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Responsible Christian citizenship

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Excerpt taken from Feature address at the St. Martin’s Secondary School Graduation delivered by Saboto S. Caesar on 27th June, 2006 at the Cathedral of the Assumption.

This morning, I would like to share with you briefly, the Graduating Class of 2006. Today is very special, this is so, because I can see my past merging in many ways with my present. It was some nine (9) years ago, that I last stood at this very spot, probably using this very microphone to address the 1997 St. Martin’s Secondary School’s graduation ceremony. I was then a student. Today is however not about me, neither is it only about you. Instead it is about us as a collective force.{{more}}

Today, I give all the awards to your class, for having toiled for the past five years to get to this stage. As you celebrate with your parents, your teachers, your fellow classmates and myself, you must never forget the centrality of Christ in all our doings. Indeed this is the first step to obtaining your Responsible Christian Citizenship.

As we are gathered here to thank God for his eternal mercies which have kept us over the past years, I think it will be beautiful that we borrow the words of the opening verse of Psalm 23, where David lamented “The Lord Is my shepherd; I shall not want”. The Lord has indeed been your shepherd.

From time to time we simply repeat the entire Chapter of the Psalm after our Holy Communion, because it is very fitting to do so and no more, no meaning, no action.

Before you can be a responsible individual, you must first learn to cherish life. How can we begin to cherish our lives as young men?

Love

Jesus insisted that we must love one another as He loves each one of us. In fact, Jesus paid the ultimate price for love, in so doing, he gave His life to love us, and He tells us that we also have to give whatever it takes to do good to one another. We must in no way treat our fellowmen with the level of disdain exhibited by the stern disciples towards the Mothers of Salem. We must do the right.

How many of us here today, believe in love. In the Gospel, Jesus says very clearly: “Love as I have loved you.” Yet our world is marred with wars and rumors of wars, our nation bleeds at the hands of murders and our neighbors suffer for food whilst we maintain our selfish gaze. But Jesus who is our example, died on the Cross because that is what it took for Him to do good to us – to save us from our selfishness in sin.

If we are not willing to give whatever it takes to do good to one another, sin is still in us.

Over the past five years you would have socialized with a number of classmates. Some honest, some not so honest; some kind, some not so kind; some truthful and some a little short of being a liar. The world of work is no different. Your response must at all times be love. The next level of academic learning be it the Community College or at the University Level is no different. Yet love must continue.

To our most beloved parents, we must remember that love begins at home and we must also remember that the future of humanity passes through the family. Without the input of our parents in nurturing our young men, we will be nurturing a crop of thorns.

Our dear Mother Teresa was clear on the issue, she noted so benevolently, “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into our doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into our giving. So let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, and in the warmth of your greetings.”

Obedience

I am often surprised by the number of young

persons, predominantly young men, who are brought before the court on a daily basis who are given to drugs. And I try to find out why. Why is it like that? The complete answer as to why people disobey is not as apparent as it seems, but disobedience plays an important role in one’s downfall. The story of Jonah is sufficient enough to explain the implications of disobedience. We must, therefore, allow God’s spirit to dwell within us if we ought to obey.

Humility

Humility is always the root of charity. We see humility when our Jesus was nailed to the cross. It is very important for us to be pure and humble. It is only with a pure and humble heart that we will be able to understand the cries of the poor and appreciate that we must fight against many of the indignities of humanity. Let not pride, worldly possession or insurmountable corruption ever separate you from the love of Jesus.

We must prize liberty, equality, human rights and justice for all. That question is inescapable. As young men you must begin your preparation for your role as a father in this an increasingly fatherless society. As a general word of advice, before you speak, it is necessary that you listen. You must also not allow yourselves to be disheartened by any failure as long as you have done your best.

To our Graduating Class, You must see today as a step towards another level. I encourage you to be vocal. Advocacy is an important weapon in the armory of any aspiring youth.

Parents, thanks for being here, and I also want you to pay close attention because it is always your duty to keep in check those who the good Lord would have entrusted in your care. I would like each of you to take a look around you, this may very well be the last time you will ever sit in such a configuration, in life. You would be tossed against an entirely new groups of persons. Soon you would find yourself socializing with new people, making new friends evolving in totally new and different learning environments, and entering into a whole new phase of your life.

Through it all remain focused, and ensure that at the end of your journey it cannot be truthfully said that you would have thrown your pearls to swine. May God Bless you richly, I thank you.

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