By Ononye VC
The archbishop of Onitsha and metropolitan of the Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province has called on the Catholic faithful to ensure that all their actions to one another are informed by love in fulfilment of the teachings of Jesus Christ. He made the call while delivering a homily at this year’s Onitsha Archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress held at the Basilica Square last Saturday.
The archbishop, who was defining the true meaning of the Blessed Eucharist and its importance in the lives of Christians, gave three definitions of the Blessed Eucharist saying
a) that Jesus was the Blessed Eucharist
b) that the Eucharist is a sacrifice and a way of doing the will of God
c) that the Eucharist is love and it is because of love that Jesus died for mankind.
While explaining those three points making up the Blessed Eucharist, the archbishop said that Jesus Christ as an embodiment of the Blessed Sacrament is an epitome of love, forgiveness and sympathy.
According to him, “one has to continue to show love, sympathy and forgiveness to our fellow men”.
The archbishop pointed out that the Eucharist is a sacrifice which the faithful should practice with self by being selfless and also by helping others. He emphasised that for the fact that the Blessed Eucharist is love, it is the reason Jesus died for sinners out of His love.
According to him, “one thing that has spoilt the world is selfishness. It has overtaken our sense of reasoning and destroyed our homes and marriages”.
The archbishop insisted that “whatever you are doing, if it is not informed by love, it is not a Christian act but a criminal act”.
Earlier before the Mass, a resource person, Rev. Fr Celestine Arinze Okafor, delivered a compelling talk on the need to recognise the place of the Blessed Eucharist in the life of the Church. The theme of his lecture was “Becoming the Eucharist that we celebrate and adore”.
According to Fr Okafor, the Eucharist we celebrate is a sacrament and outward and inward sign of grace. “This means too that we are sacraments in our own way. Anybody that meets us has seen a semblance of Christ,” he said.
Fr Okafor emphasised that Christ poured himself out as a libation for sacrifice such that priests have also been poured out as a libation for sacrifice, adding that “all of us are universal priests and what applies to the priest during Mass also applies to the faithful,” he concluded.
The auxiliary bishop of Onitsha, the Most Rev. Denis Isizoh, participated in the Eucharistic congress with a host of priests and the religious.
Confessions and Benediction were held.
The knights and ladies of St John International led in the Rosary recitation while Lady Stella Okafor took the Divine Mercy prayer.