His Eminence Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson, has challenged the African Bishops to strive to be more inclusive in their service to the people entrusted to them by God, according to AMECEA News.
In his homily on Friday, July 26, during the daily Eucharistic Celebrations at Speke Resort in Kampala Uganda where delegates are currently meeting for the 18th Plenary Assembly and Golden Jubilee of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Cardinal Turkson said that Bishops and priests in their ministry need to be trustworthy of people.
Reflecting on the readings of the day from the book of Exodus, Cardinal Turkson said that Moses in his performance in the service of the word of God also performed quite a number of services that were essential to the people of God.
“From the episode of the burning bush when God sent Moses to the people of Israel, to the service of splitting the Red Sea so that people can walk across; from the service of providing manna, bread and water in the desert, to the service of settling dispute among God’s people; from the service of interceding about the sins of Israelites to what we are hearing this morning, the service of providing the word of God; Moses as a leader was equipped to provide all these services to the people of God, services very similar to what all of us Church leaders also provide to God’s people entrusted to us,” Cardinal Turkson explained.
Cardinal Turkson who is the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development told African Bishops that reflecting on the services that Moses provided to God’s people, enables them to recognize and to reflect on their own services to the people entrusted to their care, just because like Moses, God has entrusted his people into the hands of Church leaders so that while celebrating Mass with God’s people is the summit, there is much more to be done.
“When Moses led the people of Israel to cross the Red Sea, he thought that everything was going to be spiritual until the people started crying that they were hungry and Moses had to appeal to God on their behalf, and He gave them Manna. Then the people complained about thirst and Moses had to offer the service of water. And then when the Israelites had to fight with the Amalekites, Moses interceded so that the people of Israel would have victory. In the deepest situations of God’s people, Moses had to perform a particular type of service to enable God’s people to live and feel better. And when in their sinfulness against God, Moses still interceded for them, telling God that, if you will not forgive them then cancel my name out of your book. So, Moses was identical with the destiny of God’s people that he would put his own life in the line.”
Cardinal Turkson told SECAM Bishops that recognizing these services that Mosses performed; the highest of it being the word of the scripture which introduces us to the gestures of the Eucharist, this word of God should make them recall their real call. He further indicated that ministry of God’s word is a very crucial, the highest and most important service that clergy are called to perform, it goes hand in hand with addressing other needs of the people.
“On account of all of this, the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa come to mind; Gregory of Nyssa reflecting on the life of Moses has said, after Moses had led the people of Israelites across the red sea, fed them with manna, given them water to drink, after he had prayed for the forgiveness of their sins and brought them the Word of God from Mount Sinai, Moses deserved to be called the servant of God. This is what we all seek to do that at the end of our service to God’s people, we merit to be considered servants of God because we serve not only God but also the people entrusted to our care.”
Cardinal Turkson further indicated that it is on this account that the third chapter of the letter to Hebrews reflecting on this confers Moses to Jesus and says that Jesus was trustworthy in the household of God as a son, but Moses was trustworthy in the household of God as a servant.
“All of us the Bishops and Priests who are entrusted with God’s people seek to be trustworthy in God’s household as servants just as Moses. The qualifications of Jesus and Moses in the Ministry of God is being faithful in the household of God and another word for it is being trustworthy. It means that like Moses all of us must be trustworthy, first and foremost before God in order to be able to put His people in our hands. Secondly, we must be worthy of the trust of God’s people entrusted to our care; people who need to entrust themselves to our leadership and to our care.”