Monday, December 6, 2010

2nd SUNDAY OF ADVENT (December 5th, 2010)

1st reading Isaiah 11:1-10; Ps 71:1-2.7-8.12-13.17, 2nd reading Rom 15:4-9. Gospel

Mt 3:1-12

“The falling drops will at last wear the stone” - Lucretius

PSALM 71

THE FORWARD LOOK

Ageless as a sun or moon he shall endure; /kindly as the rain that drops on the meadow grass, /as the showers that water the earth. / Justice in his days shall thrive, and the blessings of peace; / and may those days last till the moon shines no more. / From sea to sea, from the great river to the ends of the earth, / his sways shall reach…. / he will give the poor redress when they cry to him, / destitute folk, with none to befriend them; / in their need and helpless, they shall have his compassion.



THIS GREAT SONG of longing for truth and justice, called “A psalm of Solomon,” express man’s highest ideals. People of all ages and nations, evil as they can be, have always desired this perfection, this fulfillment of their greatest aspirations. In an earthly sense, little progress has been made toward the goal over centuries. One could not be proved wrong if s/he said that the accomplishment of this end is farther away now than ever, that, if anything, the hope has deteriorated.



But the prophecy has been fulfilled; Christ Jesus “shall endure” and we are sure that “justice in his days shall thrive, and the blessings of peace” and the poorest, the most unjustly treated, the most helpless shall indeed “have his compassion.”Christ has not failed to bring all our hopes to reality; it is we who fail. We do not view our lives as we should; we think of life merely in terms of a few years on earth. It’s like thinking of health only in terms of curing sickness; it is like thinking of an education only in terms of registration day; it is like thinking of an opera only in terms of the first measures of the overture, or like thinking of a football game only in terms of the warm-up. This life is really not life; it is the preparation for life. Until we understand that, we have not understood the universe, we have not human nature, and we have not the slightest notion of God’s plan.



Why do we know little about our resurrection of our bodies, the eternal life for which body and soul are destined? This is the event in which we were created, and to which, according to St. Paul, all creation looks forward. Books ought to be compiled, containing all the beautiful literature of the Church on the resurrection, and all Catholics should read it, and live by it, meditating on it every day! Exaggeration? A simple case of logic.

“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is close at hand” Matt 3:1-12.

Dear my brothers and sisters in Christ,


For many centuries people have waited for the king to come, the prince of peace who would come to establish his kingdom here on earth and many are still waiting.


It’s quite very crucial especially in countries that are planning and anxiously waiting for general elections. The country I have in mind as I write this reflection is Uganda and I have the people of northern Uganda at heart and of course with other Ugandans at large who are warming up for the next year 2011 general election. This prince of peace has been yearned for, for many years. All Ugandans are keeping their eyes focused in heaven with great hopes for a sign of that peace, the prince of peace. Someone as s/he reads this will try stretch the mind and ask kwani was there no peace in northern Uganda?

Many have interpreted this peace and all its promises in a materialistic way. Even those who were entrusted to bring this peace doubted, got frustrated, water was splashed upon them, thorns pierced them, rainy showered them, mosquitoes bite them, they slept in forests, rocket bombs flew over their heads not counting haw many died and are still dying to date as we celebrate the second Sunday of Advent.


Sometimes people do not want to imagine that those who are speaking of peace talk any more but a quenching of their thirst for peace day and night. People are fed up with meetings in board rooms, conferences they want people who walk the talk. Is there someone out there hearing or reading this reflection then spare a thought for the people of northern Uganda.


We need a spiritual kingdom, Christ the redeemer and prince of peace is calling us to repent, and bring peace in our neighbourhood and in our homes. This message is very clear as we have St. John the Baptist as our teacher with his message being clear and simple “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is close at hand”.


The church is calling upon us to repentance, to renewal, and to real conversion. This is a period of deepening God’s grace in us. Let us examine our faith and actions, call it one root of God’s Kingdom- how deep is it? Do you believe it is still God? That he is creator, Saviour and Sanctifier? Do you believe that he exists and will reward all those who seek him? To believe in God is not the same as believing God. Believing him means simply as scenting to what he says. Believing in him means total surrender of oneself to God. Have you surrendered yourself to him?


Another aspect that we need to examine in this second Sunday of advent is love. Do I love God with all my heart? Christ gave us the measure. “He who loves me,” he said, “keeps my commandments”. Love is a noble sentiment which is capable of growing, but it can grow cold and die. It can be superficial or deep. Are you deepening yours? Not only by keeping the commandments, this is the minimum, let it be by good deeds, by practicing virtue.



Think about any given modern state. If you have a good civil service, good judiciary, good security force, Good and good citizens generally speaking, then your nation is strong. God’s kingdom grows by deep by faith, hope and love.



Prayer is another aspect to examine. Do you still pray? The liturgical movement has done all it could to encourage participatory prayer. But there are times when your “Amen” or any other response is so faint that one may wonder whether we are praying! Private prayer has not lost its importance and one wonders whether we are praying. Community and public prayer will be difficult if it is not nourished by private prayer. Do I pray? How often? How well?


The practice of virtue is a necessary condition for deepening God’s kingdom. How do you appreciate virtue? Try to be virtuous in the world today and you will be called a coward! Because you are fair and just to everyone, because you are respectful and obedient, because you love purity and charity, you will be called, over prudent, immature etc. And this is what it must be, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Repent, do good, renew your life, that God’s kingdom (Grace) may come in you.


“Consider the postage stamp; its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there” – Josh Billings

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ADVENT?

The pagans had used the word “advent” to mean the “coming” of their god. On a fixed day of the year, they would expose its statue, because they were convinced that in this way the god would make its presence felt among its faithful, ready to hand out blessings and favours. The word “advent” was used also to mean the “visit” of a king to a city, or the crowning day of a sovereign.

The Christians applied all these various meanings to the “coming” of their God into the world, who had manifested himself in Jesus Christ, while the term “advent” was used to identify specifically the period of time set aside to prepare this “visit”.

From the way things are: hasn’t Jesus come already? Why do we prepare as if he were to come once again? Is Christmas just a birthday feast and Advent the time one spends to prepare for it buying food and drinks, inviting friends, learning songs and dances? No. Advent is nothing of all this. This is how the pagans prepared their feast of the “birth of the sun”. Christians also rejoice, are happy, sing and dance on Christmas day, but this is not the main aspect of it.

WHAT ARE WE TO DO DURING ADVENT?

The word of God which will accompany us or the coming Sundays tells us that Jesus has not come just once. He keeps coming. He comes and is present at all that happens in the world and in the Church; he comes and is present in all those who spread new ideas, utter words of love, peace and reconciliation, in those who strive to build a new world.

Jesus comes to us every day but we are always out of our homes, and we prefer to close our eyes and ears. Those who are drunk start saying stupid things, many insults are thrown here and there, mishandling his family by them going hungry and children thrown out of school because of lack of school fees. Can Jesus come into the heart of such a man? Or think of a young lady/ man who refuses to study and fails his or her exams for three years in succession, roams around and about and goes to feasts only to abuse drugs, crime and losing the purpose in life or vocation. In such a young man/lady is Jesus truly present in such a person? What about a Christian community whose members are envious, jealous, divided, speak ill of each other, do not help each other. Has Jesus come? In a nation where citizens kill each other, where there is war, violence, injustice, hate, grudges, feuds and so on, has Jesus come? No he has not come and cannot come before the obstacles preventing his coming are removed.

Barriers will have to be pulled down, valleys filled up, men must not be divided by any obstacle any more since whatever divides cuts off also from Christ.

The reading we are going to listen and reflect upon are to invite us to keep vigilant, keep our eyes wide open in order to discover and prepare the ways that Jesus has chosen to come and free us from the evil with which we seek happiness, but that instead provokes only a lot of sorrow.

