Martin Beck Nworah Monday, October 31, 2016 10
(A paper presented by MARTIN BECK NWORAH (MBN) on the auspicious occasion of the AHOBA National Convention/Home Coming 2016.)
To Him whose power working in us can do more infinitely than we can think or imagine be praised both now and forever. Amen! Dearest brothers, it is with a heart full of joy that I stand here to observe all due protocols and pray to be permitted to proceed with my presentation. This being my 2nd paper presentation at an AHOBA home coming, I feel deeply privileged and honoured to address notable men of high repute in the society having passed out from this noble citadel of learning with the entry class of 2004 and the graduate class of 2010. I therefore pray for leave and pardon upfront if I mistake to apply the proper words as at and when due. I am just a child still learning how to crawl before walking.
The gamut of our journey as followers of Christ can be summed up in this simple word, Credo. Credo as we know is the Latin word for I believe. It means that we strongly believe in something and in this case, we believe in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and all that he has come to the world to represent in our time. Christians and Catholics believe in this same Christ. And herein lies the issue; what’s the difference between Christians and Catholics? Is it not the same Jesus Christ and his gospel of redemption and eternal salvation? What roles and how has this diversity in ideologies affected the youths in our society? And very importantly, do we have separate heaven for Catholics and another for Christians?
If we are able to have some answers to these questions, we will be better informed in making decisions as to the teachings that our young people will carry on into the world. The strength of the youths account for over 65% of the total population in the world and by that, we are a very important demography in the polity.
Christian and Catholic Teachings for the Youths: any difference?
It is imperative to point out at this point that Catholics are Christians. Discussing this topic with some of my colleagues often raise such comments like, “Are you people even Christians? Idol worshippers…modernised ndi ogo mmuo”. And then I will expend my energy in trying to convince them that the teachings of the church does not exclude anybody and has in no way attempted to ridicule the strong and firm beliefs of anybody.
As always, the discussion often ends with each party hoping that one day, he will convince the other to his way of thinking and maybe send him for an altar call to welcome him in his new church.
Our young people have been torn apart along religious lines. It is no longer enough for one to be a Christian; a further distinction is made for those who are Catholics, Anglicans and Pentecostals. This has caused more harm than good as each sect try to outdo the other in innovative ways to keep her young people in the church.
There’s no difference in the gospel preached but there is a great difference in the way and most especially, interpretations given to this teachings. Our young people are getting more confused than ever before and many have either resorted to staying at home or just attend only Sunday masses and go about their various businesses.
We live in a society being dominated by materialistic tendencies and values. The teachers of the church have an even higher task to preserve the sanity and teachings of the church towards her young people. They need to be taught the true joy in suffering to enjoy and living a life worthy of their Christian calling.
Modern Day Christian Youths
It would be difficult to clearly discuss Christian youths and leave out Catholic youths in the light of the present happenings in our society. The Christian teachings aside been adulterated by the many pastors in town, many of our young people interpret same to suit their purpose. Take for instance the biblical injunction in Malachi on the payment of tithe. In our universities, many petty self-made pastors have used this biblical verse to rob students without a gun.
Stories have been told of how students donated or pledged their school fees and upkeep allowance as tithe payment to the church even when it is obvious these students have no known source of income asides the money given to them by their parents.
The mentality of the modern day Christian youth is dangerously tilting towards wealth and money. Our churches have also helped greatly in making them see poverty as evil and a curse from the devil. Nobody values the true essence of hard work and suffering before achieving success. This is wrong on all fronts and I charge our religious leaders to take a stand on this issue. We need a proper orientation of our young people to understand that the church offers succour to both the poor and rich.
The Catholic Youth Angle
I decided to single out the Catholic youths here because the authentic Catholic doctrine has to do with us. From CYON to all the other Catholic bodies that deal with the affairs of the youths, we are constantly bombarded with questions and religious attacks from our Pentecostal counterparts who often pride themselves as “born again”. And in their characteristic manner, they always insist that Catholics are not born again.
Every day, we hunger for our priests to teach us these doctrines of the church and most importantly, tell us practical ways this can be applied in our everyday lives. The outcome of what is happening in our society today will answer the question as to whether they are living up to this true calling of teaching us or competing with their business counterparts in the choice of cars to ride and the best European or American state to go on vacation.
According to the United Nations, the population of the world will be dominated by youths by the year 2030 outnumbering the older population by 80-20%. Looking at this figure, it becomes a matter of urgent importance for the church to invest so much in her young people so as to teach them the right doctrines of the church and help in fostering the one unity of the church. At all times, we have to bear in mind the instruction and prayers of Christ who begged his father towards the tail end of his ministry here on earth that the church should be one.
At all times, we must bear this in mind while we pray for the fathers of the church to help in teaching the authentic Catholic doctrine to our young people. More and more priests should have access to the internet and join in preaching the gospel through the social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Asides using the said mediums to connect with family and loved ones, they can also preach the gospel of Christ to our young people through updates and mentions.
In teaching the authentic Catholic doctrine to our youths, the church must take into the consideration, the times we are in which is deeply influenced by the social media and internet. Issues of faith, donations to the church and proper defence of the Catholic doctrine should be given priority in reaching out to our young people. The fathers and elders of the church have a very important role to play in being good role models for our young people to follow as they grow up.
I believe by the end of this eventful sharing, we will be better enlightened to care more about the spiritual and general growth of our young people in the church.
Till we get to the Promised Land, I shall be waiting for when you will pass me a glass of water and thank God for the gift of grace for the race.
This paper was published some moments before I delivered it. Pictures from the presentation can be viewed at www.facebook.com/mayorbeck