Wednesday

Wednesday Meditations by Fr Delphinus Rwehumbiza

Fr. Delphinus

Advent and Christmas

 

He Gives Strength to the Faint

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday we heard God telling Isaiah “Comfort my people.” Today he adds that “he gives strength to the faint.” This is fulfilled in Jesus as he tells us “come to me all you who labour and are overladen and I will give you rest.”

Most over us are overburdened not only by sin but also by our weaknesses and other forms of suffering. In this season of Advent let us cry “Come Lord Jesus and give us rest.” Jesus says “my yoke is easy.” This yoke is love. Let us take upon ourselves the yoke of love so that we can love one another, comfort one another and help one another in our suffering. Let us participate in wiping away tears from grieved hearts and give strength to the faint.

 By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

Tell him what you have seen and heard

Dear Family of God,

Yesterday, we saw how the son who did the will of his father was praised. Today we see Jesus revealing himself  by his works to his audience and to those who were sent to him by John to inquire whether he was the Christ ‘God and tell John what you have seen and heard’

Beloved, the world is tired of listening to empty words. They want to see. Let us reveal what we are by what we do. If people asked us whether we are really Christians we should not run to fetch our Baptismal certificates as our proof; let us show our identity by what we do – our life should tell of what we are.

There are people who still doubt whether Jesus has already come even for the first time. Jesus has given us what makes him known. Let us pray that we may be good heralds of good tidings to those in need so that by what we do people can accept that really Jesus has already come and thus they can wait for his second coming.

By Fr Kiwanuka

 

 

By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

We Ought to Love One Another

Dear Family of God,

Jesus is continuing with his Epiphany. He is revealing his divine powers. Yesterday he multiplied bread and today he calms the troubled sea. He will continue manifesting himself to us if we love one another.

Like the Apostles we also experience turmoil in our lives. Jesus is willing to calm all our troubles. The Apostles were blessed that they saw Jesus’ power physically as he walked over the sea and stopped the wind. To us Jesus wants to show his power through others. That is why St. John tells us in the first readingIf we love one another God abides in us.” We can reveal the existence of God and we can experience the power and the love of God if we love one another.

When we love one another everyone is seeking the good of the other. We help one another in our difficulties and sufferings of our lives. By so doing Jesus continues his Epiphany in us. He continues to manifest himself in us. That is why St. John tells us again in the first readingWe ought to love one another;” otherwise we shall not be able to know who God is and his power of love. Sometimes when we are in difficulties we complain that God has left us. But in essence we have left one another. Everyone is doing their own business. No one is concerned about the other. But if we love one another we shall see that God is among us and that he loves us. Belove children of God Let us love one another.

Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

Lent and Easter

 

Ash Wednesday

 

“Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and mourning for your sins.” (Joel 2:12)

  Today we begin the Lenten season which prepares us for Easter, the greatest feast of our faith. The Church adapted the use of ashes to mark the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, when we remember our mortality and mourn for our sins. As we begin this holy season of Lent, we must remember the significance of the ashes we have received: We mourn and do penance for our sins. We again convert our hearts to the Lord, who suffered, died, and rose for our salvation. We renew the promises made at our baptism, when we died to an old life and rose to a new life with Christ. Finally, mindful that the kingdom of this world passes away, we strive to live the kingdom of God now and look forward to its fulfillment in heaven. The Lenten season is marked in a special way by the three traditional dimensions of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Through prayer we make room for God in our life and we express our desire to enter into a deeper friendship with God. Thus it is important in this season to set aside time special for prayer especially the way of the cross which is a meditation of the passion and death of Jesus. Fasting implies exercising self-control, self-denial and self-discipline. Human growth and maturity demand self-discipline. Athletes who compete in sports know the need for self-discipline and intensive training for both mind and body. (1 Cor. 9:25)Hence during lent we are invited to live moderately; control our tongues, speeches and appetite; cultivate virtues such as kindness and compassion; avoid harsh and unkind judgments and be sensitive to a neighbor’s needs. Almsgiving leads us to share with others what we have received from God in a spirit of solidarity and communion. It expresses love of neighbor through compassion and self-giving service. We meet God in our neighbor. During lent thus we are called upon to use our time, our talents and our possessions for the sake of helping those in need. It is through generosity and kindness to others, through prayer and self-denial, we reflect the hope and joy of the Easter message that we are saved through God’s love expressed in Jesus Christ.

Week 1 – Lent

“The sign of Jonah” (Lk. 11:29)

  His contemporaries fail to appreciate Jesus; they do not recognize the significance of his person, his presence, as greater than Jonah, greater even than Solomon. If the Ninevites responded to Jonah and if the Queen of the South responded to Solomon, how much more should Jesus’ contemporaries respond to him. The same Jesus who was present to his contemporaries is present to us today. We too can fail to appreciate the Lord who is invisibly among us. Like his contemporaries, we can look for signs without recognizing the powerful signs of his presence all around us. Each year the Church gives us the Lenten season by which we prepare to celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord. The death and third day rising of Jesus is the sign we need to remember each year just as Jonah was inside the fish for three days. This Lenten period is time to repent and return to God. We are invited to respond to this call to repentance. Let us not be the evil generation but the humble generation so that we can reap the fruits of this Lenten season and be able to celebrate Easter worthily.

2nd Week of Lent

 

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mt. 20:28)

  We hear today the two apostles through their mother asking for positions in Jesus’ Kingdom. They want to follow Christ the King. Jesus reminds them that there is also Christ the crucified. Following Christ involves not only happiness but also suffering and carrying of one’s cross, offering service to others and giving one’s life as sacrifice for others. Today’s world has embraced the utilitarian philosophy of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. People want to obtain pleasure in food, sex, power and control over others, accumulation of wealth and many other pleasures. Most of us do not like to embrace the cross, we do not like to engage with the needy, the poor, the disabled and the marginalized especially if they do not contribute to our pleasure. Christ reminds us today that the true happiness is found in God and in order to reach this we need to suffer, we need to carry our crosses, to serve others, to give our life for others. Drinking the chalice means doing in memory of  Jesus – not sitting on the right and left but giving our life to others. In lent we are invited to almsgiving. What do you have to offer to others?  There are many people who need food, clothes, houses and security; there are also people who need out time, attention, talents, care, love and service. We have to renounce ourselves, put away our selfish pursuits so as to reach out to others especially the needy and offer service to them.

Third Week of Lent

“I did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it” (Mt. 5:17)

  Jesus came to fulfill the law. This means to bring the law to completion, to perfect the law and to give it proper meaning and interpretation. The interpretation of the law by Pharisees and scribes lost the original meaning intended by the Mosaic law and reduced the law into a matter of adhering to various external codes of conduct. Jesus now gives meaning to the law which involves the rigorous self-examination of the heart and soul. The law forbade murder, for example, but Jesus extended the scope of the law to reach the intent of the heart: “You have heard it said ‘You shall not murder…’ but I say unto you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause is liable to excommunication; …”  (Mt. 5:21-22). Likewise, the law forbade the act of adultery, but Jesus focused not on the external action but rather the heart condition: “You have heard it said ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt. 5: 27-28) What Jesus emphasized on the sermon of the mount was the spirit of Christianity, and the spirit of the law, which is to love God with all of your heart and soul, and to love thy neighbor as you love yourself, in this is the entire law and prophets. The interpretation of the law thus should be based on this greatest commandment. A good example is the conflict of Jesus with Pharisees and scribes on the healing at Sabbath. Here the Pharisees and Scribes found it illegal but Jesus did it out of love. The Pharisees and scribes were ready that people should not be cured just because it was Sabbath. They valued the law more than human life. Jesus teaches us that the laws are enacted to help man and not vice versa.  