Prepare your house to receive Christ in your heart by attending Mass, going for confession regularly and being charitable to those who are not privileged around you, visit an orphanage, give a lift a Christian who prays with you in your church, being cheerful always and above all smile in your mind, heart and in your liver.

God bless you abundantly during this season of awaiting….

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CHRIST THE KING




“Whenever God rules over the human heart as King, there is the Kingdom of God established”

Paul W. Harrison



2 Sam 5:1-3; Ps 121:1-5. Col 1:12-20. Luke 23:35-43





“Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing.”



People today expect very many things in their lives that even if you promise them a king today, they have the courage to ask, what importance is he for us? What are we going to benefit out of that kingship, where does he come from? (What tribe is he?). Today there is too much pessimism in our life. We are living lives without examination…



Christ is on Mt. Calvary surrounded by two thieves who have been crucified and on top of his head placed an inscription: “This is the king of the Jews” (V.38). This sounds like one of those stories which can be narrated to children to please their ego. But we know today we are being surrounded and we do travel in all means of transport with fear of car hijacking, robbery etc.



The point is not that we are being surrounded by these people but we have burdened ourselves we too much of our pride that we ignore people, don’t greet, no respect for neigbour that once we are robbed, raped, killed, and terrorized, we die in total silence because we know what will follow. Where were you going? Why where you showing off? Why was so and so dressed that way? We are crucifying ourselves amidst all these people we think are “thieves” “terrorists” “rapists” before they harm us. Why? Labelling! Labelling! Labelling!



We are all blind, perhaps unaware of the evil around us and we find ourselves being indifferent in fighting corruption, moral decay, and photocopy Christianity. We think someone else should do certain things. We are good listeners but poor doers. We are all crowded under the cross of crucified Christ and everybody is talking and nobody is listening to the other, like people in the market place.



Today we have people who for a little money sell out their head and conscience, ready to collaborate in the oppression of the poorer ones. We have crucified people and labeled on top of their graves nice words which are not sincere. Better to be buried and let people walk over you than having beautiful words which are simply inscribed to distract people. There are people suffering in our communities, families, offices, corporations and simply can’t talk for fear of being “finished”, like a lamb being taken to a slaughter house. Surely is this how God expects us to live?



Let us be clear: the process against those who killed Jesus will never be opened; the sentence will not be revised. Jesus has already passed his final sentence: he has absolved his executioners and has saved them in the most glorious moment of his life: when, on the cross, he manifested his love in the highest degree. Will the other people receive a different sentence? Can there be a sin that is stronger than, and can resist, the love of Christ?



We are ending YEAR C and the liturgical cycle of three years with the image of Jesus forgiving everybody. My dear readers, this Jesus does not think and reason like us: he does not judge, he does not condemn, he does not discriminate, he does not weigh good and evil with the scales, he does not put up barriers between the upright and the wicked; he loves the upright and the wicked in the same measure and does allow anybody to get lost.



Let us keep this well in mind: the thoughts of God are not our thoughts, his ways are not ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9). If by reading these reflections have made you understand that the heart of God is different, very different from ours, then, I am sure, all the labour gone into writing them is more than worthwhile. Keep going out into the whole world to announce and proclaim the great news: the love of Christ is greater than our sins.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

THE GOD OF THE LIVING, NOT OF THE DEAD



I-2Mac 7:1-2.9-14; Ps 16:1.5-6.8.15 II-2Thes 2:16-3:5. III- Gospel 10:27-38


“A Christian, like a candle, must keep cool and burn at the same time” - M.Rosell


For a Sound and Healthy Living

There is an African proverb concerned on true poverty: “Because of poverty, the poor man sleeps alone in the house” Poverty entails, among other things, lack of domestic animals which constitute an essential part of the bride-wealth. A man who cannot afford bride-wealth will remain unmarried thus spending his nights and life alone. The proverb envisages the destitute condition of solitude in order to stimulate the poor out of his state of poverty and to prevent other people from falling into it.

“The wrinkled old woman, fragile and alone in her hospital room, seen with compassion, is my teacher. She is living lesson pertaining to the aging process each one of us must undergo in our singularity. That old gentleman in the park evokes compassionate seeing. He teaches me through his benevolent smile that life becomes increasingly uncomplicated as we near death. For each of us it is reduced to essential things, what makes us most sad or most happy” (Susan Muto).


“The main themes of Eucharist and the main themes of life itself are one and the same. The Eucharist is not concerned with realm of holy and sacred while the main part of our lives is secular and profane. Jesus’ Eucharist was not something he did only n the night before he died. It represented and reflected his entire life of self-giving. How could the Church celebrate each day only a few hours of Jesus’ life if this were not bound up with the rest?” Eucharist is Jesus’ memorial, the way of keeping alive and allowing us to share in his whole life” (Paul Bernier).



PSALM 16: TEST ME AS BY FIRE?



RESPONSORIAL Satiabor, cum evigilavera, conspectus tuo, Domine

PSALM R/ Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full



Lord, to my just complaint give ear; do not spurn my cry for aid. Listen to this prayer of mine; they are treacherous lips that make it. At thy judgment seat I claim award; unerring thy scrutiny. Wilt thou read my heart, drawing near in the darkness to test me as if by fire, thou wilt find no treachery in me. Never have these lips been led astray by man’s evil example; still to thy law’s pattern thy warnings kept me true; still in thy paths my steps were firmly planted, my feet did not stumble.
IT WOULD BE WELL for me to attempt to say this prayer daily. Lord, I could not be sincere in it without turning quickly to another psalm, Psalm 50: “have mercy on me Lord, and wipe away my guilt.” Are our lips not treacherous? Are they not disloyal to You, and that after all my solemn promises? Are they not treacherous to my neighbor, my friends, my brethren? When I am out “entertaining my “friends” or “sympathizing” with the pals in my clique, can I then pray with David, “Lord, read my heart; thou wilt find no treachery in me”?

Lord we all fail many times a day, but nowhere as much in charity. Yet you called charity the bond of perfection, the Christian commandment. On the most solemn occasion of your life, on the very night you yourself up for my sake, you said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love than this no one has, that he lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:12, 13). Lord how often have I turned that great commandment around, and have laid down the reputations of my friends for my own selfish ends! By so doing, I could never again say with the psalmist, “Lord, to my just complaint give ear” For how can I have a just complaint against anyone-I, who have betrayed my friends, I who have indeed found treachery enough on my lips?”

But you know very well, Lord, that this truth will not come to life in me, and that I will go on fomenting hateful thoughts against my neigbour whenever he displeases me; I will go on making critical remarks, all most religiously justified. My small jealousies and mean envies will be soil out of which my “virtuous” concern over the failings of others will mushroom, and the fungi will spread to my “friends” who listen to me, and we will all rejoice in the penetrating critical minds that benign Providence has granted us, and we will soon “thank God” in the secret corners of our hearts “that we are not like the rest of men” it is so much easier to condemn evil than to do good.

Let me at least remember the publican You praised, who knew he was indeed “like the rest of men” and whose most critical remark was, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” And as I beg You to pardon my wrongs. I will remember Your warning that we are pardoned in accordance with the forgiveness and pity we have for our neighbor “Forgive us…as we forgive those…”


“Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle” – Chinese proverb

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY OF THE ORDINARY YEAR C



I- Ex 17:8-13, Ps 120:1-8, II- 2Tim 3:14-4:2, III- Luke 18:1-8.

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for, God knows best what is good for us”.
(Socrates).
Psalm 120
I lift up my eyes to the hills, to find deliverance; from the Lord deliverance comes to me, the Lord who made heaven and earth. Never will he who guards thee allow thy foot to stumble; never fall asleep at his post!

