As 53 graduates of the Catholic Bible Institute received their diplomas and certificates, they were reminded to become “reflectors” of Christ and carry their “letters of accreditation” as ambassadors of Christ everywhere they go.
This was the message from Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu as he delivered the homily during a 10 a.m. Mass which preceded the ceremony, Saturday, July 13.
“So as you receive your accreditation, you receive your duty, but you also receive humility. And I pray that each of you will be successful ambassadors…but none of you will have reason to be forced to resign,” he told the graduates.
The graduating class of 2019 received Diplomas and Certificates in the spheres of Bible Studies, Counselling, Growth and Healing. The ceremony had as its theme I shall make you light of the nations so that my salvation will reach to the most remotest part of the world (Isa 49:6).
Ambassadors, Archbishop Nwachukwu said, carry a lot of privileges. But they also have limitations. “An ambassador does not say ‘Well in my opinion’…They will only transmit the message of their government—the person sending you. As you receive the letter of accreditation today, you are being called to become the voice of Christ…” he said.
In discussing the central text of the day’s celebration, the Archbishop said that in Isaiah, we are called to be reflectors of the true light, Jesus Christ. “…to transmit the life of Jesus and through that transmission win people over as a children of God.”
To this end, he reminded the graduates that after graduation day, God will ask ‘How many people have you won over to Me?’ “That is very important…It is the beginning of a mission,” he said.
The Archbishop told graduands that their presence must be one that breaks ethnic, tribal, racial lines. “Let’s not forget that,” he said, as he drew reference to the letter of St Paul to the Ephesians 2:13–22 which spoke of Jesus breaking down those barriers.
And in verse 19, the Archbishop observed, Jesus tells that we are no longer foreigners but we have now become a household. “It is interesting that we are a household, [a] family. We are accustomed to thinking of the people of God as a people, but Paul takes us a step further,” he said.
He then questioned whether faithful behave as a family of God and as Christians.
“That is the meaning of your graduation…you are receiving the certificate of the family imbibed by the Word of God.”
Archbishop Nwachukwu observed that there are many “words” in today’s world that persons follow—the words of great artists, great thinkers and of television presenters. On the other hand, he pondered “Where are the words of the gospel? That is the word that makes me fruitful,” he said. “…And in [John 15:6] He says if you are cut away from Me, if you are distracted from Me by all the voices, I call them the noise in the world, then you can bear no fruit…You are only good to be thrown into the fire…May that not happen to any of us,” he warned.
The commissioning of the apostles in Luke 10 and Matthew 10, is the mission of all of us, the Archbishop maintained. “It says Jesus sent them out two by two. Does that tell us anything?” he asked. Responding to his own question, Archbishop Nwachukwu said that Jesus sent us out so that we could support one another in preaching His gospel.
“Preaching solidarity belongs to the mission, fraternal support belongs to the mission. Why? He tells them because I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. So He’s almost telling them [that] you cannot make it alone, the place is dangerous, so you need to support one another….”
Archbishop Nwachukwu then reminded the graduates that they ought to bring joy wherever they go with the Word of Jesus. “…That is going to be your message…bring reconciliation in Trinidad, in Tobago, in the Caribbean, in the whole world. You are going to be messengers, ambassadors of God’s reconciliation,” he echoed. —KJ