By Lara Pickford-Gordon
Catholics are called to sanctify the world with their presence and through their relationship with God, “come into that place where we can do for our world what is necessary to bring about the changes that are needed, that this world becomes a place that God dwells and where people can be touched by His power, by His grace, and by His love”.
This clarion call came from Deborah de Rosia, foundress of the Eternal Light Community, at the Sunday of the Word of God celebration January 23 hosted virtually by the Catholic Bible Institute.
The theme was, Communion, Participation, Mission: Celebrate and send a helping hand to those who have nothing prepared.
“We hear it and then we move about and do something else, but not so in Ezra’s time. Not so in the time of Nehemiah—they listened carefully, they asked the Spirit of God to help them, and they came to a place where their lives were changed. This must be applied to my life and to your life.”
De Rosia said Catholics were called to a time of attentive listening. They must listen to each other and in this process come to a place of discernment of where God is leading, “where the Spirit is leading”, and “How is God inviting us to journey together, not only for the revival of our Church but for the revival of our families.”
The revival was also of the education system, health sector, and society. She noted that in the scripture all the people were present to listen to the Word.
Citing Nehemiah’s example, de Rosia said he was motivated by his relationship and communion with God and decided to do God’s work in a secular world. She added, “It is important for us to hear it and for our children and grandchildren to hear it because the secular world is the world in which you and I live.”
She encouraged each person in their role and work to view it as “God’s special calling” to participate and commune with Him and with one another. “You and I are called to that mission right now,” de Rosia said.
As Ezra instructed the people to share with those who had nothing, she called for Catholics to extend their hands to others. De Rosia said that it was not just about sharing food.
“We are living in a time when there are children to be educated…when we need to extend a hand not simply to buy tablets or to give a computer but to ensure every child in our neighbourhood has someone they can converse with because it is through conversation we can introduce them to the Word of God, Jesus Himself.”
Children learn how to care, to forgive, to embrace one another. “They learn to live within families,” de Rosia said. The pandemic has left children orphaned and someone must reach out to them. There were many persons becoming ill and hospitalised, she asked, “Is there a way that we could extend a hand? Is there a way that we can reach out to doctors, to nurses, to caregivers, to those who have to clean, to those who have to be present?”.
If Catholics do not understand that through their union with God and communion with each other, they must extend a hand in mission, then they “have missed it”. “The Word of God must propel us into mission,” de Rosia stated.
Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu said the Word of God is not an abstract philosophical word, “the Word of God we celebrate today is Word-person. He was made flesh and dwelt among us.”
He said Jesus told His followers He would not leave them orphans (Jn 14:16) but would send the Holy Spirit to continue His presence. Catholics need to ask God to renew in them the presence of the Holy Spirit.
“Through the presence of the Holy Spirit we renew that bond, that special bond between us that is established by the Word of God.”
He highlighted John 15:7: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”