THIS IS A PRAYER of the suffering, a prayer that might well be directed at us by the enslaved peoples of our world who look, though they have looked vainly for years for deliverance.

We have looked, too, and vainly, for deliverance of our brethren from the godless tyranny that holds them in chains. We have “lifted up our eyes” to “the summit” where conferences were to bring peace to the world. We have found only treachery and greed and betrayal from those who understand “peace” in terms of subjugated, enslaved, beaten world, where dwell a race no longer human, where God is long ago forgotten.

We have learned from these failures, as we have learned for centuries that man without God will always fail. We have experienced many conferences of our own, with “important people” whose help we sought, whose promises we believed, conferences with employers, superiors, associates or friends. We have placed our confidence in these people, and later we were betrayed or forgotten. This was to teach us that there is no hope from man when God is not there.
Men of the age of “reason” and “enlightenment” who could so easily dispense with God, even when they believed in His existence, must have come at last to see how little reason and enlightenment there is in man, unless he fears God and keeps His commandments. To this summit we must always come, first and last; we have nothing to hope from any other. If God has departed, then justice, order, peace, reason, and humanity itself have departed. It’s the Lord who guards us, the Lord that stands at the right hand to give us shelter. The sun’s rays by day, the moon’s by night, shall have no power to hurt you. The Lord will guard us from all evil; the Lord will protect us in danger. The Lord will protect us journeying and our homecoming. Henceforth and forever (Psalm 120:5-8)

For a Sound and Healthy living

This parable of prayer is found in Luke alone. Luke begins by saying that Jesus told these parables stressing the necessity for his disciples to pray always without becoming weary. True prayer therefore is namely; the one that should never stop or be interrupted and keeping up a constant dialogue with the Lord.

To pray always does not simply mean to keep on repeating formulas and prayers, but it means never to take a decision without first speaking or consulting God. Three conditions, though, are required for such a prayer:
1. To experience one’s life- story as God’s word addressed to oneself.
2. To understand that God is really present in one’s life-story, past, present and future, as we read in Luke 15:31, as a free and undeserved gift of himself to us.
3. And finally to accept freely one’s life-story as the Word to us through Christ, as we read in Mt 28:20.

In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, “the Pharisee cannot understand that all good deeds put together cannot lay any claim to salvation. The text, therefore, invites believers to discover God as a loving Father and the tax collector as a brother. The Pharisee’s prayer is a perfect expression of a neurotic need for security that defends itself against other people (V.11b), human nature (V.12), and even God. (The African Bible, note on Luke 18:10-14)

“God who is everywhere never leaves us. Yes he seems sometimes to be present, sometimes absent. If we do not know him well, we do not realize that he may be more present to us when he is absent than when he is present. There are two absences of God. One is absence that condemns us, the other an absence that sanctifies, God empties the soul of every image that might stand between ourselves and him in mortal sin” (Thomas Merton)

“The worst thing that can happen in our modern society is for man to choose himself as his own idol-his body, his emotions, and his ideas. Then he has only himself to talk to. He is isolated. And that is what hell is” (Catalysts)


“If you pray for another, you will be helped yourself ” (Yiddish proverb)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY - Year C

THE MAN WHO NEVER NOTICED “And lying at his door was a poor man…”



“If you cannot have everything, make the best of everything you have” (Anon)



1st reading: Amos 6:1, 4-7

2nd reading 1Tim 6:11-16

Gospel Luke 16:19-31



“When you give something to the poor, you are not giving back to him what is his, since the goods of this earth belong to all, not just the rich” (St. Ambrose- a Bishop of the early Church).



Jesus wants to tell us that the existence of the classes of people, the rich and the poor, is against God’s plan. The goods of this world are for all and must be shared. Whoever has more must give it to the one who has less or nothing, so as to reach equality as much as possible. All must be able to live lives worthy of human beings.

The best definition of poverty which I have heard is this “The poor man is someone in whose home everyone feels at ease”. The poor man knows how to receive. Woe to the rich man: he cuts himself off from God… And he cuts himself off from his brothers because he ignores them. In the parable of Lazarus, what is the rich reproached for? What wrong did the rich man do? He did not see Lazarus! That was all.

“Voltaire said that there are four ways of wasting time: doing nothing, not doing what one ought to do, doing it badly and doing it at the wrong time”. Making music means playing each note at the right moment. There is not life without repression. We cannot be generous without repressing our egoism.

Many people I visit or whom I have the opportunity to meet in my pastoral keep on saying “we Africans are poor, but I keep asking them so what can we do?” Start to steal and be violent with the rich? No, never make the mistake of using violence: this will not solve problems; it will only cause new and worse ones.

The politicians and Christian communities must stand up and denounce to all the world, the injustices committed in their countries and the sufferings imposed on the poor of their country; protest with force, though avoiding violence. Each one of us has to undertake to change his “rich man’s heart” that he carries with him.

If we have a selfish heart, if we don’t have courage to share the little we have with the poorer ones, if we deprive our wife and children of the essential goods in order to satisfy our whims, if we hope one day to be powerful owners and have servants to order around, can we ever build a new world founded on the justice and equality wanted by God. The only source of a firm and sound faith is the world of God, the word that the rich of all times have always failed to understand. Is this word enough for our faith?

PSALM 145

Praise the Lord my soul; while life lasts, I will praise the Lord; of him, my God, shall my songs be while I am here to sing them.

Man made monotony

NOW WHAT could be more monotonous than that? Asks the modern listener- if he’s at all listening;

The real fear is not the fear of boredom or of a sugary mentality. Quite the contrary! He fears the very vigor of God’s demands, the pains of the Christian’s endless battle, and the strain of developing a Christ-like will power. He is like a boy who says he does not like football because it requires no skill, when really he inwardly fears getting hurt, or being humiliated by stronger and more skilful players.



People who are charitable, generous, patient, thoughtful of others, eager to work for Christ, such people have no time for sins. Nor do they have the selfishness that causes sin. To praise the Lord while life lasts, to make Him the subject of all their hopes this is a constant joy to them. They find endless work to be done in praise of God; every creature leads them to Him; every talent is spent for Him; they have no time for boredom.



“When money speaks, the truth is silent” – Russian proverb

Monday, September 13, 2010

Welcome To Understanding Your Faith
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time C
September ,19, 2010
Homilies for Sundays, Feast Days and Special Occasions Year C. HIS WORD LIVES ON IN OUR LIFE
1st reading: Amos 8:4-7
4.Listen to this, you that trample on the needy and try to destroy the poor of the country. 5 you say to yourselves, “we can hardly wait for the holy days to be over so that we can sell our grain. When will the Sabbath end, so that we can start selling again? Then we can overcharge, use false measures, and fix scales to cheat our customers. 6. We can sell worthless wheat at high price. We’ll find a poor man who can’t pay his debts, not even the price of a pair of sandals, and we’ll buy him as a slave”. 7. The LORD, the God of Israel, has sworn “I will never forget their evil deeds.”
2nd reading: 1 Tim 2:1-8


First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgiving be offered to God for all people; 2. for kings and all others who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence towards God and proper conduct. 3. This is good and it pleases God our Saviour, 4. who wants everyone to be saved and to come to know the truth. 5. For there is one God and mankind together, the man Christ Jesus. 6. Who gave himself to redeem all mankind. That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved, 7. and that is why I was sent as an as an apostle and teacher to the gentiles, proclaim the message of faith and truth. I am not lying; I am telling the truth! 8. In every church service I want the men to pray, men who are dedicated to God and can lift up their hands in prayer without anger or argument
1st reading: Amos 8:4-7
The question
Who can know God’s justice, or who can conceive what our LORD wants in our dealings?
The answer
4. For those who think that they can escape .
5. For the corruptible body burdens the soul, cheating can’t take you far.
6. And scarce do we guess the things on earth, and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty; but once we raise our hands to him, he will be able help us.
The question
Who ever knew Justice of the lord is never forgotten, except you who is called to be an ambassador of justice and peace.
1st reading: Amos 8:4-7
4 Who can know God's justice, or who can conceive what our LORD wants from us?
5 plotting for evil everyday in our deliberations, unsure are our plans.
6 commerce without morality, corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.
7 what will kill us once we are in this state of life is our conscience. It will become smooth and we become immoral and loose our minds to the power of the devil.

