God never abandons those who love Him and keep His commandments

6th Sunday of Easter, Holy Rosary Parish, Wuse, Abuja, 14th May, 2023. Homily by Archbishop I. A. Kaigama

Readings: Acts 8: 5-8. 14-17, 1 Pt. 3:15-18, Jn. 14:15-23

God never abandons those who love Him and keep His commandments

Your parish priest, Fr. Francis Kale, invited me to share in the joy of the blessing of the new grotto of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, built and generously donated by Mr. Mike Anyika, in memory of his late wife, Pharmacist Elizabeth Anyika, who died about a year ago. May God grant eternal peace and reward to Elizabeth Anyika, bless Mr. Mike Anyika and his family, and grant them success and progress in all their endeavours through the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I warmly welcome the members of the World Union of Catholic Women Organization (WUCWO), Abuja Archdiocese, who have set aside this day for prayer and for deliberations aimed at promoting the participation of Catholic women in the society and the Church, by fulfilling their mission of evangelization, human development and promoting the fundamental right to life. Among the events to mark the 2023 World Union of Catholic Women Organization’s (WUCWO) Day, are a private audience with the Holy Father, Pope Francis in Rome and today, in Assisi, Italy, marks the opening of the General Assembly with the theme: “WUCWO women, artisans of human fraternity for world peace.”

As we pray for the success of the international WUCWO Assembly, permit me to commend the different women groups in our Archdiocese – the Catholic Women Organization (CWO), the Zumuntan Mata Katolika, Christian Mothers, Catholic Daughters of Mary, Catholic Widows, etc, for playing a very great role in the growth of the Church over the years in the Federal Capital Territory. We urge you to continue to be strong spiritual pillars of your homes and to be missionaries of love and service by promoting the gospel and its values.

At this point of the Easter season, we are waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and empower us to continue the work of the Apostles by witnessing to the Good News of Christ.

Concelebrating in this Mass are 15 priests drawn from different parts of Nigeria to embark on further studies or mission in various parts of the world. The department of Mission and Dialogue of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria organized an orientation course for them, to equip them to go as missionaries, to witness to the gospel by their way of life and diligence in their studies.

Please, go in the Spirit and spread the kingdom of God in the communities and in the hearts of men and women you encounter. Many of us are products of successful missionary activities of countless and selfless priests, sisters, brothers, and lay missionaries. You too are expected to make personal sacrifices and courageously witness to the message of the risen Christ.

Please, come back immediately after your mission and do not overstay your welcome.
Through the ministry of Philip, the Deacon, accompanied by signs, the Good News of Christ spread beyond the Jewish territory to the Gentile world and through the laying on of hands by Peter and John, many of the Samaritans also received the Holy Spirit and became incorporated into the Body of Christ.

Some are called to go on mission, some to pray for the mission and some to give for the mission. Last week in Balderschwang, Germany, I met many volunteers from different professional callings who selflessly offered their time, talents, and services to Radio Horeb to raise funds to promote or establish Radio Maria in different parts of Africa. Radio Maria Abuja was inaugurated in April last year, and broadcasts on 91.3FM, to promote spiritual growth, human solidarity, peace, and integral development. We greatly appreciate Radio Horeb, Germany, and the many generous donors who support the work of Radio Maria in Nigeria, Rwanda, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, etc.

As the second reading from the letter of St. Peter teaches us how to spread the Good News of Christ, we count on the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, i.e., the defender, to help us become more mature and active for Christ, because “it is the Spirit who gives life” (Jn. 6:63).

In the gospel, Jesus promised His disciples the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn. 14:16-17) during His “farewell discourse,” prior to His arrest, crucifixion and death. We too, at our baptism and confirmation, received the Holy Spirit which makes us sharers in the priestly, kingly and prophetic mission of Christ; courageously witnessing to the message of Christ in a world that is often hostile to Christian beliefs and values.

A few days ago, I met a man with his boss in their office. After the boss introduced himself to me, the man greeted me warmly and introduced himself too. As I was leaving after my visit, I met the man alone and he now said to me, “I am also a Catholic”. Why did he not say so in front of his boss? Afraid? Ashamed? St. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:15, “You have not received the Spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of sonship,” and St. Peter says we should be happy to proclaim or defend our faith at any time (cf. 1 Pt. 3:15).

In this month of May, the month of Mary, we continue to invoke the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Christians to be confident witnesses of the faith, and for all Nigerians to make the genuine love of God and neighbour their entire way of life, so that we shall experience more peace, security and holistic transformation.

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