, enhancing human relationships, economic efficiency and civic responsibility; to develop the ability to think rationally and the ability to have respect for human persons as well as grow in insight apropos to ethical values (Okafor 2006:132-136). Hutchin R.M. also opined that the goal of education is to provide for the perfection of man’s rational and spiritual faculty, which sets him apart from other animal.

Therefore, the primary aim of education is to enable the child to assimilate moral and cultural values as well as foster growth and development for personal maturity and self-discipline. The secondary aim is the acquisition of the skills and knowledge necessary for playing useful roles in the society. If people are deprived of these opportunities, they are no lesser than animals unfortunately born as human because education is not just for human success, it must include the truths of our faith, so that in the end, the child becomes a reputable personality.

An Overview of Paralyzed Education System and its Causality.         

The advent of technology has made some persons to know several ways to carry out illegal activities. The more most of them acquire academic qualifications, the more they are involved in the biggest of scams. One of my lecturers once made an allusion to a boy whom he said is “only intelligent in books.” By that he meant that the person in question has good retentive memory in academics, but lacks good character. According to him, the boy is self-centric, disrespectful, proud, aggressive, snobbish and involves in internet money laundering. Of course, he is the best academic student – with distinctions in all his results. But is academic excellence the sole reason why we go to school? According to Theodore Roosevelt, to educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to a society. This means imparting skills to a person without passing on the requisite morals to make good use of the knowledge will be harmful for the society.

Undoubtedly, the lack of character and moral education in our society is increasingly apparent. Our current education system is filled with sophisticated knowledge which pride herself in academic excellence and degree conferment, with little or no room for the application of moral values in her teaching, neither much emphasis is being given to our character building process. Some of these problems accrue from homes, because most of our parents seldom give their children training based on moral principles. Even those who acquire these principles are often stifled by immoral persons in the society, and thus join the bandwagon. Almost every day, there are increase in crime rates: juvenile delinquency, sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, banditry, etc.

Furthermore, academic dishonesty has also been the bane of some of our schools. Some of our lecturers are morally bankrupt and cannot bequeath moral principles to their students, their interest is only in making money. Sometimes, they hardly award higher or appropriate marks to students without bribes (sorting), and mostly ladies become victims of sexual assaults in this regard. Some of the students who patronize these lecturers later graduate and become nuisances in the society; unable to defend their certificates or give sensible judgments, while those who could not comply would continue to fail that course and thus become frustrated. These individuals may automatically become wicked themselves, either by joining cultism in order to avenge their cause or become dropouts, who may later culminate into high profile criminals, bandits, kidnappers or terrorists.

This is one of the reasons why Sathya Sai Baba said that, “The end of education is character, and virtue makes education worthwhile which is a sign of an educated person. Politics without principles, education without humanity, and commerce without morality are not only useless, but positively dangerous (Character – True end of education, November 20, 2001).”

Moreover, the rise of consumerism in the modern world and the information revolution have brought degeneration of moral values in the society. Previously, traders were honest and afraid to sell inferior goods to their customers, even technicians were very sincere when repairing their customer’s equipment, but currently, the reverse seems almost. One may say that each generation is being faced with challenges relative to their epoch. Of course, that is true, but the high rate of corrupt minds in our era is very outrageous. In a bid for a quick-rich syndrome, some people become mischievous and dishonest.

For instance, someone’s vehicle might develop little problem which may not even take much money, some mechanics would magnify the fault, and at times may remove other functional parts from the vehicle and then request that the owner buys new ones while presenting old parts, which they retrieved from another vehicle as the damages. They may possibly put inferior parts which would spoil quickly and then charge the person higher afterwards. Many other examples abound, just to mention but a few.

Only those whose minds have been paralyzed without morals would display such abhorrent behaviors and the likes mentioned above; “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains(1 Timothy 6:10). In the thoughts of Martin Luther King, Jr., he maintained that, “education without morals is like a ship without a compass, merely wandering nowhere. It is not enough to have the power of concentration, but we must have worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. Hence, an entrepreneur, a political leader, a doctor, a teacher or whosoever is devoid of moral values is just like a robot; a cankerworm in the society.”

