The Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, His Grace, Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, has called on religious leaders across the country to preach the message of stewardship, unity and harmony among the faithful, rather than focus on materialism.
This, according to the clergyman, would serve to portray religion in a positive light to counter those who use it as a means to exploit people’s credulity while seeking divine intervention.
Archbishop Martins, who made the call during the Catechist Rite of Commissioning organised by the Lagos Archdiocese Catechist Association, held at the Catholic Church of the Transfiguration, Lagos, said those seeking to serve in God’s vineyard must put on love in order to serve others selflessly as exhibited by Christ to His followers.
Imploring the religious leaders, the clergyman noted that, “As teachers of the Faith, the vocation of Catechist, you must go forth and make disciples of all nations. You must follow the path of Jesus.
“The joy of being a disciple of Jesus is to listen to the Master’s voice, sit at His feet like Mary did, read and meditate on the Word of God regularly, bear witness to Christ, and be committed in loving and serving God.
“No one is excluded from God’s banquet, but you must put on the right garment: compassion, forgiveness, patience, kindness, meekness, humility and love.
“Just as we have people who are not faithful to their commitment, so we also have many who are faithful, for which we give thanks to God. So we can only continue to encourage those who have not been faithful to do better because that is what God expects of them.
“We have people today who are much more interested in the material gains that they receive personally; in fact, we have people who even go out of the way to exploit the credulity of people; we have those who go out of their way to literally dupe people.
“So all of these are sometimes done in the name of God, but the expectation of God cannot be reduced and we can only continue to ask people to live up to that expectation,” he stated.
On the need to use religion to build the nation, the Catholic Archbishop stressed that “Unity and harmony is a perennial message that has been given by the Church and Christ wants us to present this message to the whole world; so we have to continue to present that. But to ensure that the message takes effect is the individual responsibility of each one of us.
“It is important that people in leadership positions should take a lead in this direction; in ensuring that whatever complaints that people may have about issues regarding distribution of positions and power of authority, the leaders need to take these seriously and do something about it.
“This must be done looking beyond our own personal and individual good, because in the end, whether we do it or not, we are going to account for what we do or do not do.”
Meanwhile, while encouraging the newly trained workers, Rev. Sister Judith Madueke reiterated the Archbishop’s message, noting that they must display virtues as entrusted to them by Christ and the Church as they volunteer themselves to serve in making disciples of others.
“That is our mission and is what the Church has entrusted to them. That is the same mission of evangelisation; forming the faith, and ensuring proper moral upbringing of everybody,” she added.