The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah has urged priests to use the pulpit to lead the people to Jesus Christ rather than settle scores with others.
Bishop Onah stated this on Thursday, September 16, 2012 during his daily reflection, warning that the clergy should not fall into the temptation of using the homily to vent their anger on those they are not in agreement with. “We should preach the Word, in season and out of season, welcome or unwelcome. But preachers and ministers of God’s Word should never yield to the ever-present temptation of using the pulpit as a place to settle scores with or vent their anger on some members of the congregation,” Bishop Onah said.
He added, “People in that congregation look up to us expectantly with an unspoken request, ‘Father, we wish to see Jesus.”
The Bishop of Nsukka noted that the responsibility of a Priest is “delicate”, demanding total selflessness especially during the homily. “Priests, as ministers of the Word, should always be aware of the importance and the delicateness of the responsibility they bear in proclaiming and expounding the Word of God during the Mass and other liturgical celebrations,” Bishop Onah warned.
He continued: “The homily is an important part of the liturgical action,” the Catholic Bishop said, and added, in reference to the message of the Holy Father, “The Homily can actually be an intense and happy experience of the Spirit, a consoling encounter with God’s word, a constant source of renewal and growth.”
Bishop appealed that, “Those of us who bear this grave responsibility should take to heart the following admonition of St Paul to Timothy, ‘Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.’ For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths…perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.”
(SOURCE: CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE OF NIGERIA)