. CALL: INTERIOR RENEWAL
REFLECTION





The accumulation of vast wealth while so many are languishing in misery is a grave transgression of God’s law, with the consequence that the greedy, avaricious man is never at ease in his mind; he is in fact a most unhappy creature.
Pope John XXII
JESUS, FRIEND OF OUTCASTS
“If Jesus had been indicted in a modern court, he would have been examined by two doctors, found to be obsessed by delusion, declared to be incapable of pleading, and sent to an asylum…”
George Bernard Shaw



“He who suffers much will know much” – Greek proverb
Responsorial. Ps 112

R. (1) Laudate Dominum, qui erigit pauperem

Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.

Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! May the name of the Lord be blessed both now for evermore! (R)

High above all nations is the Lord, above the heavens his glory. Who is like the Lord, our God, who has risen on high to look down, to look down, to look down upon heaven and earth? (R)

From the dust he lifts up the lowly, from the dungheap he raises the poor to set him in the company of princes, yes, with the princes of his people (R)


Resp. Ps 112







R. (1) Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.
Reflections on the Psalm

He has gone out of himself entirely, has not merely stooped down to lift us from dust we lay in, but has been born and raised a poor child among the poor. Even after his public life, when after thirty hidden years of poverty, he had to tell the world who he was, he accepted no rewards, took no offers of glory, made no display of greatness. Like a vagabond he simply said I have not a place to lay my head. His home was the universe
2nd reading 1 Tim 2:1-8

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people; 2. for kings and all others who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence towards God and with proper conduct. 3. This is good and it pleases God our Saviour, 4. who wants everyone to be saved and to come to know the truth. 5. For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and mankind together, the man Christ Jesus. 6. who gave himself to redeem all mankind. That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved, 7. and that is why I was sent as an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles, to proclaim the message of faith and truth! In every church service I want the men to pray, men who are dedicated to God and can lift up their hands in prayer without anger or argument.
REFLECTION on the 2nd Reading

A GOOD VISITOR TO AN OFFICE STARTS WITH A POINT, STICKS TO THE POINT, KNOWS THAT AN OFFICE IS A PLACE OF WORK, WASTES NO TIME AND KNOWS WHEN TO LIVE.
Reflections on the 2nd reading
When we become Christians, we are to possess discipline in our prayer life. We should not be reporters or news TV anchors in our petitions
Christians are called to reflect, to be patient, to be humble, to be a sign, to others.
You cannot be a Christian if you consider your brother as a nobody, and, if you are not willing to be reconciled with him, don’t backbite.
Gospel reading: Luke 16:1-13,
Luke 16:1-13 RSV Luke 16:1 He also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 And he called him and said to him, `What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.' 3 And the steward said to himself, `What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.' 5 So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, `How much do you owe my master?' 6 He said, `A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, `Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' 7 Then he said to another, `And how much do you owe?' He said, `A hundred measures of wheat.' He said to him, `Take your bill, and write eighty.' 8 The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations. 10 "He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Gospel reading: Luke 16:1-13

In times like ours more so in most of our African countries. There is always the satanic temptation to identify holiness with prosperity. It has become an old habit of our rich nation to turn to the beatitudes inside out to assume that we must indeed be meek because we have inherited the land. Especially somebody else’s land. Yet we have assumed that because we are richest people in the world we are also the most righteous.
How to develop your sharing / homily

Share a person whom you consider a great teacher / master.
Why do you consider him/her your idol? (has qualities I can’t find in myself, in my family, etc. Has a lot of good ideas to share; has a pleasing personality, etc.)
How do you respond to him / her? (I read his/her books. I compile his/her works. I attend his conferences and seminars. I take notes, etc.)


Jesus is a great teacher and master. He has a lot of great things (wisdom, food for thought) to share with us.
Many are attracted to him because of his consoling words. He touches a lot of people. He heals all their wounds. He gives hope to the hopeless.
Now, to those who would like to follow him more, to get to know him more, he demands abandonment of families and friends and total dedication of themselves to him.

DISCIPLESHIP
Discipleship is not just learning some of Jesus’ teachings, but all of his teachings.
Discipleship is a life-time process and commitment.
Discipleship is journeying with Jesus up to the finish.
It finishes by undergoing the passion, death and resurrection with him.
Christ demands a total conversion and overhaul of our value system.
We should not withhold anything from him. Jesus wants a total commitment to him. We must be 100% sold out to him, otherwise, our being disciples is half-baked.




Christian discipleship is identification with Christ
who walked around teaching, healing and forgiving people.
who went around without relatives and friends, who can bog him down in his mission.
who appeared to people without baggage and paraphernalia.
who was totally free to do God’s will and not follow his own itinerary.


We translate the theme of discipleship in our parishes and communities
by allowing ourselves to be put into our proper places.
by sharing our particular charisma and God-given talents.
by willingly allowing ourselves to be hurt in the process.
Christian discipleship is not dictating what others should do, but discerning what Jesus wants us to do.

What kind of disciples are you?
Do you agree with Jesus’ radicalism?
Your discipleship depends how much you know and love Jesus.

THE EUCHARIST
The eucharist is a sacrament of perfect discipleship.
In the eucharist, we acknowledge that Christ is our Lord and master. We are just his followers.
In the eucharist, we affirm our commitment to journey with him, to share in his mission.

ANGER
“FOR EVERY MINUTE YOU ARE ANGRY YOU LOSE SIXTY SEONDS OF HAPPINESS”.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


GRACE COMBATING SIN

No commitment
Lazy to study
No wisdom (doesn’t learn from experience)
Imbecile
Faith without catechism
Too attached to material things and loved ones
Quits in the middle of work (or project)
Always seeking for comfort
Spoiled brat
Can’t make important decisions
Can’t follow anyone, anything

CHRISTIAN MATURITY
Making wise decisions
Good judgment
Prudent
Mature
Has word of honor
Ability to sacrifice
Radical discipleship
Makes calculated risks
Does not go away when the going gets rough
Finishes what he/she begins


THE POWER OF ATTRACTION
WE ARE ALL LIKE MAGNETS AND WE ATTRACT PEOPLE ACCORDING TO OUR ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.
WE HAVE TO LIVE IN ABUNDANCE THAT WHICH EMANATES FROM WITHIN AND THEN THROW IT OUT TO THE UNIVERSE AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF FOR HEALTHY WEALTH.
DON’T THINK WHAT YOU DON’T WANT
LIFE CAN BE VERY PHENOMENON ONCE YOU HAVE AN INNER FORCE OF ATTRACTION

COMPLAINING ABOUT WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE WILL ALWAYS COME BACK TO YOU. CHOOSE YOUR THOUGHTS VERY CAREFULLY. EVEN THINGS YOU ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT, YOU HAVE ATTRACTED THEM.
LISTENING TO PRAYER

“THE CORE OF ALL PRAYER IS INDEED LISTENING” Making All Things New
Praying is the first and foremost listening to Jesus who dwells in the very depth of your heart.
Life of prayer requires discipline
Listening, life of obedience, means listening obediently standing in the presence of God

LISTENING HEART
Discipline of the heart, we present to God only those parts of ourselves with which we feel relatively comfortable and which we think all evoke a positive response.
The still small voice- trust God
Discipline of community helps us to be silent together attentive to Jesus.