Moral and Character Formation in Education.

In the past, informal learning was the major form of education. The homes served as the vehicles for such training. Virtually all aspects of daily life were taught in the home such as; moral instructions, cultural patterns, historical events, and spiritual guidance by parents to children on an informal level. A prime example of this is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 where parents are exhorted to teach the commandments of God to their children and discuss them throughout the day. Another biblical injunction to parents has it thus, “Train children in the right way, and when they become old, they will not stray;” (Proverbs 22:6).

Parents must be acknowledged as the first educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. For it devolves on parents to create a family atmosphere so animated with love and reverence for God and others, that a well-rounded personal and social development will be fostered among the children (Familiaris Consortio, November 22, 1981, no. 36). In addition, conscious efforts should be made in this endeavor with the content delineation in its broad contours from the religious standpoint. Subsequently, formal education which involves learning and acquisition of intellectual skills in different areas of academic specialization through the teachers in school should be made available for the children, which also must be imbued with moral instructions.

Meanwhile, the training should not be done by the application of force or harshness; it has to be done gently so as to discover and enhance the peculiar bent of the genius of each person, since knowledge which is acquired under force or compulsion obtains no hold on the mind. With these modes of learning, the students would become rectitudinous, responsible as well as reputable human beings in the society, able to give right judgments. Thus, their consciences would be formed adequately; always making reference to all they learnt which acts as a springboard to their behavior (Cf. Proverbs 4:13). This is what holistic education is all about: a blend of academic/ intellectual excellence and worthiness in character. It is not enough to know truth, but we must love it, say it, sacrifice for it and live by it (Cf. John 8:31-32). Hence, for anyone to be given an honorary award, he/ she must be worthy in character and in learning.

The Panaceas to lack of Proper Education: The Church’s Teaching.

The development of the children’s personality is the most excellent task of the parents, and the state has the right to enforce an educational standard appropriate to the needs of the community and its culture. For only thus will children be able to make a decent living and be useful members of the community and not a burden to it (Peschke 1996: 592-598). True education, therefore is directed towards the formation of the human person in view of his final end and the good of the society.

Children should be helped to develop harmoniously their physical, moral and intellectual qualities. They should be trained to acquire gradually a more perfect sense of responsibility in the proper development of their own lives by constant effort and in pursuit of liberty, overcoming obstacles with unwavering courage and perseverance (Vatican II, Gravissimum Educationis, no.1).

According to St. Pope John Paul II, the education of the moral conscience, which makes every human being capable of judging and of discerning the proper ways to achieve self-realization according to his/ her original truth, thus becomes a pressing requirement that cannot be renounced (Familiaris Consortio, no. 8). For the resulting dereliction of the eternal principles of an objective morality which educates conscience and ennobles every department and organization of life, is a sin against the destiny of a nation, a sin whose bitter fruit will poison future generations (Cf. Pope Pius XI, Encycl. Mit Brennender Sorge, March 14, 1937, no. 29).

Thus, any education which forgot or, worse still, deliberately neglected to direct the eyes and hearts of the youth would be an injustice to the youth, an injustice against the inalienable duties and rights of the Christian family and an excess to which a check must be opposed, in the interests even of the people and of the state itself (Cf. Pope Pius XII, Encycl. Summi Pontificatus, October 20, 1939, no. 67).


From the forgoing, it is obvious that education without good character and morals will engender paralysis of the mind. For it is difficult to acquire adequate knowledge which would enhance the development of a given society without morals, otherwise there would be problem in the society. For holistic education must involve both the acquisition of academic knowledge and formation of character, they must go hand in hand. Effective moral education should be an integral part of the curriculum, not taught as a separate subject. Classroom rules should be based on the principles of good character, and teachers should model good character for the students to observe through hands-on service activities that contribute to the school, the community, and the society in general.

Our education system should strive to develop student’s intrinsic motivation and commitment to do what is right. Therefore, all school teachers, priests, counselors, civil workers from all facets of life, traders and bus drivers must be involved in this learning process by discussing and sharing responsibility for character education. If it is to have any effect, the reeducation of mankind must be, above all things, religious. Hence, it must proceed from Christ as from its indispensable foundation; must be actuated by justice and crowned by charity (Cf. Pope Pius XII, Encycl. Summi Pontificatus, no. 83).

