The Apostolic Nuncio recently celebrated mass with the Bishops of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands at the Catholic Bishops Conference, where they are currently gathered for the 60th Annual General Meeting.
As he addressed the Bishops, he reflected on the reading on Acts 6:8-15.
“In today’s first reading we heard about Stephen who is a model of a believer who accomplishes the work of God. He preached without fear because he knew that his message is from the Holy Spirit,” said the Archbishop.
“His steadfast faith in Jesus and his fearlessness in proclaiming Jesus disturbed many. The people, the elders and the scribes brought false accusations against him which resulted in his death. Like St. Stephen, bishops have been the chief defenders of the faith, for 2000 years. We, the contemporary shepherds, must continue that venerable tradition,” he said.
Archbishop Kurian also reflected on the Gospel taken from John 6:22-29, encouraging the Bishops to hold Jesus as their role model.
“Our responsibility must be to lead our people to eternal life. For that, we have to ‘walk by their side’ as Jesus did with the Emmaus disciples.”
Concluding his homily, the Apostolic Nuncio posed three ‘self-questions’ to the bishops: 1. Do we bear the wounds of resurrected Christ? 2. Do we speak the language of Christ? 3. Do we ‘smell’ like the Shepherd – Christ?
He said the answers to these questions will help the Bishops face the challenges encountered in their day-to-day mission as successors of the Apostles. It will also help them to do what can be done to present a holy face of the Church.