There are THREE sides of every argument or disagreement
YOUR SIDE
THEIR SIDE
And the TRUTH
LIFE OF A RIVER
ORIGIN
TRIBUTARIES
PEACEFUL FLOW
HIDDEN FLOW
DETOURS
OBSTACLES
DRY SPELL
STAGNATION
RAPIDS
DEEPENING AND WIDENING
DESTINATION
DEEPEST DESIRE
OCEAN
Suggested Songs
Follow Christ
Come Build My Church
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZugkzkgjDk
You are so Good
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spj_5sTiF5Y

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME YEAR C




First Reading (Sir 3:19-21, 30-31)

Second Reading (Heb 12:18-19, 22-24a)

Gospel (Luke 14:1, 7-14)



“An honest man does not make himself a dog for the sake of a bone” – Danish proverb



There are some among us who want only to see the Jesus who is praying not sitting at the table, attends feasts, jokes and simply being an ordinary person. The Jesus who appears to be human annoys some people.



Our God is a God who wants to be with us, who eats with us, shares our games, and likes to see us cheerful, serene, and full of joy.



When you are invited for a meal you need to slow your feet when taking your sitting position at table, its good manners to wait for the host to show you where to sit, you don’t take a seat randomly. In Israel hierarchies are to be respected also when taking meal, so places are fixed with great attention. The most important guest is asked to sit at the centre, with the honest next to him, and then all the others according to age. This is a normal rule, but there is always somebody, of course, who likes to come before another and so he tries to sneak past and take somebody else’s place higher up, closer to the centre.



Jesus smiles as he watches these manoeuvres and then decides to tell them the first parable (7-11). “Do not take seats at a place of honour during wedding feast…make your way to the lowest and sit there, so that when your host comes, he may say: my friend, move up higher. Then everyone with you at the table will see you honourerd”



Let there be clarity, the taking of the lowest seats was not said by Jesus and its not him who invented it, it was simply common among the Israelites and it was a common saying got from the book of ( proverb 25:6-7) but is new is the content, the teaching. Jesus has no intention of teaching tricks to his disciples and never manifested any kind of interest for their success.



The question is why does Jesus quote this proverb? To his disciples to take always the last place, but not to be praised by people, obviously but to be acknowledged great in the sight of God. The most important person in the Christian community, family is the last one, the one that serves all the others.



Jesus knows that this cancer is present in most Christian communities and he is telling his disciples very clearly to avoid fights over positions. This is very common in most of our Christian communities especially whenever there is an Episcopal visitation; there is always this debate of who will sit with the bishop? All sorts of drama, bickering and inn house passive fights. Surely how can this happen in a Christian community?



It’s quite rare to find somebody who helps a stranger. Jesus recommends helping those who cannot repay or give anything in exchange. Why? So that we may get the reward from heaven





“It’s a fine thing to be honest but it is also very important to be right” – Winston Churchill

Thursday, August 19, 2010

21st Sunday of Year C: OPEN BUT NARROW



Readings: Isaiah 66:18-21; Heb 12:5-7, 11-13; Luke 13:22-30

Theme: Going to heaven requires deep self-discipline of prayer and self-evaluation (METANNOIA)

“A Christian like a candle, must keep cool and burn at the same time” – M. Rosell

Everyone wants to go to heaven but strangely enough we fear to die. Death is a common factor which each of us have in common, if we knew this at the bottom of our hearts and souls, pride would not be part of our daily vocabulary language, and behavior.

Christ is coming to gather the nations of every of every language (Isaiah 66:18). But who will actually enter, will your tribe be there and which tribe will claim the victory of torch bearer of salvation. The disciples asked Jesus the question and he was not prepared to answer. If it was you which answer would you give to such a question and what do you think Jesus will tell you? (Luke 13:23).

There is no favouritism in the Kingdom of God. It’s not like world cup inauguration or finals where the telescopic lens zooms in on the VIP section. It selects people for reasons of power, prestige, office and privilege, whose prime seats are especially reserved for them, whenever they choose to arrive. Such things my brother and sisters don’t exist in God’s kingdom. “People will enter from the east and west, from the north and south” (Luke 13:29), from the black and the white, from the rich and the poor.

None of us is sure who will enter eternal life, Jesus has given as some guides, of course he is not like the guide who says, “Well, I don’t know for sure, but I have my suspicion”. Jesus is definite about his guidance. He says that the “door to eternal life is narrow” (Luke 13:24); those who struggle and suffer for the sake of truth, justice and love will enter into it; “endure trials as the discipline of God” (Heb 12:11). The word ‘discipline’ frightens away people these days, though out of the word ‘discipline’ comes the word ‘disciple’. Discipline has power to transform trials into triumphs, pains into peace, like the modern personal Air Cooler does with the heat. Unlike the conventional fans, which only redistribute warm air, the personal Air Cooler reduces the temperature of the air and gently blows this cooled refreshing air in your direction. So does discipline.

There are some of us who are good in mathematical formulae will calculate the many masses attended, number of confessions made, number of anointing one has received and many other devotional groups attended and calling themselves the “insiders”, may be disappointed. The poor may step ahead of the rich, the simple surpass the clever and sinners outshine the pious. That is Christ’s warning. Those who heed the warning are safe. Those who do not may face the kind of fate Alison Hargreaves the British mountaineer who was warned against going further than a given point by Pakistani army officer for it would be suicidal, but she did not listen. The result was that she died on the mountain; what appeared to be a safe mountain, suddenly turned, as she had been warned, into a raging holocaust of swirling snow and wind.


“God is not a cosmic bell-boy for whom we can press a button to get things”. Harry Emerson Fosdick

Thursday, August 12, 2010

TWENTIETH SUNDAY YEAR C


First Reading Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10

Second Reading Heb 12:1-4

Gospel Luke 12:49-57



“As regards the will of God, even if some take scandal, we must not let this hamper our freedom of action”. – St. Basil



What is the “fire” that Jesus has come to bring on earth (49)? What “baptism” is he to receive (50)? Why does he say that he has not come to bring peace (51)? What are the “signs of the time” that the hypocrites are unable to interpret (56)? What has all this to do with the parable explaining the need to avoid going to the magistrate (58-59)? We shall divide our gospel this Sunday into four parts, so that we may better understand these images and similes that appear rather harsh.



1. First Part (vv 49-50)



God’s faithfulness is always there “ab initio” (Gen 9:11). This Sunday we would like to pose for a moment and ask ourselves, what fire is Jesus talking about? Is it this fire of hell imaginary fire which our small minds have grown to think about, where the wicked of this world will be burnt to ashes? Relax and now change your attitude, if Jesus had come to bring the fire of condemnation for sinners, then I can’t see how to his message could be called a message of salvation, “gospel”, “good news”. It’s a high time we re-thought and re-read our catechism.



The world is full of injustice, violence, tyranny, people living at the time of Jesus though that it was necessary to have one such purifying “fire” to clear the world of all evil. Today we expect a kind of “flood of fire” to clear away the old world and prepare the birth of new one. The problem is that instead of working on the ideals we are so much focused on persons that we just feel fire should come down on our enemies. No! That is not a Christian thought but a wicked thought.



What exactly the mission of our homes, families and communities? It’s the mission of carrying on the task of the “bushfire” of Christ, so that it can penetrate in every person, family and situation, well aware that all this also for us, as for our Master, will take place through suffering. But that suffering should not come out as a result or consequences of our stupidity in the way we practice our Christianity of “photocopy” type but suffering with Christ and walking with him.