Finally, the acquisition of knowledge or skills without acceptable moral values and discipline is meaningless since discipline is an essential part of purposeful education and without it, our society would continue to be in a decadent or a comatose state.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.

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Mary and Martha with Jesus



First Reading: Genesis 18:1-10; Second Reading: Colossians 1:24-28; Gospel: Luke 10:38-42

Hospitality is a sign of friendly service, generous reception as well as entertainment to visitors, guests, and even to strangers. This is one of the basic characteristic features Africans are well known for. Meanwhile, many decades ago, people could travel to any place within their country in search for greener pasture, without being afraid of where to pass the night, in case they couldn’t reach their destination before sunset.

Unfortunately, the reverse seems almost nowadays. One of the causative factors is the global economic meltdown, which has engendered a lot of hardships and criminality in our contemporary society. For instance, you may welcome an innocent looking guest or visitor into your house, and in the night the person may wield a gun to dispossess you of your whole life’s savings, if not your life.

Consequently, many people are now afraid to welcome unknown visitors into their homes, or to travel, even to a nearby town or state due to insecurity, as well as the hostility they may experience. But, should we refrain from hospitality because of our hardships or challenges of life or unforeseen circumstances?

In the first reading, out of compassion, Abraham offered gratuitous hospitality to strangers into his house. He begged them to wait and eat before continuing their journey. Fortunately for him, they were Angels of God, who in turn blessed him for his kind gesture. Through them God promised him a Child, and he waited patiently for that promise, which later came to pass (Genesis 12:2-3, 18:10; Hebrews 6:14). This kind of generosity shown by Abraham towards his visitors is a good example, and a sign of service to our neighbours, especially giving attention or listening ear to those passing through difficulties.

In the Gospel, Mary and Martha were very happy to welcome Jesus Christ into their house. Mary gave Jesus close attention and a listening ear, while Martha was busy with the preparation of something that Jesus would eat. At a point, Martha started complaining to Jesus that her sister Mary, had left her to do the preparation alone. In response to Martha, Jesus said that Mary has made the right choice of listening to Him, which is also a wonderful skill and gift.

Moreover, with the cross before Him and with the inner tension in His heart, Jesus Christ had turned aside to Bethany to find an oasis of calm away from the demanding crowds if only for an hour or two; and that is what Mary gave Him. He needed somebody who would give him a listening ear to talk to.

Undoubtedly, the story of Martha and Mary stresses that service, even service to Christ, cannot be separated from hearing His Word. Both of them rendered hospitable services to Jesus Christ, just like Abraham did for the strangers, despite his challenge of not having any child yet, even in his old age.

Definitely, there will be times when we must act like Martha: “giving our time, talents, material goods and financial support in the service of God and humanity.” On the other hand, there will be a period when we must act like Mary: “just being present to God in our quiet times, listening to Him through meditating the scriptures, during Holy Mass, and before the Blessed Sacrament. Also, giving listening ear to those who are really in need.

In the second reading, St Paul showed himself as a model of service to his fellow brethren. He thus exclaimed: “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my own body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of His body, the Church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to His saints(Colossians 1:24-26).

Finally, God is speaking to us each day in the events of our lives. However, very often we get so busy that we do not hear Him speak to us. We miss His signs and daily messages for us in the pursuit of other priorities. Therefore, like Martha and Abraham, we are called to always show gratuitous hospitality to our neighbours. Also, just as Mary offered Jesus Christ her listening ear, we too need to give our listening ears and undivided attention to the poor and needy at all times no matter our challenges. Let us not be listeners of the Word of God only, but also doers of the Word, by rendering hospitality to people around us no matter how turbulent the challenges we are facing (James 1:22-23).


May the Holy Spirit grant you the courage to always show gratuitous hospitality, and also give listening ear and undivided attention to the poor and needy at all times no matter our challenges, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.