Week  4 of Lent

 

“In a time of favor I have answered you” (Is. 49:8)

  God does not like anyone to perish. The opening sentence of the reading from the book of prophet Isaiah is an invitation to us from the Lord that he is ready to help us, to answer our prayers, to clear our doubts, to enlighten our darkness, to feed our hunger. And the reading ends with the same invitation from the Lord that as the mother cannot forget her child, so much more can the Lord not forget you and I. Lent is the period to return to God. And now as we approach the end of lent we are reminded to utilize well the remaining time. Lent is the time of favour, the day of salvation. Let us go to the Lord through prayer, fasting and almsgiving so that we can really be ready to celebrate Easter in the desired worthiness. Jesus in the Gospel is being hunted by Jews who want to put him to death because of among others, healing on the Sabbath. The legalistic attitude of Jews blinds them not to see the goodness of Jesus but above all it causes them to neglect the suffering of the people with various sicknesses running to Jesus for healing. During lent, let us remember all these people suffering from diseases especially those with no cure, hunger, persecution, insecurity and let us stretch our hands and hearts to reach and help them.

Week 5 of lent

 

The Annunciation of the Lord

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk. 1:38)

 

Today, we celebrate the beginning of our salvation.  Today, we celebrate the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for as we all know March 25th is exactly 9 months before December 25th in which we celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord in the Flesh. Therefore today we celebrate the beginning of that Incarnation, for it is at the Annunciation that the life of Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word of God begins. The feast of the Annunciation invites us to enter, with Mary, into a quiet contemplation of the promise of salvation, which was first pronounced by the prophet Isaiah, and which was later accepted by Mary and fulfilled and manifested in Jesus. Mary’s ‘Yes’ to God’s Word changes the history of mankind. Just as Eve was the mother of all humanity doomed to sin due to her ‘yes’ to the devil, Mary by her ‘Yes’ to God, becomes the mother of the new Adam who will father a new humanity by his grace (Rom. 5:12-21). The feast of the Annunciation reminds us that we are sinful and we need to be saved from the clutches of the evil one and we need Jesus to come into our hearts and to be made flesh in our lives in order to be saved. We are therefore invited today to respond to God’s Word just like Mary, to say “Yes” to God’s invitation to our salvation. Let us repent of our rebellion and say Yes to God’s plan for our lives, so that we too can find peace in the forgiveness that comes to us in our Savior.

 

“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us…” (Lk. 24:32)

  The message of the gospel today is the interchange between the two disciples and Jesus on the road to Emmaus. It is all about the great awakening of faith and the feeding of thirsty souls. It is all about the structuring of the celebration of the Mass as we have it today. First Jesus interprets the scriptures to the disciples (liturgy of the Word) and then breaks the bread for them (Liturgy of the Eucharist). Then their eyes are opened and they experience the risen Lord who then vanishes from their sight. They go back to Jerusalem to witness this great news. The Holy Mass we celebrate is about the encounter with the risen Lord. We need then to ask ourselves today the following questions: Do we experience such a burning of heart when we encounter the Lord in Scripture? Does His touch really burn us? Even after thousands of communions and table fellowships aren’t our eyes still closed? Do we recognize the presence of the Lord breaking the bread for us? Do we after Mass become witnesses of the risen Lord in our words and deeds? If not, it is high time then that as we celebrate Mass, we start feeling some burning within and be true witnesses of the risen Lord in our life. Let us invite the Lord in our life as the two disciples so that he may clear our doubts and confusions, enlighten our darkness and take away our fears. We shall then experience the comfort of the risen Christ and be able to share it with our neighbors just as Peter shared the comfort with the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple.

Week 2 of Easter

 

 

“Light has come into the world and men loved darkness…” (Jn. 3:19)

  Jesus is teaching us today through Nicodemus how God loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. The coming of Jesus into the world was to cast out the darkness of sin which he concurred by his death on the cross and resurrection on the third day. This victory of Christ is what we celebrate in Easter. It is the victory of light over darkness and that is why the Easter Vigil begins with the Liturgy of Light. Light among other functions helps us to see. It helps to illumine the dark parts of our life. This applies also to our spiritual life which is full of dark spots. Our life is full of darkness of selfishness, hatred, pride, adultery, theft, corruption and indeed the world today has lost the sense of sin. The light of the risen Lord has been blown off so as not to illumine these dark spots. In the first reading today we hear the high priest and Sadducees want to put off the light of the Risen Lord by imprisoning the apostles. But this plan did not work because Christ has already won – the victory of light over darkness. Let us learn from the apostles and keep this light on. Let us be witnesses of the Risen Lord, let us be the light of the world.

 Week 3 –  Easter

 

“Those who were scattered went about preaching the Word” (Acts 8:4)

Jesus calls himself bread of life. We know that the bread which is used at Mass and consecrated into the body of Christ is made up of wheat flour. Wheat is associated with being sown, fallen, crushed, and buried, but then springing up for bread to feed multitudes. These are all symbols of Christ’s passion, death, resurrection, and communion with his Church in the Sacrifice of the Mass, which results in the salvation of the multitude of sinners. Thus when we participate in Mass and receive Holy Communion we participate in Jesus’ Paschal Mystery of his passion, death and resurrection which is the core of the Easter we are celebrating. Partaking of the bread of life symbolizes also partaking in the suffering of Christ. In the first reading today we hear about the beginning of the persecution of the infant church after the killing of Stephen. The result of this persecution is that the church that was in Jerusalem scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. Notice the apostles don’t leave Jerusalem yet. They stay in Jerusalem to help the church there stay strong in the face of persecution. Although the scattering of the church seemed a tragedy from a human point of view, God was using it for the evangelisation of the world.  This chapter marks another turning point in the book of Acts as the church begins to fulfill its God given mandate in Acts 1:8. In this chapter the church reaches out to Judea, Samaria and even a Gentile is reached. Thus persecution comes along and gives them a little bit of incentive to do what Jesus had asked them to do. Many Christians around the world are facing persecution right now. The Word of God remains our best guide for knowing how to pray for our persecuted sisters and brothers worldwide. Suffering apart from participating in the suffering of Christ, the result of which we are assured of eternal life, has a lot of other spiritual benefits. Persecutions teach us patience with people and situations, they make us to learn obedience, protect us from pride, restore us from wrong and dangerous paths, they prepare us to comfort others who suffer, persecutions also show the level and depth of our love for God but all in all they make us to be partakers of God’s holiness. It is the cross that leads to the crown and it is the suffering that leads to glory. Therefore, knowing the spiritual value of persecution and suffering, we are to rejoice when we become partakers of Christ’s suffering.            