2. Second part (vv 51-53)



We are all longing for that peace but we are all divided into two and our inner peace is absent and we have completely violated our boundaries in that search. How can you search for peace if your family, wife, husband, neighbours are living in fear or you have simply become a terrorist in your own home?



The messiah is supposed to be a prince of peace… and this peace has no end (Isaiah 9:5-6; 1:6-9). He is a peace between us. Never cause fire in your life if you have no water to quench it, don’t raise dust where there is no dust, simple learn to involve people in dialogue. Don’t be a mister or miss fix it all the time, live and learn. At times it takes years for a student to be known as a student to be known as Christian at university (unless he goes around with a rosary beads around his/her neck and with the scent of innocence!) why so?



3. Third part (vv 54-57)



When you are a farmer you realize that weather plays a big role in whatever you what to plant and that will determine the type of yield you want to get, lest you risk to your seeds burnt up by the sun. Most of us have lost truck of even reading the sign of times we completely store nil. We have entered into the world of “everybody says YES why can’t I say YES?” we have become too cheap that today to get someone who can be engaged for five minutes serious discuss is by luck. People have become so emotional that reason remained in their academic transcripts.



4. Fourth (vv 58-59)



The gospel completes with a parable. Many of us have wronged our neighbours to the bone marrow that we have even deleted them from our life. People are moving and we see them walk but they have been killed long ago. Today to get a genuine laughter, smile, and a hand shake is rare, why? Too much worry in the heart. Why should I give you a smile, laughter do you clothe me, pay my rent pay my bus fare? People walk-talk, the mind is running faster than even a computer. Soon people will be knocked down by cars due to colour blindness (traffic lights reversed due to lack of peace of mind-stress, depression, and anxiety).



But there is hope (Matt 11:5), and yet there are people who couldn’t care less. They will be caught unprepared.



Are our communities alert to the sign of times or are they “hypocrites?” what are the signs of a new world that we notice today?





“If God willed it, brooms would shoot” – Jewish proverb

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

19th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

FAITH ON ALERT
“A faint faith is better than a heresy” – St. Thomas Moore
Readings: Wisdom 18:6-9, Heb 11:1-2, 8-19, Luke 12:32-48
Theme: To be a serious follower of Christ, which requires the reordering of one’s values and relationships, we need the grace of God to aid our human efforts.
A true disciple is not one who wastes his time in trying to investigate about the time or place for the Lord’s coming. But he is one who in prayer and commitment, patiently waits in a sense of responsibility and fidelity. The Lord waits at his appropriate time to bring us salvation. We must be ready to receive him that his coming is not useless.
We have a habit of dividing life into compartments. There is a part in which we remember that God is present; and there is a part in which we never think of him at all.
We tend to draw the line between sacred and secular; but if we really know what Christianity means we will know that there is no part of life where the master is away. We are working and living forever in our great task-master’s eyes.
There more you forget yourself by giving yourself to a cause to serve or another person to love, the more human you are, the more you actualize yourself. So we can discover ourselves in three different ways:
1. By creating a work or doing a deed
2. By experiencing something or encouraging someone
3. By the attitude we take towards unavoidable suffering
For God, success does not consist in producing and producing much as our consumeristic society tends to suggest today, but in readiness to be involved and thus doing our own share.

“Faith sees by the ears” – English saying

Friday, July 30, 2010

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

LOVE IN A TIME OF OPPOSITION



How do you stay positive, preach hope and remain loving and big hearted in the face of position, misunderstanding, hostility and hatred? Jesus lived this and perhaps the greatest personal and moral challenge to us who try to follow him. How do you remain loving in the face of hatred? How do you remain empathic in the face of misunderstanding? How do you continue to be warm and gracious in the face of hostility? How do you love your enemies when they want to kill you?

Virtually every instinct inside us works against us here. Our natural instincts are mostly self protective, paranoid even, antithetic to self-abnegation and forgiveness. Our innate sense of justice demands an eye for an eye, a giving back in kind, hatred for hatred, distrust, murder for murder. And this isn’t just time for the big things, or struggle to remain loving even in the face of irritation.

But how do we handle opposition, misunderstanding, hostility and hatred?

Sometimes our response is paralysis. We get so intimidated by opposition, misunderstanding and hatred that we retreat and go underground. We retain our ideals but no longer practice them in the presence of those who oppose us. We continue to speak love and understanding, but not to our enemies (whom we don’t exactly hate, but whom we now stay away from).

Sometimes our response is the exact opposite; namely, in the face of opposition we develop a skin that so thick that we don’t need to care about what others think of us: let them think whatever they want! They can like it or lump it! The problem with the thick skin is that our capacity to saying right words and doing the right actions is partially based upon a certain blindness and insensitivity. In our mind, we don’t have a problem. Others do.

The insensitivity sometimes takes a more subtle from, condescension. When we believe that we are big-hearted enough to love those who oppose and hate us, even s our empathy and love are predicated in a certain elitism, namely, on the feeling that we are so morally and religiously superior to those who hate us that we can love them in their ignorance: poor, ignorant people! If they know better! This is not love but a superiority-complex masquerading as empathy and concern. That is not how Jesus treated those who hated him.

How did he treat them? In the face of hatred and being put to death by his enemies, Jesus was not intimidated, nor did he become thick-skinned or condescending. What did he do? He rooted himself more deeply in his own deepest identity and inside of that, he found the power to continue to be warmed hearted, loving and forgiving in the face of hatred and murder. How?

As Jesus was being persecuted, he prayed; “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” Karl Rahner, commenting on this, a stutely points out that, in fact, his executioners did not know what they were doing! They knew they were acting in ignorance.

Their ignorance as Karl Rahner points out lay at a deeper level: They were ignorant of how much they were loved, whereas Jesus was not. That inner state of Jesus at the last supper, they say: Jesus knowing that he had come from God and that he was going back to God and therefore all things were possible for him, got up from the table and took of his outer robe.

Jesus was capable of continuing to love and forgive in the face of hatred and murder because at the very heart of his self-awareness, lay an awareness of who was God’s son, and how much he was loved. He wasn’t thick-skinned or elist, just in touch with who he was and how he was loved.

From that source he drew his energy and his power to forgive. We too have access to that same powerful spring of energy. Like Jesus, we too are God’s children and are loved that deeply. Like Jesus, we too can be that forgiving.

Very few things are needed today, in both in the society and church, than this capacity for understanding and forgiveness, especially in our ultimate social, political, ecclesial, moral, religious and human challenge. Sometimes Church people try to single out the one particular moral issue as the litmus test to whether or not someone is a true follower of Jesus. If there is to be litmus test, let it be this one: can you continue to love those who misunderstand you, oppose you, hostile to you, who hate you, and who threaten you without being paralyzed, calloused or condescending.

