Lent Calls Us To Be Ambassadors of Christ
A priest told staff of the Southern African Catholics Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) that Christians are called to be ambassadors for Christ.
Preaching the homily at an Ash Wednesday Mass for the SACBC staff, Fr Sakhi Mofokeng said that ambassadors are people who live in a foreign land, not for comfort but to represent their country of birth, sent to be with the people of that country, and build friendships with them.
Fr Mofokeng, the coordinating secretary for the SACBC’s Department of the Laity, urged the SACBC staff, in this time of Lent, to leave their own comfort zones and go out to meet other people with their own contextual needs.
“Dignity is very important in choosing an ambassador,” Fr Mofokeng said.
Stand with Christ and Journey with Christ
Just as diplomats must represent their country with dignity, “ambassadors of Christ are men and women of dignity who represent Christ, stand with Christ, and journey with Christ in their own lives”.
He invited the congregants to reflect on how they are identified as followers of Christ, and what signs of Christ they show as his ambassador.
Fr Mofokeng also urged them to let their hearts be a place of refuge for other people wherever they are, at home, work, church, and society as a whole, and said that their hearts should be a place of safety.
“As ambassadors of Christ, we are called to be identified as men and women of prayer, people who begin everything with God, so that our works reflect that we are ambassadors of Christ.
“We should be people who give not only tangible things, but hidden things that eyes cannot see, and that is giving love and forgiveness to those we are holding grudges against,” he said.
He invited the staff to be people who fast, not only from food but from adverse attitudes towards people of other races, tribes and countries.
“During this time of Lent, we are called by the Church in Southern Africa to confront racism with humility and love, and not to fight.
“Ambassadors of Christ are men and women of humility and love, and during this period of Lent, we are all called to reconciliation,” Fr Mofokeng said.
Lent is the 40-day period when all Christians, the followers of Christ, are called to do an introspection of their life and review their relationship with God and neighbour, in preparing for the Easter season.
According to the tradition of the Catholic Church, it is a period of purification.
This refers back to many years ago when the Hebrews were freed from slavery in Egypt where they had adopted different behaviours of foreign worship, contrary to their one God who had been faithfully journeying with them and always guaranteeing them his love and protection.