In Jesus we are All One

 

 

Dear Family of God, Today we are reminded of what we saw on Sunday that Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches but today the emphasis is on the Unity of the Church, that in Jesus Christ we are All One. As we saw on Sunday this unity is evident in the Eucharist. Through the Eucharist we become what we eat. If we eat Jesus we receive the Spirit of Jesus and we become Jesus. “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” So we abide in Jesus and he in us. The Eucharist is the Body of Christ which is the Church (1Cor 12:27). In a way then when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist we receive each other. If we become what we eat, then we become each other. This is the Unity which should exist between Christians – we are one. This is the unity that is expressed in the first reading. When conflicts arose at Antioch about circumcision, the matter was to be referred to the elders of the Church at Jerusalem. The Church in Antioch and the Church in Jerusalem is One. They make same decisions and have the same leadership and seek to have same beliefs and practices. This is the Unity that has kept the church up to now: We have one Leader, same Faith and same Sacraments. Let us strive to keep this unity at all levels of the church: family, Small Christian Community, Parish, Diocese and the Whole Church. Whenever, there is any misunderstanding let us sit as branches of the same vine and resolve our issues amicably. By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

The Spirit will Guide you into all the Truth

 

Dear Family of God, It is the Holy Spirit that guides us to know and accept the truth in matters of faith, morality even in scientific discovery. I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot be bear them now

  • This means that revelation is bound to be a progressive process. Jesus told his disciples what they could understand at that time. We do not give sold food to newly born babies. The Holy Spirit will guide in understanding and new interpretation for example, of some passages of the Old Testament. It is the Holy Spirit through Paul enlightened the learned people of Athens to know the God they were worshiping without knowing him.
  • There is no end to God’s revelation. In Jesus there is fullness of revelation but this revelation has not been know and understood. Therefore, the Holy Spirit ‘will be taking from what is in Jesus’ and make it know to us. God did not end revelation with the Bible and became silent. He still speaks. Explanation of faith, moral teachings, and new scientific and technological discoveries is the result of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit will guide you into all the Truth Truth is one; every truth is a revelation from God. It is improper to boast at scientific or medical discoveries as if we had created the truth ourselves. Ours is just to discover what God has revealed. Let us pray that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may understand the revelation in the Scriptures and in our daily life. Let us befriend Jesus so that he can continue to reveal himself to us in our lives and in our scientific and technological researches. By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17)

 

One word we use most often is “truth”. But I am not sure how many of us take into account the meaning behind this word. Pontius Pilate in the trial of Jesus asked an important question which we also need to reflect upon and find the right answer for “What is truth” (Jn. 18:38)

The general meaning of truth is that which corresponds to reality. We also know that it is God who created all things and it is in him that all reality finds meaning. That is why Jesus in today’s Gospel tells us the answer to the question “What is truth?” that truth is inherent in the word of God, “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Truth is thus in God and anything against God – every sin – is a lie, and that is why Satan is always referred to as a liar and father of lies, there is no truth in the devil (John 8:44). Jesus is praying today that we be sanctified in truth, i.e, we be protected from the liar, Satan. It is thus a challenge today for me and you to reflect if we are really sanctified in the truth. Do we speak the truth? Do we live the truth?

The world today has turned truth to that which is agreed by many, in other words the world has democratized the truth. The many are always true, the many are always right. That is why it is not surprising that many nations are legalizing practices of homosexuality, abortion, prostitution in the name of business and many other evils just because many have voted yes to such practices. As we continue with the novena let us ask the Holy Spirit to come and lead us to the truth that Jesus prayed for us.

 

Year I

Is it lawful to save life or to kill?

 

The Pharisees trap Jesus to see if He could heal on the Sabbath so that they accuse him. Jesus discovers the trap and asks them the question “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” This question was never answered. Is it because the Pharisees did not know the answer? Definitely not, because the answer is obvious.

Sometimes malice blinds us not to see the truth. The Pharisees being religious leaders could easily distinguish between the good and the evil. But because of their evil intentions, they blinded themselves not to see the good. They keep silent at the good and allow the evil to prevail.

We as Christians ought to speak and defend the good and not to allow evil to prevail. Today’s world is full of evil and darkness because Christians who ought to be the light and salt of the world have kept silent. You can imagine today there are laws which have been enacted to allow abortion, euthanasia and many other evils and what makes it worse is that even Christians participate in enacting such laws! If you go to the prisons today especially in Africa, you will find that not all the imprisoned are guilty. This is because some people were blinded not to speak the truth which could set the innocent free and imprison the guilty.

Jesus asks you today,Is it lawful to save life or to kill?” Please don’t keep silent. Get up and speak so as the good prevails over the evil!

What Type of Soil are You?

 

Jesus describes four types of soils and their reaction to the seed planted in them. These correspond to the different reactions we have to the Word of God. We can be one of the types or two of them or a combination of all in different circumstances.

The soil on the way side corresponds to the people with hardened hearts not ready to accept the Word of God. This is mainly because of the sinful attitude whereby Satan takes away the Word and does not allow it to penetrate our hearts. Sometimes we are not ready to accept some teachings of the Church especially those we think they restrict us too much such as teaching against divorce in marriage, birth control, abortion and many of such type. Sometimes we are enslaved by sins like lack of forgiveness, hatred, lust and anger which harden our hearts and prevent the Word of God from penetrating and growing.

The soil on rocky ground corresponds to the people who receive and accept the Word of God in times of happiness and joy but when persecution, temptations and trials arise they fall away. Most of the people nowadays are interested in religions with miracles of healing and exorcisms, religions promising good life and wealth to them. People do not like to hear about the cross or persecution. They want to follow the resurrected and not the crucified Christ.

The soil on thorny ground corresponds to the people who receive and accept the Word but it is chocked up by thorns. Jesus gives in this Gospel three types of thorns which choke this Word in us namely the cares of the world, the delight in riches and the desires for other things. Let each of us ask himself/herself what is it that prohibits us from fulfilling our Christian obligations: is it our desire for wealth, is it our business, is it education, is it our marriage or concubinage, is it our career or profession? Let us always remember the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians we heard last Sunday that “the form of this world is passing away”. (1Cor. 7:31)

The soil on good soil corresponds to the people who hear God’s Word, accept it and understand it such that it bears fruit in them. Jesus recommends this type of people but he insists that we need patience to be this type of soil.

Now the question is: what type of soil are you? Fortunately unlike the soil, it is easy with our hearts to change from one type  to another. Let us ask God to help create in us the heart that is good and fruitful. May He help us to fight against Satan and all that takes away the Word of God from us, to be faithful to God’s Word in times of both joy and persecution and also not to be deceived by worldly pleasures and cares which are passing away.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

 

The people of Nazareth reject the teaching of Jesus. They pretend to know Jesus too much such that they do not perceive the real image of Jesus. They do not see the great prophet, the holy one of God, among them whom other people saw. They only see a low status manual labourer – a carpenter and a son with questionable fatherhood whom they refer to as son of Mary. Familiarity blinds them not to see the greatness of Jesus and this deprives them of the opportunity of miracles that Jesus could perform among them.

In our life sometimes we make ourselves familiar with holy things such that we are blinded not to see their proper effects especially in our spiritual life. Sometimes we even do not handle the holy matters with proper respect. For instance, those who enter the Church everyday they are likely if not careful to mistake it for a social hall or a club and hence behave with less respect in this House of God. Or receiving of the Holy Eucharist everyday may lead one to mistake this Holy banquet to the ordinary meal.

Let us reflect today on how we handle holy things, the sacraments, holy places, blessed instruments, holy people so that they may have their proper effects in our spiritual lives and so that Christ may perform miracles in our lives.

 

What defiles you? (Mk. 7:14-23)

 

Jesus teaches today that no food that goes into a person from the outside can defile the person. Food does not go into the heart but into the stomach and ultimately passes out as waste. Real uncleanness is in the heart and mind. Real uncleanness comes from inside in the form of evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.

Committing a sin does not happen by accident. It begins in one’s thought and if entertained it grows and breeds sin. Saint James in his letter puts it clearly that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.” (Jas. 1:14-15)

It is thus our duty to guard the content of our thoughts, hearts and minds. We should not entertain impure and sinful thoughts, we ought to avoid reading or looking at sinful materials, engaging in dirty talks, recalling ‘pleasant’ sinful memories and such things that will fill our minds and hearts with unclean content.

