On Corpus Christi Sunday, various Church leaders in Africa have used the occasion of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ marked Sunday, June 14 to invite the people of God in their respective churches to pray for spiritual healing through the Eucharist, which has the ability of transforming lives of Christians.
“The Eucharist calls us to holiness and heals us completely. Too many of us today are too concerned with physical healing but today the world needs more Spiritual Healing to wipe away wickedness, racism, ethnocentricity, Terrorism, nepotism, corruption, infidelity etc.,” Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Nigeria’s Oyo diocese reflects in his message shared with ACI Africa.
He continues, “The war, the killing, the rape, the immorality the greed, the poverty and misery we experience are all symptoms of a world that is spiritually sick.”
“The Eucharist we celebrate today challenges us afresh to a life of sharing and holiness of life. Jesus invites us not to be afraid of sharing our gifts so that others might be provided for,” 58-year-old Bishop reflects in his Corpus Christi message titled “That All May Breathe and Live.”
“We all need renewal from above. Adhering to the values of service, love and humility from the Eucharist will restore us and our world,” the Nigerian Prelate reflects and recommends, “Come to Jesus, dear friends, come to the springs of living water, the source of life and you will live, come to him you will never be lonely, your soul will never be hungry, come to the truth and you will never be deceived.”
Regarding the coronavirus situation, Bishop Badejo recognizes “all those who have given so much so that others may survive during this COVID 19 pandemic period especially those who do not care about publicity or human accolades.”
“May your sacrifice be rewarded. Amen. Do not give up, for in time of need your own jar of oil shall not run dry too. Just like in the days of Elijah and the widow God will fulfill his promise for you,” Bishop Badejo says referencing the Book of Kings.
The Nigerian Prelate who is also the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) emphasizes that “the Eucharist is the food of unity and the identity of all who believe. It should unite all Christians.”
“It is a scandal that churches today do not share the same Eucharistic table. It is a deep wound that should push us to an examination of conscience and repentance,” he laments and further regrets that “Christian unity is largely hindered by the lack of a common understanding and faith in the Eucharist which cannot be discarded. This is an unfortunate fact that has weakened the witness of Christians and the power of the faith.”
“We must resume those efforts with sincerity. Question your faith and repent,” Bishop Badejo urges.
On his part, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese said that “the Eucharist is the most important treasure that Jesus bequeathed to the Church, and that Catholics were anxious to be allowed back to the communal celebration of the Mass.”
Archbishop Kaigama who was presiding over Mass at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Abuja Sunday, June 14 noted, “Our world full of sin needs spiritual renewal. The essence of today’s Feast of Corpus Christi is to highlight the need for the spontaneous and faithful reception of the Body of Christ, which St. Ignatius of Antioch calls the medicine of immortality.”
Reflecting on the coronavirus pandemic, the Archbishop of Abuja noted that “Catholics experienced a burning hunger for the Eucharist especially with the lockdown directives put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.”
“Happily, we can do so today, following however rigid guidelines to prove to prevent the spread of the virus in every mass celebrated by a validly ordained Catholic priest,” he said and urged worshippers to pray for the world in these troubled times of COVID-19 pandemic.
“May our participation in the Eucharist bring to each one of us inner transformation; healing for those who are ill and through our charitable actions bring hope to those who lack the basic necessities of life,” Archbishop Kaigama further said.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Stephen Ameyu of South Sudan’s Juba Archdiocese said the Eucharist as “the source and the summit of the Christian life” has the power “to transform our world” as it is “the Sacrament of Christ’s permanent presence with his people.”
“We have to carry the message of the Eucharist into the world. Just as the Lord Jesus has become our food giving himself completely to us, so too we must give ourselves for the sake of the world,” Archbishop Ameyu said, encouraging the people of God to strive “to become sources of nourishment to the world as Christ has become a source of nourishment to us.”