Dear St. Augustine Church Family,
On this sixth Sunday of Easter, we are reminded of our Heavenly Father’s steadfast love for us, His beloved sons and daughters in Christ Jesus. Here God’s love is revealed in the lives of every human being created in His divine image and likeness, irrespective of the race, culture, educational background, economic status, political or religious affiliation. Like the believers who accompanied Peter to Cornelius house’ we too are often astonished at the manifestation of God’s glory in the common events in our lives. However, in the readings today, not only are we invited to marvel at the beautiful moments of graces that the Lord unfolds to us; but to also recognize our role as partakers in Christ’s saving mission in a world faced with a subtle declining sense of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness.
It is a privilege to know that God’s love for us knows no boundary. As the Evangelist St. John says, “God sent His Only Son into the world so that we might have life through Him and this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins” (1 John 4:7-10). There is always a time in our lives, moments of grace, where we experience in a special way the Lord reaching out to us either through those we know or through strangers, as in the case of Peter to the Roman General Cornelius.
Personally, the Lord has been faithful in gradually revealing His love to me in every step I have taken so far in my vocational journey. As often said, “God works in mysterious ways.” Hence, He is a God of beautiful surprises. I grew up in the southern part of Nigeria in a typical protestant, evangelical family where I later served as an evangelist after college. Little did I realize that my deep thirst for truth and fullness of Faith, at that time, was God’s way of preparing me for what I now call, “the Cornelius effect,” that is, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the humble of heart. With the help of Father Joseph, a humble priest, I was received into the Catholic Church twelve years ago.
When the Lord calls a person to any vocation in life, He is always ready and willing to fortify the one chosen so that he/she may become a suitable instrument for the mission. I see this in my discernment journey, as He led me through a four-year experience of His love with the Society of Our Mother of Peace. It was during this moment with the Community, while working with my brothers and sisters, especially here in the North City, that I heard the Lord calling in my heart, as He did to Peter, “If you will, Samuel, I will use you to reveal my love and mercy in this part of world.” After this encounter with Him who is love and mercy Himself, Jesus Christ, I began to recall moments in my life when I experienced His love and mercy. I could no longer keep this treasure to myself while others around me were thirsting and searching for the same treasure. The only way that we can continue to remain in God’s love and mercy is to share these gifts with those we encounter each day.
Deacon Samuel Inameti