Instead let us focus on wholesome thoughts that build us as St. Paul tells us “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” (Phil 4:8).

 

“The Son of Man came … to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45)

 

The term “ransom” was used in the early church as a metaphor commonly pointing to a price paid to obtain the freedom of others, particularly slaves, prisoners or captives of war. These ideas are supported also by such expressions as “buying” and “price” (I Cor. 6:20) and “redeem” (1 Pet. 1:18).

By submission to the devil, human race became a prisoner to the devil. Thus a price (ransom) had to be paid for our freedom. It is Jesus who paid this price by his own blood on the cross, such a precious price! Some fathers of the church argue that the ransom was paid to God while others believed it was paid to the devil. But the issue as to whom the ransom was paid is not so much our concern here. Our great concern here is the price.

We are invited to reflect the price paid for our redemption in order to value this great gift of our salvation. It is unfortunate that most of us never mind about such a price and this makes Jesus very sad. It was very disappointing for his apostles who did not bother about his sacrifice and self giving but rather concentrated on how they will get glory and power.

Christianity is about being of service to our neighbors. Being followers of Christ, let us follow him by offering our lives for the service of others. All of us in our different vocations whether Ordained ministers, Religious men and women or married people are called to the service of others so that we may help them attain salvation and by so doing we also secure our own salvation.

 

“He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Mk. 12:27)

 

This important sentence of Jesus which concludes today’s Gospel is rich in meaning such that it cannot be exhausted. I want us to reflect on the following three implications of the phrase “God of the living.”

God of the living means in the first place that God is the source of all life. He is the giver of life and sustains all living beings, and in a special way human life. Hence, we need also to respect, protect and sustain human life by shunning all culture that leads to death. Human life in the modern world is threatened in a number of ways. There are threats against conception through birth control measures and homosexual practices; threats against new life particularly through abortion; threats against delicate life and old age through euthanasia and witchcraft; threats caused by man-made disasters such as wars and terrorism etc. Amid all these, we Christians should learn to be advocates to this threatened human life.

Secondly, God of the living means that God’s abode is for those who are living and this particularly means those who are living spiritually. When we sin especially mortal sin, we become separated with God (and also with the Church), we become spiritually dead. Hence we need a constant reconciliation with God through the Sacrament of Penance so that we remain spiritually living.

The third meaning is one that is directly related to the context of today’s Gospel, the resurrection of the dead. Once born, human beings are meant to live forever. This means there is life eternal after this earthly life and this will depend on how we live here. If we live well, we go to heaven and if we live immoral life we end up in hell. We need to rise above the visible realities in order to understand these spiritual realities of heaven and hell. We should not create the earthly image of heaven like the Sadducees who reduced heaven just to equate it with a marriage feast.  Heaven is more than any happiness you can ever have on earth, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1 Cor 2:9-10).

Let us then live well our earthly lives by following God’s commandments, so that when we leave this world we may live eternally with the God of the living.

 

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets” (Mt. 5:17)

 

The purpose of Jesus’ life and work was to fulfill both the Law and the Prophets. He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The Old Testament laws have been fulfilled in Christ.

Some of the laws have been completely fulfilled such that they found new meaning in Christ and thus have ceased to be in existence for instance Laws concerning sacrifice to God which in the Old Testament was done by offering blood of animals have been fulfilled in Christ who offered himself once and for all for our redemption.

Other laws have been given new meaning. For instance laws of purity and cleanliness which in the old testament insisted on external observance such as avoiding touching the dead, lepers etc have been given new connotation to refer to the internal purity and cleanliness which can be achieved through having recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Moreover, the general attitude towards the law has been changed from the Pharisaic attitude of using law as yoke by which people are persecuted to perceiving law as grounded in love for God and love for neighbor. By this new attitude law becomes a channel through which people live in good relations with one another and with God.

We therefore need to develop this new meaning and attitude towards God’s commandments so that we can appreciate them and abide by them without difficulty and in this way we can help even our neighbors to grow spiritually.

 

“Beware of practicing your piety before men” (Mt. 6:1)

 

Having expounded the new way of righteousness – the righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees and scribes in chapter five of the Gospel according to Mathew – Jesus now at the beginning of this Chapter six shifts attention to the motive behind this righteousness. Jesus expressly puts it clear that even if we do the righteous things, if we do not have the right motive, then we don’t merit reward. In other words, a righteous thing with wrong motive has no reward.

It should be remembered here that Jesus does not discourage pious activities of prayer, fasting and almsgiving which are recommended not only during lent but also in the ordinary period of the year. Jesus is rather warning us against the motive with which we practice this piety. We need to ask ourselves why we are doing these pious activities: is it because we want to draw attention to ourselves so that others may notice and think highly of us?  Or to give glory to God?  The Lord warns us of self-seeking glory – the preoccupation with looking good and seeking praise from others.

True piety is to be grounded in the loving and personal relationship with God. God knows us well. He knows our intentions even before we do anything. He knows and sees all that is in secret. Hence no showy display or parading is necessary. Moreover, we need to avoid formalism and routine piety that makes it mechanical and non-personal. Piety that seeks people’s recognition makes us lose the reward from God and hence we need to avoid such display of piety which only turns us into religious fanatics.

Let us therefore ask God to help us to have a true, personal and loving piety so that we may merit reward from the God who sees in secret.

 

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

 

“I am not he” (Acts. 13:25)

 

In the Gospel today we hear the naming of the child. A name is of great importance. The Israelites of old knew this importance. They took the choosing of names for their children very seriously. They wanted the name they chose to have special significance to the child. As Christians, we should have the same desire when naming our children. We should want the names we give our children to give them a sense of purpose in God. In most of our societies, the name declares our character; the name expresses what we are and sometimes relates to our destiny. Hence in naming our children let us not just give a name because it sounds nice or just naming for the sake. We should give to our children meaningful names; names that will express their character and give them a sense of destiny as revealed to us by God.

The name John means “The Lord is gracious”. In the birth of John and in the birth of Jesus the Messiah we see the grace of God breaking forth into a world broken by sin and without hope. John’s miraculous birth shows the mercy and favor of God in preparing his people for the coming of its Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist is the only prophet who pointed to the people the lamb of God foretold by all other prophets. He was the humble forerunner who agreed to decrease so that Christ may increase. People believed John was the Christ, but humbly he denied it saying “I am not he”, he did not embrace self glorification but rather expressed the glory of God. You and me, most of the time we deny Jesus the glory and instead propel our own glorification. We want people to give us credit for our good devotion, good piety, good preaching, good family, good everything and we appreciate as if it is out of our own merit. We forget there is one whose sandals we are not worthy to untie who is behind all our success! This makes us more of the Pharisees who boasted of their righteousness.

Let us ask God through the intercession of St. John the Baptist that we learn to be humble so that we may gain merit and reward on the good deeds we perform.

The Lowly one called and the Lord heard him

Dear Family of God,

Today we see that God hears the cry of the poor and the lowly. He is compassionate to the needy. In the first reading we see how Hagar the Egyptian slave who bore a son Ishmael to Abraham is sent away with her son after Sarah also bore a son Issac. She wanders in the wilderness and she together with her baby are about to die because of hunger and thirst. But God comes to their rescue and tells the woman “Do not be afraid, I have heard the cry of your baby” because the lowly one cried and the Lord hear him; “the Angel of the Lord is encamped around those who fear him, to rescue them

Sometimes we may find ourselves in a similar situation when the society sends us away; when our family sends us away; when our parents send us away; when our husbands leave us alone; when our wives neglect us; when the social systems sends us aways and treat us unjustly. Let us cry to the Lord he will hear our voice and rescue us.Let us also not send other people away into the wilderness. If they cry, the Lord will hear their voice.