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The "Good Samaritan" showing love to his enemy



First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-20; Gospel: Luke 10:25-37

When I was growing up as a child, our parents subjected us to certain rules (civil and religious laws) that would be guiding our behaviours, in order for us to become reputable persons in the society. But most times, we tried to trivialize some of these laws, and sought for easier ones we liked, since the laws seemed to be strenuous. Meanwhile, in our contemporary society, many people usually seek for easy lifestyle that would always give them happiness and joy, without any hard rule or principle that may stress them.

Moreover, almost every religion has love as one of its basic guiding principles or rules. However, true religion is a religion of sacrificial love, not one of mere words. Unfortunately, some of the members of these religious groups do not really understand what love is all about. Some of them pretend to love in a view of gaining from someone, and once what they are looking for is no longer available, they abscond. While others tend to show love to their friends in a bid to get the same love in return, or to gain peoples’ attention or admiration. But once their friends begin to suffer, they would disassociate themselves with them, especially when they feel that they would not gain anything.

In the first reading, Moses told the Israelites that the commandments are not imposed from outside but spring from our hearts. The law that God has given them is accessible for them to understand and practical enough for them to put into action in their daily life. To love God with all their hearts, mind, soul and strength; and their neighbours as their selves (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18).

In the Gospel, Jesus Christ explained through the “Parable of the Good Samaritan”, how we as Christian ought to demonstrate our love for one another, most especially to strangers, our enemies as well as other tribes or religions (Luke 10:25-37). The Samaritan was capable of sharing in God’s compassion and love for all people. For he took absolute care of the man who was beaten to the point of death by the robbers, despite the fact that, the victim was a stranger from the Jewish town, and his own people and the Jews were ‘archenemies’. This implies that, our neighbour is that person with whom we may not necessarily share the same faith, or the person whom we may not necessarily gain anything from.  

Meanwhile, it is a human inclination in us to love our own and despise what we consider as the other. However, true love is to sacrifice one’s own comforts, energy, time, resources and talents for the sake of others; being merciful and compassionate, just like the ‘Good Samaritan’, as well as giving a listening ear to the poor, weak, depressed, etc. “For where there is no sacrifice, there is no love, and where there is no love, then there is no Christianity.”

In the second reading St. Paul explains how God demonstrated His Divine Love for humanity through His Son, Jesus Christ in spite of our sins. For Jesus Christ, is the perfect manifestation of God and the perfect manifestation of man. There is in Jesus Christ the revelation of godhead and the revelation of manhood. He is the image of God, the first-born of all creation (John 1:1-3), and His death on the Cross is the reconciling agent of all creation.

He is not merely someone who lived and died and of whom we read and learn. Rather, He is someone who, because of His death and resurrection, is alive for evermore, and whom we meet and experience, not a dead hero nor a past founder, but a living presence. Hence, Jesus Christ holds the first place in love for His brethren, because He was the first authentic “Samaritan” who has rescued us from the hands of the evil one (Colossians 1:13-14), and healed our spiritual wounds, which was caused as a result of our sins. He did this by His precious blood, and also by extension, continues to heal us through the sacrament of reconciliation.

Finally, the road that leads to eternal life is not so far from us as to need someone to bring it near. It is evident in Jesus and expressed in His teaching or law: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Luke 10:27). But, a clearer picture of what Jesus Christ meant here, is seen in His New commandment (Law of Sacrificial Love): “Love your neighbour as I have loved you(John 15:12).

Moreover, our neighbour is that person with whom we may not necessarily share the same religion, country, tribe, ideology, or opinions. Therefore, in order to gain eternal life, we must break those boundaries and reach out to the other, especially the needy, by showing him or her compassion and unconditional or sacrificial love which is supreme. Not in a bid to get the same love in return, or to gain peoples’ attention or admiration.


May the Holy Spirit of God grant you and your family the grace to demonstrate your unconditional love to your neighbours, and at the end of your earthly life, may you be welcomed into God’s Heavenly Kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.

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First Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14; Second Reading: Galatians 6:14-18; Gospel: Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

Life is a journey that is imbued with difficulties and challenges. However, every deplorable situation we find ourselves in life, no matter how long it may have lasted, is ephemeral, and has expiry date. As long as there is life, there is hope of restoration, deliverance and breakthrough. This is God’s assurance to His children, which can be actualized by the Power of the Holy Spirit, through different people who may have been commissioned by God to cross our paths in life (Isaiah 30:20-21; Exodus 23:20).