Monday, July 26, 2010

EIGHTEEN SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME: YEAR C


First Reading (Qo 1:2; 2:21-23)
Second reading (Col 3:1-5, 9-11)
Gospel Luke (12:13-21)

APOLOGY FOR THE PAST MISSED REFLECTIONS!!!!!
“If you cannot have everything, make the best of everything you have” (Anon)
In spite of occasional quarrels, members of the same family normally live in harmony and peace. Till when? Until the day they are called to share out the inheritance. In front of money and goods even the best people lose their heads and become deaf and blind: they only see their personal interest, do not listen to any reason but the reasons of greediness and are ready to trample even the most sacred of feelings. With the help of some wise friends the parties may find a reasonable solution, but at times hatred drags on for years and the once peaceful and friendly brothers and sisters may end up not speaking to each other anymore.
Jesus was one day invited to act as mediator to solve a family contest (V.13). Well such cases we never fail to put a good word, but the master’s reply is instead very surprising: “my friend, who appointed me your judge or arbitrator of your claims?”(V.14).
Why doesn’t Jesus intervene in this family issue? Does he feel the problem as a sign of imposing the tyranny and imposing of the stronger parties? But this is not true because it would be contrary to the gospel message. But let us understand this.
There has been a sign where one is clearly committing an injustice while the other party is victim to it. But the question is what must be done? Avoid the discussion? Find excuse to pull out? Refer the whole problem to the current legislation? Everybody knows what has been laid down in Deut 21:15-15 and Num 27:1-11; what is called on is simply to listen to the parties, using a bit of common sense and applying the norms to the concrete case. This is how we probably ought to go about the serious drawbacks, it does not remove the root of the problem, and it does not wipe out the causes that produce discord, hatred and injustice.
Jesus decides to go straight to the root of the problem, rather than trying to solve a single case. “Watch and be on your guard”, he says, “against avarice of any kind, for life does not consist in possessions, even when one has more than needs” (V.15).
Here is then the cause of evil: greed for money. These dissensions, Jesus says, come always when the goods of this world are not used for humanity, but worshipped like gods, when their accumulation fills all thoughts and energies.
It should not mean that Jesus despite material goods, but is showing his detachment from this world and the superiority of his plans and proposals. He is very much interested in a different inheritance, but the kingdom of God that will be inherited by the poor (Mt 5:3), and by those who will spend their lives to serve the brothers and sisters. (Mt 25:34).
All causes of war, discords, problems of inheritance will disappear only when all energies of mankind will go to increase not “mine” or the “yours” but “ours”. As the saying goes “Africa is not poor but poorly managed” we have all African leaders meeting in Kampala this week but whom can we call a true African leaders except all grabbers and greedy leader, and war mongers. It may sound harsh but it calls for styling up. Take care of your country and God will take care of you. This is what we need African leaders to know. If you are corrupt stop being corrupt. Our man to be our man even when he is naked, we still call him our man. Someone should tell him or her that please you are naked.

“Spend less than you earn and you’ll never be in debt” (Yiddish proverb)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME: YEAR C



“If your language is of shouting then better use sign language” – Lib MSO



First Reading 1 King 19:16b, 19-21

Second Reading Gal 5:1, 13-18

Gospel Luke 9:51-62



Supposing I asked you let us go. What would be your next words to utter? “Where to?”

Last Sunday Jesus was giving a foretaste of what is to happen to him, but before he releases his bomb shell, he had first to ask them, what do people say he is, and above all who they, themselves say about him.

Jesus takes the decision and sets out. Most of us would prefer to give reasons and all sorts of rotating around in the room wasting time, looking for nothing but simply causing delays. Think of a time when your husband, wife, dad, sister, brother is the one to drive you to church on Sunday, who is always the last to come out of the house, room. This Sunday give a thought about this person who is always delaying the rest. (late comers, dragging of feet, no commitments in life).

They behave like pagans, they prefer to attend feasts rather than catechism lessons or meetings, and they are dishonest. If they are public employees they are easily bribed and so it goes, quite the opposite of “hard countenance”.

Jesus sends his disciples ahead of him (Samaria) but the inhabitants refuse to give them hospitality. James and John then ask the Master. “Lord do you want us to call down the fire from heaven to burn them up?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them for their foolish proposal (52-56). They had to “harden their countenance” all right, but with themselves, not against the others. They remembered how Prophet Elijah had fire rain down from heaven on the wicked of his time (2Kg 1:10) and are convinced they must do the same thing to all who oppose the spreading of the gospel. Even the Baptist, after all, threatened the fire from heaven (Luke 3:9, 17).

Jesus reply is quite clear: the time for aggressiveness and fanaticism is over. The only fire that is his disciples can make use of is that of the Holy Spirit which transforms the heart of people. This is the fire that Jesus has come to bring on earth (Luke 12:49), the fire that will come down on earth on Pentecost day.

We should never let it out of our minds not reacting with a spirit of revenge, with harsh words, but always and only with love. If someone attacks you with lies, deceit and violence, you need to respond with blessings of God on the attackers. Because of their fighting attitude, the brothers James and John were nicknamed “sons of thunder” (Mk 3:17). I think we still have many “sons of thunder” in our communities. Some may be convinced that good manners and good behavior will take us nowhere, and so they “thunder” mercilessly against the wicked, the evil-doers and sinners.

We cannot behave like this once we call ourselves Christians. We have to be modeled on respect and tolerance towards those who hold opinions different from ours. We should not force anybody to accept the gospel. We proclaim the message of Christ, but should let people free to welcome it or to reject it and we should remain friends of those who choose to act contrary to what they propose.

We all want to follow Jesus but there are many things which cloud our eyes. We give all sorts of reasons like saying good bye to our beloved, parents etc. If you are travelling out of the country, how many people do you see or visit? (Mt 9:9-13) attended the farewell feast of Matthew to his family and friends.

This is what he wanted to tell us: the mission entrusted to his disciples is much more important and urgent than the one entrusted to Elisha. Time is precious and no instant should be lost. It’s like a sick person who is eagerly waiting for the medicine that will cure him: he would not want the bearer to be delayed by stopping to talk to people he encounters along the way, even if they were his parents.

Don’t we in our communities, families, lose much time on idle questions and other trifling problems while the world urgently needs our proclamation?

Monday, June 21, 2010

SOME MEANS OF HEALTH



- You are unique through your inner self, God and others

- God invites you to face yourself and recognize your inner capacities and your fragmentation.

- Love and appreciate yourself even though you might be terribly wounded

- Your heart is never fully satisfied by being self absorption

- Reflect on experiences, listen to your silent steps of God, learn and desire to lead you to greater communication with God, and others.

- If you take one step towards God, he takes two steps towards you to heal you. He is compassion and love

- A surgeon can cut your body, but cannot order the wound to heal. Your readiness to cooperate with medicines accelerates the healing process

WHAT NEEDS HEALING?

· Childhood: - stressful pregnancy, painful experiences of childhood, trauma, physical and verbal abuse, violence, neglect, these wounds need healing.

· Broken heart: - love life disrupted, dreams and hopes shuttered, love betrayed, you are suffering silently.

· Guilt: - taken wrong turns, made wrong decisions, and choices, you feel guilty, regret your mistakes, and blame others and yourself.

· Loss: - loss of a loved one can be most devastating, something within you dies and you can’t or do not want to love anymore. Grief humbles you until you heal.

· Unfulfilled dreams: - many years trying to pursue a vocation, goal, and not yet reached. The dream has remained only a dream. Disillusioned, devastated you need healing and help.

Healing is a complex matter, you may meet an excellent healer, but healing has to start from within yourself. (Physical, mentally, emotionally, spiritually)

+ learn to love yourself and enjoy inner peace and calm

+ acknowledge your pain, discover the causes; and choose to integrate the fragmented pieces. It’s a choice, not a chance that determines healing.

+ forgive yourself and others. Vengeance poisons your body, mind and spirit. Forgive the perpetrators and your own self, let God work through you and for you.

Sicknesses are hurdles on your journey of life. The secret of healing is communion. God can’t be sick. He heals you. He holds your fragmented self together and heals. Illness is the result of interference with healing activity. Healing is nothing but a harmonious integration of every part of you. The secret of health is communion with the cosmic healer.



HEALING PRESENCE

When you connect to the source of all healing, you heal. The more you dispose yourself to accept his healing presence the quicker the healing. God doesn’t impose himself on you. He asks, “What can I do for you?”



See God at work in nature, the song of the bird, laughter of children, in the music you hear, carvings, paintings of artist, intelligence of scientists.