In the Gospel we have a similar case. The two people possessed by demons cried to Jesus and he heard their cry and cast out demons and restores their life. But one thing is fascinating: why did Jesus allow the demons to enter into the herd of swine and make them to perish into the sea? Here, Jesus wanted to show us that when it comes to helping the lowly one, he does not count cost. He would rather lose the herd of swine to the sea than losing the two men to the demons.

Let us have that attitude of Jesus, that when it comes to our relationship with God we should be ready to sacrifice anything even that we hold dear if it takes us away from God. We should be ready even to end some friendships if they take us away from God. Then we ask ourselves: what is more important to you, is it life of richness? Is it being rich or being happy? And what consists your concept of happiness, is it having money or being in good relationship with God? The psalmist has told us “the rich suffer want and go hungry, but the those who seek the Lord lack no blessing.

When it comes to helping people and wiping tears from the lowly we should not count cost. If the Lord has to hear the cry of the lowly, he wants to do so through us: during the time of Hagar he did it himself and heard the cry of Hagar and her baby; during the time of Jesus, he heard the cry of the demoniacs through Jesus; during our time he wants to hear the cry of the lowly through you and me. Let us then open our eyes and hears of our hearts and hear the cry of the poor, and needy people around us and cooperate with God in restoring their lives.

By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

 

“The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Mt. 10:7)

 

The words “Kingdom of God”or “Kingdom of Heaven” appear frequently in the Scriptures particularly in the New Testament and they have a rich and varied meaning. Today’s Gospel is one instance in which that important phrase is mentioned.

The context under which the Kingdom of Heaven is mentioned here is when Jesus sends his disciples to preach the Good News and heal the sick and deal with all kinds of infirmity. In this context, we reflect the coming of the Kingdom of God as restoration of the Original goodness of the world.

When God created the world, everything was good and indeed very good (Gen. 1:31). This goodness was lost when evil came in. That is why evil is also referred to as deprivation of good. There are different types of evil, namely: Physical evil which includes all that causes harm to mankind such as sickness, accidents, deaths, anxiety, oppression and all kinds of infirmity; Moral evil which includes all deviation of human volition from the prescriptions of the moral order and religious instructions and all sins fall in this category; Metaphysical evil which refers to such things as imperfection and chance (e.g. criminals going unpunished, deformities, etc.); Natural evil which refers to natural disasters (e.g. famine, floods, etc.). All these evils reflect in one way or another deprivation of the original goodness.

In the world today evils are increasing so much, meaning that the Kingdom of God is overshadowed by the Kingdom of evil. We need to make the Kingdom of God here present in order to reduce this increasing evil. Let us pray that the Kingdom of God comes, let us participate in preaching this Kingdom of God but most important, let us allow God to reign our, thoughts, words, actions and indeed our entire lives so that we may live happily in the good world that God created.

 

 

“You have revealed these things to infants” (Mt. 11:25)

 

Jesus during his earthly life was not understood at some point with almost all groups of people: Pharisees and Scribes as he rebuked them of their hypocrisy (Mt. 23:13-28); parents when he was left behind in the temple (Lk. 2:50) and even his own disciples on the Eucharist (Jn. 6:66). The only group that did not enter into conflict with Jesus is that of the children (infants). Jesus always loves children and he invites us all to be like the little children so as we qualify to enter the Kingdom of God (Mt. 18:3). Children are always simple, humble, needy, and inadequate and depend entirely on their parents. Most of us on the contrary are always proud, depending on our wisdom and understanding such that we forget that we get this wisdom and understanding from God.

In the gospel today, Jesus’ prayer contrasts pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are like “infants” in the sense that they see purely without pretense and acknowledge their dependence and trust in the one who is greater, wiser, and more trustworthy. Real humility is about dependence.  It is about being childlike in receiving all that we have as a gift from God.  Just as a child is utterly dependent on his parents, we are utterly dependent upon God. It is through this kind of humility that we can be able to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God and so be able to enter heaven. Let us ask God today to make us humble.

 

 

 

 

Memorial of St. Martha

 

“She went and met him” (Jn. 11:20)

 

St. Martha in the Bible is famously remembered especially on two incidences. One in Luke 10:38-42 where together with her sister Mary they welcomed Jesus. Mary sat and listened to Jesus while Martha was busy with many things that distracted her attention to Jesus. Jesus warns her that listening to him was more important. This same experience is facing most of us. Sometimes we become too busy to have time to listen to Jesus. We become too busy to pray, much less reading the Word of God!

The second incidence is one we find in today’s Gospel, Jn. 11:19-27 on the funeral of her brother Lazarus. This incidence shows us that Martha was indeed a good listener and had taken the warning of Jesus seriously. This time when Jesus comes it is Martha who goes to Jesus to talk and listen to him and even leaving Mary sitting in the house. “She went and met him”. It is through listening to Jesus that Martha’s belief in the resurrection of the dead is strengthened. She now believes in Jesus as the “resurrection and life”

As we celebrate the memorial of this great saint, let us learn her example of service to Jesus. It is good to remember here even if we don’t see Jesus physically; we can experience him through the sick, the poor and the needy. Let us help them for it is in serving these little ones that we serve Christ (Mt. 25:40). Let us learn also the same lesson that St. Martha learned from Jesus that amidst the busy schedules we might have, we need some time to listen to Jesus through prayer and reading the word of God because it is through these exercises that our faith is strengthened. Let us ask St. Martha to pray for us!

 

“Woe to you…hypocrites” (Mt. 23:27)

The word hypocrite has its etymology from the greek hupokritēs  meaning ‘actor,’. Actors normally wear masks of people in whose person they act. This same meaning is applied to people who outwardly live against their inward composition; People who on the outside look like sheep but with the composition of the lion within; People who laugh with their teeth while weeping within their hearts; People who look beautiful, humble, honest and chaste on the outside but their mind and hearts are full of pride, greed, sloth, envy, hatred, gluttony and lust.

We may think that the word “hypocrites” is addressed only to Pharisees and scribes of Jesus’ time. But it also fits perfectly well to us today. Most of us tend to do things well when we know somebody is looking. We cover our inward wickedness with virtuous or charitable external performances. Nowadays, rich people exploit the poor and cover up their exploitation by giving alms to them and inviting the press so as to make a show off on TV or any other social media. Nowadays, most of the people are not ready to contribute to help the sick or poor person in need, but come with huge sums of condolences at the burial when the sick or poor person dies. Nowadays it is not surprising to find poor innocent people imprisoned to cover up the scandals or blunders of the rich people who bribe the judiciary etc.

Most of the times in the Gospel Jesus is insisting on the soul, the spiritual life. In the Gospel of last Sunday, Jesus insists “It is the spirit that gives life.” (Jn. 6:63). It is thus the internal purity, the real image of the person that matters and not the outward appearances.  Let us then learn to be and live our lives well even when nobody is looking.

 

“Blessed are you poor” (Lk. 6:20)

It is against human reasoning and common sense to think that the poor, the hungry and those in grief are blessed and happy. Human reasoning conceives as blessed the rich and those whose life is filled with laughter.