In the first reading, prophet Isaiah describes in poetic and symbolic language the prosperity and peace which the New Jerusalem will enjoy. He encouraged the returned exiles who were depressed and downcast when they saw the deplorable state of their country, to rebuild the city, and to continue hoping for Divine restoration in the messianic days, a New Jerusalem where there will be peace, joy and prosperity by the Power of the Holy Spirit.

For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall suck, you shall be carried upon her hip, and fondled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants(Isaiah 66:12-14).

Meanwhile, when Jesus Christ began His public ministry, knowing fully well that He could not do the work alone, He first of all chose twelve apostles to assist Him. Consequently, when He realized that the mission has expanded, He further called others to join Him in proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Just as we observed in the gospel reading of last Sunday (Luke 9:51-62).

In today’s Gospel, Jesus Christ instructed His seventy-two disciples that would help His mission of propagating the Kingdom of God, on how they should carry out their mission. Thus, He empowered them, and sent them out in pairs ahead of Him, into every town and place where He Himself would be visiting. To go and preach as well as salvage people from their predicaments. Jesus Christ said to them: “Behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you.(Luke 10:3-6).

Although, the mission may not have been easy for them, of which Jesus Christ had notified them beforehand, of the possibilities of unforeseen circumstances, such as; rejection or resistance they may witness by other religious groups, or disgruntled elements. But, because they were empowered by Jesus Christ, and through their faith and trust in God, they recorded tremendous transformation and victory over the demons or forces of darkness; thereby bringing healing, peace, joy and breakthrough among the people they were sent to (Luke 10:17).

Certainly, any position of honour we attain or occupy in life, is an invitation to the salvific mission of Christ. That is to say, it is a call to salvage humanity from that which deprives or inhibits her joy, peace and progress, both physically and spiritually. Hence, we are called, like the seventy-two disciples, to join hands together and rebuild our deplorable societies, by casting out the demons of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, political/ religious bigotry, tribalism, hatred, injustice, selflessness, betrayal, wickedness, etc., within us. When we do this, then, the Kingdom of God has come to us, and subsequently, peace, joy and breakthrough would prevail in our families, societies and entire world.

Therefore, since Christ has redeemed us by the Power of His blood, and commissioned us to go out and proclaim the Good news of the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19-20), we ought to take this obligatory task very serious. Moreover, it is very pertinent for us to note that, the ranks of labourers in the Lord’s vineyard were expanded by Jesus Christ Himself, in order to embrace all and sundry. It is not only the duty of the Pope, bishops, priests, deacons, pastors, evangelists, etc., but that of every baptized Christian, and by extension, every human person.

Nevertheless, these can be achieved only when we love one another, in truth and sincerity. Moreover, we can only express our sincere love for one another, when we constantly keep, before our minds, Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary, which brought about the realization of God’s eternal salvific plan for humanity; just like St. Paul enunciated in the second reading. As Christians, we have been become adopted children of God, with an intrinsic difference, which the life-giving principle of the Spirit of God has created in us. That is to say, our lives as Christians ought to create a positive change in the world, because of our regenerated minds by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-16).

Finally, Christ has redeemed us by His precious blood, and thus empowered us by the Holy Spirit. Hence, He invites us to continue His salvific mission here on earth until His Parousia. Besides, we can achieve this when we unanimously agree to work together as God’s children, irrespective of our differences, denominations, tribes, etc., and be honest with ourselves. Just as the seventy-two disciples, who were empowered and sent in pairs in today’s gospel collaborated with each other, and thus recorded huge success. Therefore, our faith and trust in God are indispensable in order for us to record tremendous transformation and victory over the forces of darkness in our society.

Also, we should not always be discouraged, especially whenever we find ourselves in a deplorable situation. For God Almighty will definitely intervene in our situation by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and grant us healing, peace, joy, breakthrough, and in the end, eternal life.


May the Almighty God deliver you and your family from the forces of darkness, and empower you to salvage others from their predicaments, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.

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