.- Catholics should live out their everyday lives in a way that witnesses to those around them, offering hope in a world of darkness, said Bishop John Ebebe Ayah of Ogaja, Nigeria.
“We are all missionaries,” the bishop said to a group of English-speaking pilgrims at World Youth Day.
He urged them to “re-evangelize the world, bring the world back to Christ.”
Bishop Ayah spoke at one of the July 25 World Youth Day catechesis sessions in Rio de Janeiro. The sessions offer formation to participants through a talk and question-and-answer period with a bishop, as well as confession, Mass, testimonies, song and prayer.
The bishop noted that life is a mixture of good and bad experiences, and we must have spiritual maturity to accept this.
“There is sweetness with the bitterness,” he explained.
Growing up with high expectations, we become disappointed when life does not go according to our plans, he observed. Faced with broken families, unemployment and other modern challenges, some people despair and seek happiness in drugs, pornography or other damaging behavior.
As Catholics, we are called to be a light to these people, Bishop Ayah said.
He recalled the missionaries who came to Africa to teach the people and establish schools and hospitals.
“We too are missionaries,” he said. “We can make a lot of difference wherever we are.”
Traveling to a foreign land is not necessary to be a missionary, he stressed. Rather, you can bring the Gospel to others “in your family, in your community, in your country.”
Even though you may feel overwhelmed and outnumbered, God can do great things if you allow him to work through you, the bishop reminded the pilgrims.
“God can do a great deal with your voice,” he said. “By the way you carry out your lives generally, they will be convinced.”