Jesus today is teaching about true happiness. True happiness is found only in God. Therefore if we want to be truly happy, then we must empty ourselves of all that would shut God out of our hearts and embrace all that brings us closer to God. It is normal for human beings to seek God in times of trouble and anxiety while richness and leisure make us forget God. Poverty, hunger and grief are attributes usually associated with humility and dependence whereas richness and laughter are attributes normally associated with pride and self sufficiency.

Poverty of spirit helps one to struggle to possess God as the supreme richness and ideal treasure. Hunger of the spirit helps one to search for satisfaction and strength from God’s word and the Sacraments. Sorrow and mourning over sin and oppression leads one to joyful freedom from the servitude of Satan and his associates.

Let us therefore ask God today to help us to rise above our human inclinations and seek things that are above as Saint Paul tells us in the first reading. Let us not be lured by the worldly richness and pleasures to the extent of forgetting our true destiny. Let us instead nurture our poverty and hunger in spirit as well as our sorrow and mourning over sin and oppression so that we may qualify to inherit the Kingdom of heaven.

 

The Cost of Discipleship (Lk. 9:57-62)

Following Jesus is not an easy task. It has its own cost. In today’s Gospel Jesus categorically expresses this cost of following him.

“The Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” Following Jesus requires one to move out of the comfortable zone. One has to learn to give up all pleasure and comfort that hinders him/her from abiding by God’s will.

“Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Following Jesus will sometimes require us to detach ourselves even from our close family ties, friends and relatives so as to embark on some special mission. Failure to follow Jesus on pretext of family responsibilities is seeking our own death, because Jesus is life.

“No one who…looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Following Jesus requires attention and concentration. There are many distractions in following Jesus especially in today’s World. The voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd is obscured by loud noise from various distractions. Thus we need to have a careful attention to living our Christian values amidst the present mixture of values, philosophies, politics and beliefs.

YEAR II

I WILL FOLLOW YOU

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Dear Family of God,

Today we are challenged with the cost of following Jesus. It is not easy following Jesus but it is free because Jesus wants us to make personal decisions; he does not give false promises or pretenses.

To the first man he gave this advice “Before you follow me, count the cost.” It is like he told him “If you follow me to get comfortable life, I do not even have a place to lay my head.” Sometimes we follow Jesus and participate in matters of the church only for comfort but when we face tribulations like hardships in life, sickness, death, problems at work or in our business we lose heart and become disappointed. Nowadays, many a people are following Jesus as a miracle worker, who can heal them, give them money and good life. We need to count the cost so that we can follow Jesus “in season and out of season” (2Tim 4:2).

The second man was invited by Jesus himself but he postponed the invitation until the death of his father. Jesus told him “Let the dead bury their own dead.” What Jesus meant here is that we should not lose an opportunity for salvation. “Seek God when he is to be found” (Is 55:6). A lost opportunity never returns.  Sometimes we postpone opportunities “I shall follow Jesus when I am old, let me first enjoy life; I shall reconcile later; I shall receive confession later.” “Behold, now is the Day of Salvation” (2Cor 6:2).

Jesus’ response to the third man meant that he does not accept lukewarm service. We should make a firm decision and be able to detach ourselves from the past, from our old days.

What we can learn is what we have been learning this week that we need prompt, humble and loving obedience in following God’s will being able to sacrifice everything for the sake of God’s kingdom.

We are presented with an example of St. Therese of the Child Jesus whom we are commemorating today. As a young girl of 15, she left everything at that tender age and joined the Carmelites. There she excelled in her simple and humble way of life which she called “The Little Way.”

Let us pray that through the intercession of St. Therese we may also be ready to abandon everything even our comfort, for the sake of the love of God and of our neighbor. Let us follow what St. Paul has told us in the Gospel acclamation “I count everything as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”

TUTAFAKARI MSAMAHA

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Sala ya Baba Yetu…, kama alituvyofundisha Bwana Wetu Yesu Kristu, ni kielelezo kamili cha maisha ya sala ya Mkristu. Katika sala hii Mkristu anakutana na kuongea na Mungu katika Imani, Matumaini na Mapendo. Mtoto anaongea na Babaye! Sala hii imejaa sifa, maombi na toba. Leo hii ningependa tutafakari pamoja Ombi pekee lenye sharti, “Utusamehe dhambi zetu kama sisi tunavyowasamehe waliotukosea”.

Kutosamehe ni kama kunywa dawa ya panya na kungoja ili panya afe,” alisema Anne Lamott. Naye Nelson Mandela alikuwa na mawazo hayo hayo aliposema: “Chuki ni kama kunywa sumu ukitumaini kuwa itawaua adui zako.” Kuomba msamaha na kukubali kupokea msamaha ni tiba. Zawadi nzuri ya kumpa adui yako ni msamaha

Kabla hatujasamehe hatutulii. Kumsamehe mtu hakubadili yaliyopita bali kunabadili yajayo. Kunabadili mahusiano mabaya yanakuwa mazuri, kunabadili fikra hasi zinakuwa chanya. Kunatibu vidonda vya chuki. Kwa mtazamo huo, zawadi nzuri ya kumpa adui yako ni msamaha.  Mshangaze adui yako kwa kumpa zawadi ya msamaha. Zawadi hiyo itakumbukwa na kuzungumziwa vizazi hata vizazi. Ni zawadi ambayo Yesu aliwapa waliomtesa na kumtundika msalabani. Ni zawadi ambayo Stefano katika kitabu cha matendo ya mitume, aliwapa waliomua. Ni zawadi ambayo Papa Yohane Paulo II alimpa Ali Agca ambaye alimpiga risasi. Ni zawadi ambayo Josephina Bakhita wa Sudani aliwapa waliomuuza utumwani. Kuna umuhimu wa kusamehe, lakini kuna umuhimu wa kuwa tayari kupokea msamaha. Ishara ya kuwa mtu amepokea msamaha ni kutokurudia kosa. Zipo hatua nyingi katika za kupokea msamaha na kusamehe.

Kwanza anayepaswa kusamehewa lazima atambue kosa lake. Na kosa kubwa ni kutokutambua kosa. Pili kutubu na kuungama ni muhimu katika hatua za kupokea msamaha. Mtume Paulo anatuasa,

Basi, achaneni na uhasama, chuki, hasira, kelele na matusi. Acheni kila uovu! Mwe na moyo mwema na wenye kuhurumiana; kila mmoja na amsamehe mwenzake kama naye Mungu alivyowasamehe nyinyi kwa njia ya Kristo” (Waefeso 4: 31-31).

Kuwa na hasira na uhasama, chuki, kelele na matusi ni kuamua kujiweka kwenye gereza la kujitakia. Kama kusamehe ni muujiza basi tuna uwezo wa kufanya huo muujiza. Msamaha si jambo la mzaha. Mwalimu aliwauliza wanafunzi wa darasa la kwanza, “Kabla ya kumpa mtu msamaha mtu anatakiwa kufanya nini?” Mwanafunzi akajibu, “Kwanza mtu afanye kosa.” Mwalimu alitegemea mwanafunzi ajibu, “Kwanza lazima atambue kosa lake.” Tunazungumzia msamaha katika mazingira ambapo kosa limetendeka.

