By JINA AMBA
On July 29, 2018, St Martin de Porres Parish at Morata, NCD, thanked and farewelled Fr Nicholas Guidi for his service in Papua New Guinea during a mass celebration.
Argentinean, Fr Guidi is the secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature for PNG and Solomon Islands and has been serving these two countries for the last three years.
A congregation of more than 700 gathered to mark this occasion which began with the Enga mothers welcoming Guidi with the entrance procession.
Guidi’s homily during the service was based on the gospel story of the miracle of feeding five thousand people.
“The gospel story of the multiplication of the loaves and fish is a beautiful story, and what makes it even more meaningful is that it leads into, what is known as, the Bread of Life discourse.
“It is after the multiplication of the loaves that Jesus teaches, ‘I am the Bread of Life,’ and ‘the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world’.
“The bread that is multiplied and becomes more than enough for the crowd prefigures the sacrifice of Jesus. It speaks about the Eucharist: the bread and wine on the altar become the body and blood of Jesus for all ages. Then it is beautiful to think that we also are part of that story. We are taking part, here and now, of that miracle worked by Jesus.”
Guidi continued his sermon saying, “The first lesson for us is that with God all things are possible.
“When we put limits to the infinite goodness and power of God, we do an injustice to both God and ourselves. Keep our minds open so as to allow the wonderful works of God to be seen in us and around us.
“When we think we don’t have enough to make a difference, think again. As poor as we are, we all have something to give. Whether it be a particular ability or gift, our time, if we take what little we have and offer it to the Lord it is amazing how much can be done,” Guidi said.
“The Lord draws out of us gifts and talents we never thought we had. The apostles and disciples did this and went from being fishermen and tradesmen to evangelists and missionaries who travelled the known world. Think about what the missionaries do in our remotest villages here in PNG.
“The second lesson is that Jesus satisfies not only material hunger, but the most profound one, the hunger for the meaning of life, the hunger for God. For he is the Bread of Life. In the Beatitudes Jesus taught us, ‘Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.’
“We can come to the Lord with all the hungers we experience and he will satisfy us. We can come to the Lord with all we have, even when it seems inadequate and insufficient for our needs, and he will take this offering, bless it, and we will find that not only does he satisfy us, he gives us much more than enough.”
Guidi said the third lesson was that the miracle itself became a symbol of the Eucharist, the sacrament of unity.
“In the Eucharist we are fed by Jesus himself, and we are sent to serve others. In this miracle, Jesus transforms a young boy’s offering of five barley loaves and two fish. In the offertory at mass we present the fruits of our labours, represented by bread and wine. These gifts, given to us first by God as grain and fruit, are returned to God in our offering of thanksgiving.
“God in turn transforms our gifts, making this bread and wine the very Body and Blood of Jesus. By receiving Him in Holy Communion, we receive his life within us and we become children of the Heavenly Father and brothers among ourselves, we become a community.
“By receiving Holy Communion, we meet Jesus truly living and risen! Taking part in the Eucharist means entering into the logic of Jesus; the logic of giving freely, of sharing. We also are transformed by the Eucharist. We are invited to go and share with other what we have received: Jesus!”
He concluded his homily saying, “Dear brothers and sisters, let us ask the Lord to rediscover the importance of feeding ourselves not only on bread but also on truth, on love, on Christ, on Christ’s Body, taking part faithfully and with profound awareness in the Eucharist so as to be ever more closely united with him, and with our brother as a real community of faith and love.”
The celebration ended with the chairman of the parish, Elias Eno Bare thanking and presenting a bilum and a wool cap saying, “Dear Fr Nicholas, your life and ministry in PNG has strengthened us, the people of Morata, to live out our faith.
“This PNG cap is the sign of leadership that your life and ministry and been a good example and helped us to live a good life and become good people.
“In PNG, we carry important things in our bilums. We present this PNG bilum to you as a mark of our loving memories and our prayers for you we would like you to carry as you continue your missionary journey.”
Guidi will be leaving PNG tomorrow, to take up his new appointment in Mexico and continue his ministry there.
By JINA AMBA