The invitation to continuous reflection, Sr. Okure notes, “Entails assuming personal and communal responsibility and commitment to grow more deeply in our desire to truly know Christ and closely follow him in order to receive from him the fullness of life that he came to give to humanity.”
Regarding the KD’s call to the Church in Africa to commit itself to return to its “baptismal roots in Christ and his gospel,” Sr. Okure, a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) says this “can only be achieved through solid knowledge of, and rootedness in Jesus and his gospel.”
“The primary purpose of the KD is to call on all God's people to receive life in abundance which Jesus gives. It follows naturally that Jesus Christ and his gospel should feature prominently and pervasively in the KD,” the Professor of New Testament and gender hermeneutics at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA) in Nigeria’s Rivers State, Port Harcourt notes.
Just as one welcomes a visitor and listens to what they have to say, the Nigerian scripture scholar says, “The Church-Family of God that welcomed Christ its Savior during the jubilee year is now called upon to listen to him and his gospel.”
“The gospel occurs 137 times in the KD from the first to the last paragraph; Jesus and Jesus Christ combined about 98 times,” she says in her January 21 report and adds, “Indeed, the gospel which is both Jesus himself, ‘God's Gospel’ and his gospel message is the leitmotif of the KD.”
Sr. Okure further notes that the KD published as a Pastoral Exhortation of SECAM under the theme, “That They May Know Christ and Have Life in Abundance” has “unrelenting emphasis on personal and shared/corporate responsibility for taking the concrete actions proposed in the Document.”
Responsibility regarding various categories of people such as the Church in Africa, African governments, African intelligentsia, and the baptized occurs 19 times in the KD, Sr. Okure says her report issued during the virtual release of the document January 21.
“It’s jubilee-rooted agenda already cited is packed with action words: to return; to deepen, to live, and to generate a new impetus for mission with the ultimate purpose ‘to build for all citizens [not just Catholics of Christians] a new Africa centered on God’,” she says.
In the report, Sr. Okure goes on to highlight what she terms “some significant newness in KD” and which includes the involvement of SECAM, whose leadership “commits itself to grow in this knowledge of Christ by returning to the original vision of its founders to work in unity.”
Accompaniment as a strategy is another newness that the Nigerian Sisters says is part of the KD, which highlights various forms of diverse accompaniment that “ensures that people understand what they are required to do and gives them hope that they are not alone.”