Kwa kawaida ni vizuri kupasha moto chakula lakini si vizuri kupasha moto wa kumbukumbu ya mabaya uliyotendewa. Kama Nelson Madiba Mandeka angepasha moto kumbukumbu ya mabaya aliyotendewa hasingezungumzia kusameheana baada ya kukaa gerezani kwa kipindi cha zaidi ya miaka ishirini na tano. Kusamehe ni tendo la kibinadamu, mbwa hawezi kutafakari juu ya kumsamehe mbwa mwenzake. Tendo la kusamehe ambalo ni la kibinadamu linainuliwa na kuwa la kimungu. Zipo faida nyingi za kusamehe. Kusamehe kunaleta amani ya moyoni. Kusamehe kunaleta mwanga katika maisha yetu. Kusamehe ni sharti letu kupokea msamaha kutoka kwa Mungu.

Masharti ya msamaha

“Usiposamehe uhalifu unatenda uhalifu.” “Anayesamehe anapata ushindi.” “Anayesamehe anamaliza ugomvi.” “Asiyejua kusamehe asitegemee msamaha.” Msamaha una nafasi katika tamaduni za kiafrika. Kusamehe makosa ni tendo la huruma. Yesu alisisitiza sana hitaji la kuwasamehe wengine kama tunavyosoma katika Biblia

Kisha Petro akamwendea Yesu, akamwuliza, ‘Je, ndugu yangu akinikosea, nimsamehe mara ngapi? Mara saba?’ Yesu akamjibu, ‘Sisemi mara saba tu, bali sabini mara saba.’” (Mathayo 18:21).

Kusamehe mara sabini na saba kunamaanisha kusamehe kila mtu kila mara. Kunamaanisha kusamehe bila kikomo. Lakini kutoa msamaha na kusamehe kuna masharti yake.

Sharti la kusamehewa ni kusamehe.

Katika sala ya Baba yetu (Mathayo 6: 9-13) ambayo ina maombi saba ni ombi moja lililo na masharti. “Utusamehe makosa yetu kama tunavyowasamehe waliotukusea.” (Mathayo 6: 12) Maombi mengine kama “Utupe leo mkate wetu wa kila siku,” “Usitutie vishawishini,”  hayana masharti. Ukitaka Mungu akusamehe samehe wale waliokukosea. Samehe mtu mbaya aliyekukosea ili pasiwepo watu wabaya wawili: yule aliyekukosea na wewe ambaye hukutoa msamaha.

Sharti lingine la msamaha ni kuweka makosa katika kaburi la sahau.

Samehe na sahau. Kuna baadhi ya watu ambao hupamba methali ifuatayo katika nyumba zao. “Kwangu uingie lakini kumbuka mabaya uliyonitendea.” Methali kama hiyo haioneshi msamaha. Kila mmoja anabidi awe na “kaburi dogo,” la kuzika makosa ya wale waliomkosea. Kuna Mzee mmoja alikuwa mgonjwa sana. Alikuwa kufani akichungulia kaburi. Alimuita mchungaji ampatanishe na jirani yake kusudi akifa Mungu awe tayari kumsamehe kwa vile naye anasamehe. Basi Mchungaji aliwapatanisha. Wakasameheana. Lakini jirani yake alipojiandaa kurudi nyumbani mgonjwa huyo katika kitanda cha mauti alisema, “Mapatano haya yana maana iwapo nitakufa, kama sitakufa usikanyage kwangu.” Mgonjwa huyu alikuwa hajasamehe. Alikuwa anatunza kinyongo.

Sharti lingine la msamaha ni kutokujiingiza katika kutenda maovu.

Hakuna mahali popote katika ujumbe wa Biblia ambapo msamaha au huruma kama kiini chake humaanisha kujiingiza katika kutenda maovu, kujiingiza katika kashfa, kutia wengine hasara au kutukana wengine. Katika hali yoyote ile kufanya malipizi kwa ajili ya maovu na kashfa, kufidia hasara na kufanya malipizi ya matukano ni masharti ya msamaha.

Vikwazo katika kusamehe

Lakini katika maisha tunakutana na vizuizi na vikwazo vya kutoa na kupokea msamaha. Kutokuwa tayari kutubu makosa na kubadilika ni kikwazo katika kupokea msamaha. Mtu anafanya kosa na hayuko tayari kubadili nia na kumgeukia Mungu. Kumsamehe mtu ambaye hayuko tayari kutubu ni kama kuchora picha kwenye maji.

Kikwazo kingine ni moyo mgumu. Moyo mgumu ni moyo unaotunza chuki. Lakini chuki humchoma anayeitunza. Zaidi ya hayo, kukata tamaa, kukataa ukweli ulio wazi, visingizio, kuficha ukweli wa mambo, ni vikwazo na vizuizi katika kutoa na kupokea msamaha.  Lakini hatuna budi kutambua ukweli huu, kisasi kilicho bora ni kusamehe.

Samehe na Sahau

“Naweza kusamehe, lakini siwezi kusahau” ni namna nyingine ya kusema “Siwezi kusamehe”. Bwana wetu Yesu Kristu alisamehe na kusahau. Jambo ambalo linamtofautisha shahidi wa kweli na shahidi bandia (wa uongo) ni moyo wa kusamehe. Sifa kubwa ya wafiadini na mashahidi ni moyo wa kusamehe. Mtakatifu Stefano alilia kwa sauti kubwa: “Bwana usiwalaumu kwa sababu ya dhambi hii” (Matendo 7:60). Katika kila msamaha kuna upendo. Kusamahe ni kuchagua kupenda. Kusamehe ni chaguo bora. Neno la kwanza la Yesu msalabani ni neno la msamaha: Baba uwasamehe kwa vile hawajui watendalo.

Yesu hakulipa kisasi cha jicho kwa jicho au jino kwa jino. “Sheria ya zamani “jicho kwa jicho – inaacha kila mtu akiwa kipofu”. Mtu akikosa na mwingine aliyetendewa vibaya akakataa kata kata kutoa msamaha panakuwepo na watu wabaya wawili. Kama mtu mbaya akikukosea msamehe, pasije pakawepo watu wawili wabaya. Yeye anayetaka kulipa kisasi itambidi kuchimba kaburi mbili. Kulipa kisasi ni kumkomoa mtu, lakini ni zaidi ya hapo ni kujikomoa, kwa sababu “Yule ambaye hawezi kuwasamehe wengine anaharibu daraja ambalo lazima avuke yeye mwenyewe; kwa sababu kila mtu anahitaji kusamehewa. Tendo la Yesu kusamehe waliomkosea ni changamoto kwetu. Kila tusalipo sala ya Baba Yetu, tukumbuke kutoa msamaha pale tuliposahau kufanya hivyo na tufanye hivyo mara kwani hatujui suku wala saa ajapo Mwana wa Adamu!

KRISTU-TUMAINI LETU.

Have crucified the flesh with its passions

Memorial of

St. Teresa of Avilla: Virgin and Doctor of the Church

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Dear Family of God,

Today, St. Paul explains to us how to inherit the Kingdom of God; that we have to crucify the flesh with its passions. This means that we have to deny the flesh of all its longings which are contrary to the rule of the Kingdom of God – the rule of love. St. Paul mentions some of those desires of the flesh that are contrary to the Kingdom of God: immorality, impurity, enmity, anger, selfishness, strife etc.

In the Gospel Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and Lawyers for their outward shows pretending to be strict to the law and forcing people to abide by the law of traditions while in truth they themselves are hypocrites, acting with selfishness for their honour, and neglecting justice and love which are essential for the Kingdom of God.

When we meditate upon all this we ask ourselves: are we really in the Kingdom? Are we not gratifying the flesh satisfying all its desires? Are we not angry with others and in constant strife? Are we not selfish and denying justice to others? Where are we?

