The annual Lenten period of forty days of prayers, fasting, abstinence and charity, is always an opportunity for Christians all over the world to look back and take stocks, with a view to mending their lives for the betterment of society and the salvation of their souls.
In line with that spirit, on Sunday, March 8, 2020, the soldiers of Christ, otherwise known as the Knights of the Catholic Church, and in particular, members of the Enugu Grand Commadery of the Ancient Order Knights of St. John International and their Ladies Auxiliary, trooped out in their numbers to observe a one-day Lenten retreat at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Ugwu Di Nso, Eke.
The retreat which started with the Stations of the Cross and concluded with a Holy Mass, had as one of its high points, a talk delivered by Reverend Father Emmanuel Okwor, Parish Priest, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Eke, in which he enjoined Christians to endeavour to live a life of charity which, he said, is a sure way of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth.
In the talk which he entitled, “The Role of Christians in making the Kingdom of God to Come on Earth”, Father Okwor reminded Christians that they had the obligation to provide for the needs of the less privileged in society, because by so doing, they would be making the Kingdom of God to come on earth.
He explained that charity works bring blessings and harmony in society, and recalled how Abraham, the father of father, had attended to three young men who were travelling under a scorching sun, without he (Abraham), knowing that he was entertaining angels. At the end, the angels promised Abraham a son, which later came to pass.
The cleric further stated that when Christians would be praying to God that His Kingdom comes on earth, it would be living the life of charity, providing for the needs of neighbours and the less privileged. He stated that Nigeria would be a better place to live if Christians live a life of charity.
Father Okwor who is the Spiritual Adviser of Sacred Heart Commadery 765, Iwollo Oghe, Knights of St. John International, further reminded Christians that on the last day, God was going to be particular in judging the sin of omission: “When I was hungry, you did not given food to eat; when I was naked, you did not clothe me; when I was homeless, you did not shelter me; when I was sick or in prison, you did not mister to me…”
He said that as soldiers of Christ, the Knights of the Catholic Church should be exemplary in their charity works, and also be in the forefront in the defence of their faith, and the Church of Christ itself.
The Knights should not keep quiet in the face of the many injustices in the country, the oppression of the poor and depriving labourers of their wages, he said, stressing that they should speak up and condemn evil in all its ramifications, and above all, that they should live holy and upright lives.
He commended the Knights of St. John International and the Catholic Workers Volunteer Force for turning up for the retreat, which he noted, was for their spiritual benefit.