It would seem too difficult to attain these standards in the Kingdom. However, to show us that it is possible, today we are presented with an example of a holy life: St Teresa of Avilla – Virgin and Doctor of the Church. She entered the Carmelites at the age of twenty and pursued a life of intense holiness. She reformed the Carmelites and was blessed with a great faith to overcome the many trials and difficulties she encountered in her life. In short, she crucified the flesh with its passions for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

With St. Teresa of Avilla let us pray to God that His Kingdom may be established in us; right from our hearts and the fruits will be clear outside as St Paul has put it: love, joy, peace, gentleness, self-control etc. these are the indicators that we are in the Kingdom of God. St. Teresa of Avilla Pray for us.

Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

Luka 12: 39 – 48

“Tunaijua saa ajapo Mwana wa Adamu.Ni saa yoyote”

Tunaalikwa kukesha kwani atakuja saa na wakati wowote. Hili tunalijua ya kwamba atakuja saa tunayojua kwamba hatuijui. Ni saa yoyote.

Kukesha ni kudumu katika neema ya utakaso. Kukesha ni kutakatifuza kila saa, kila dakika na kila sekunde tunayoishi hapa duniani. Kukesha si tu swala la kulala kanisani tukisali na kuimba. Kukesha zaidi ya hilo. Ni kubaki katika muunganiko na Mwenyezi Mungu kwa kusali sala mbalimbali kadiri ya mahitaji ya nyakati, kufanya kazi halali kwa bidii, kutimiza wajibu wetu kwa Mungu na kwa jamii; kwa kifupi, kukesha ni kudumu katika imani, matumaini na mapendo.

Injili ya Jumatano hii, inatufundisha na kututafakarisha juu ya hilo. Kwa kuwa hatujui Bwana atakuja lini, basi hatuna budi kubaki tumejiandaa muda wote kwa ujio huo mtakatifu. Yaani, kitakachoniokoa mimi hasa ni “sasa” (the Now). Tunaalikwa kila wakati kujiuliza swali hili msingi, “Maisha yangu sasa hivi yakoje mbele ya Mungu?” Yaani, mahusiano yangu na Mungu, na jirani yakoje sasa hivi – naongelea dakika hii! Yaani muda huu, yaani sasa hivi, NOW! Ukweli tunaujua, ni kwamba hatujui siku wala saa ajapo. Hivyo siku na saa twaijua. Ni ipi? Ni ile tusiyoijua. Tumepewa upendeleo wa kujua kuwa Bwana atakuja siku na saa tusiyoijua ili tubaki katika Upendo wa Mungu, tukimpenda Mungu na jirani kwa mawazo, kwa maneno na kwa matendo yetu ya kila wakati.

Bwana anatupenda sana, basi na tudumu katika kupendana tukijua kwamba ni kwa njia ya upendo yote yanawezekana. Ni kwa kwa njia ya upendo tutakesha. Ni kwa njia ya upendo wa kweli tutaurithi uzima wa milele. Tutainuliwa maana tutathibitika kuwa  tu Watumishi waaminifu. Amina.

I. It is not uncommon for Jesus to make hard demands on his followers. Today’s passage of Luke reminds us of other harder demands Jesus ever made to his hearers:

In Mt. 5:30ff, Jesus says:  “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; It is better that you lose one of your body members than that your whole body be thrown to hell!” The same he says of the right hand!

And now when we hear him tell his followers to hate their parents, wives, children and possessions for his sake we simply tend not to reconcile these demands and the message of love propagated by Jesus himself throughout the Gospels.

II. Why then does Jesus use a radical language to his followers? To understand our Lord, we have to look into the context. It was a great multitude of people following him full of enthusiasm and expectations. Jesus makes it clear to them that following Him is not just like football fans stalking their favorite player or ‘groupies’ following a pop star from city to city. In following Christ there is a price to be paid. The followers need to know that and prepare for it. The following of Christ demands total and unconditional commitment. Hence, anyone who puts human persons even closest to them before total commitment to Christ and his Mission does not qualify to be a disciple. Jesus is not recommending literal abandonment of one’s family but, for those who want to be part of His work have to commit themselves completely and unconditionally.

III. We are invited to constantly think about the price we have to pay if we really want to be disciples of Jesus, otherwise we may try to build but we are unable to finish. We may try to conquer but we are unable to win.

Giving up all for Jesus begins in small ways. When we do what is expected of us without complaining or arguing then we can be counted among genuine disciples. When we understand the cost of discipleship that Jesus is talking about, then we will understand what St. Paul means when he says, in the 1st reading: “If my blood has to be shed as part of your own sacrifice and offering, I shall be happy and rejoice with all of you”. Let us ask for the courage of making these words our own.

By Fr Adeodatus Rwehumbiza

What Must Take Place After This

 

Let us meditate shortly on the words by an Angel to John in a vision “I will show you what must take place after this.”  According to the First Reading and the Gospel there are certain things that must take place after this life:

  • There will be judgement
  • We shall have to give an account of how we traded with God’s gifts
  • Those found worthy will join the Choirs in Heaven to PRAISE GOD as John saw.
  • There will be punishment for those who will have not made any profit with God’s gifts.

What do you think will take place after your life?

Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

 

“By your endurance you will gain your lives”

Dear Family of God,

Today Jesus is encouraging us against the difficulties we face in living our faith. As it was in the times of the Apostles so is during our time. It is not easy to stand for the truth, for our faith and for Christian moral standards. Sometimes we are betrayed by our own weaknesses; sometimes we feel shy to stand different in the community; sometimes we are mistreated by our own like family members because of our faith or because we refuse to cooperate in their evil plans. In other places there are really physical tortures from those against our faith. It requires great faith, trust in God, spirit of sacrifice and courage to stand firm for Christ.

Jesus is encouraging us that we shall not labour in vain “By your endurance you will gain your lives.” These words are confirmed by what John saw as we have read in the first reading “And I saw …those who had conquered the beast…with harps and they sing ‘Great and wonderful are you deeds, O Lord God the Almighty.’” This makes true the words of the Gospel acclamation “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2:10c). When you know what you are doing is right, do not give up; God will stand for you.

By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

 

6 Responses to “Wednesday”

  • Fr. Delphinus:

    Thank you Raniel and Mildred for your input. I believe together we can help the world better, and make people have life (wawe na uzima). God bless you.

  • Mildred Shivachi:

    My apology Fr.Delphinus not Raniel

  • Mildred Shivachi:

    Thank you Fr.Raniel. Today’s message is very strong. It is practised by ourselves and the entire nation. We show off and ensure the media is present to report e.g. we contributed to a certain children home, we boast that we helped the poor in a certain slum etc. May we have the hearts to do charity work quietly, willingly and without showing off. God bless us.

  • RANIEL:

    Thank you father, I am blessed this morning. Great message.

    The love for our neighbour has no identical boundaries or limit, we all are each other’s neighbours

  • RANIEL:

    The sole reason why there is a confusion on the meaning of the term ‘truth’ is because of modernization, each person has his or her own meaning of the term truth, this has led to many people holding different views about truth.

    In fact, further, this has brought a strong fight among Christians about the true church and this has led to the coming up of many churches, some of which are misleading the faithfuls.

    We Christians are called, with help of the Bible-The Word, to shed light to the world on the true meaning of truth. This is the only and sure way we can bring it to the people that truth lies in the Word, and that’s God. We should all recognize that, beside God, there’s no truth.

    • Fr. Delphinus:

      Thank you Raniel. It is unfortunate that in this “modern” world, even Christians rarely read the Word of God or reflect upon it. We need to pray in addition to our efforts to make sure that this Word of God is not abandoned at the expense of modernization.

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