God is in the person who disagrees with you, in the so-called ugly things of life. Look for God everywhere, because he is omnipresent. He is even present in disease. You need to acknowledge his presence. When you ask him, he heals.



IMAGINATION

Imagination works in different levels. What you imagine influences you. Undisciplined and negative imagination vitiates your energy. Imagination can be a tool for healing, growth, relaxation and creative life.

Jesus can enable you to forgive others and he forgave from the the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”



HEALING IS POSSIBLE

God heals and saves. He heals in spite of physical and mental conditions. You are in constant presence in divine presence that heals. Love is not selfish. Love is the intense desire for well-being of the other person. The source of this love is God himself. This love flows in you and through you to others in order to heal, to reconcile and bring about harmony and peace.



HEALING PRESENCE

Getting into God’s way and allowing the eternal good to flow into your life. Psalm 60:1 “Be still and know the Lord”, God s as approachable as our electric supply. You only need to plug in for connection and communion. You need to choose consciously to collaborate with God.

You have self-awareness, reason and the power of choice; you can use these faculties or let them lie dormant and under-developed. You and you alone are responsible for reaching safe harbour.

Your stubborn refusal to receive healing is a disease. Your fear, anger and sadness cause diseases.



RELAX

Become aware of your body. Attend to each part of your body from your head downwards. As you travel down your whole body, notice if there is tension at any place. Make a note of it in your mind and proceed further downwards. After this scan of the whole body, come to the tensed parts of your body. Be compassionate to each such part. Make it a little tenser and then relax it. Repeat the process of tensing and relaxing until the tension disappear.



MUSIC

David played on the harp when Saul was troubled, music heals. Classic music, sit on a sofa and imagine you dancing to the tune. After a few minutes, get up and begin to sway gently to the rhythm of the soft music. Let go in a relaxed way.



FANTASY

Relax and be rejuvenated, you can use it for healing.

Beach: - sitting watching blue sky and gentle waves. Listen to the waves and gentle breeze. Think about your nagging anxiety, bundle the worries in a neat box, place it in a small boat. Let the waves take it far into the sea.



DIALOGUE

Writing, empty chair therapy, can resolve many problems. Imagine Christ seated or standing in front of you. Recall your painful experience. Narrate it and tell him your hurt feelings. Imagine him listening to you compassionately. Have an imaginary dialogue with him and request him to heal your body, mind and heart.

INNER DIALOGUE

In the depths of yourself. Two opposing sides of yourself. Struggles, repressions, conflicts, inner tensions.



WRITING A LETTER

- Pain and anger need full expression in words to let out the poison from your system.

- Recall any painful incident in your past. Take a few sheets of paper. Write a letter to your close friend or to Jesus. Narrate the whole incident, your feelings and your thoughts. Be quite open. Share all you feel. Read the letter aloud to yourself. If you want to add something more, feel free to do so. Place the letter at the foot of a crucifix. Imagine Jesus reading the reading the letter, wait in silence and listen to Jesus when you are calm and peaceful, destroy the letter.

COMPASSIONATE TOUCH

Is touch physical? It goes beyond the physical, emotional/spiritual. Children instinctively seek physical contact whenever disturbed or happy. As we grow we discover that touching embarrasses us because we start associating sexuality with it.



Your body is a biography. Your body contains your experience it has stored the past in specific places within itself. The health of your body, mind and spirit depends on you.

The name Jesus means “Yhwh heals”



Sit erect; be aware of your body. Begin from the top of your head. Feel the sensation on your forehead. Become aware of your eye brows and eyes. Slowly go down, becoming aware of each part of your body, shoulders, chest, arms, elbows hands, fingers, upper back, lower back, stomach, abdomen, thighs, knees, calves, ankles and feet. Become aware of your body as a whole. Be still in that awareness for a while.



Become aware of your breathing. Let your every exhalation be a cry for healing. Ask Jesus to heal you. Repeat this name with love and with faith in his healing power. Live in the compassionate presence of Jesus and be healed in your body, mind and spirit.

Finally thank Jesus for beginning the process of healing in you and be grateful to your body for its cooperation in the healing. Gently open your eyes.



Touch is vital to us. Hugging and a good sharing can lw away the blues. Hugging releases a hormone (oxytocin) which arouses a caring response in us. To touch is therapeutic. Hug a grief stricken person and you do not have to say a thing. You hug conveys it all. Embrace make you feel better.

- Close your eyes and think of your most peaceful and healing moments. What comes to your mind? It is either your mother’s hands on you, or the arms of your loved one around you. Recall the moment, relieve it and relish it.

FREEDOM OF CHOICE

Do you think that others make you angry or sad? You blame them for it. Blaming is an escape from taking responsibility. If you react to persons, you are acting like a robot. You have self-awareness, imagination, conscience and an independent will. They create a gap between your reaction and your response. They make you an adult.



MATURE RESPONSE

You are not a baby. People expect you to be reasonable and responsible for your life. Your words and actions show what you are.



MEDITATION

Quietening the senses helps in letting go of what disperses and divides our attention. It frees our energy and increases our openness to life itself and to the divides.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TWELFTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME: YEAR C





First Reading zach 12:10-11

Second Reading Gal 3:26-29

Luke 9:18-24



“PREJUDICE IS THE CHILD OF IGNORANCE” – Dennis Diderot



This Sunday comes as a reminder of that longing for a liberator, freedom fighter to rescue us from this whole menace of constitutional crisis. Like the Jews who found themselves under the political domination of the Romans and anxiously waiting for the messiah to free them. This is how they prayed “Lord, send the son of David to reign over Israel. Give him power and strength to overcome the powerful and unjust dominators and to free Jerusalem from the pagans. May he wipe out all evil pagans with a word of his mouth; may the pagans be crushed at his sight”. This might be somebody’s prayer somewhere, somehow. With what is happening around us, we have this whole life experience put to the test before August 4th 2010 (the referendum).

Verses 18-19 of the Gospel of Luke starts by showing Jesus in prayer. Jesus before doing anything, he had to pray first. The question Jesus puts across to his apostles is quite disturbing: “who do the crowds say I am?” For some he is John the Baptist raised from the dead, for others, Elijah and for others still, one of the great people who, according to the teachings of the rabbis, were to appear before the coming of the Messiah. All sorts of everything about something yet not exactly to the point.

Today, we also find ourselves on that road. Everybody claims to brand Jesus according to what she or he knows. This can be seen in the way people are trying to interpret the constitution. Surely who do people think they are? We want to fix things because we know that we know yet we are simply ignorant. We are having politicians who are lording over the nation, the experts who command powerful armies in their created camps, owners of immerse capital, who condition country life with their money.

Verse 20-21 has another answer: “who do you say I am” Peter speaks out as ever as a spokesman for all. “The Christ of God” Jesus does not deny it, and gives them strict orders not to say this out to anyone. Why? The reason is simple: The words of Peter are exact, but the meaning he gives to them is wrong. Jesus knows Peter and his tongue.

How many Christians are there today who behave like twelve apostles: they repeat the words of the creed without a mistake, but they harbor in their heads ideas that are anything but evangelical! How many of us are still convinced to this day that Jesus will one day overwhelm the wicked, and will punish them for all their wrongdoing, showing them who really the master of right and wrong is or how many still think that to be disciples means that one day they will be more successful than others in life!

These are false hopes, secret dreams of glory that could never become a reality. The messiah is he who is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by elders and chief priests and scribes to death, and to be raised up n the third day. There are Christians; priests who are making Christ suffer grievously during this constitutional crisis. The Church says NO! but the heretics saying YES! This is a result of photocopy catechetics. These words are very upsetting: it’s not triumph that they keep on moving on, but to humiliate, defeat the church. How can the church take such absurd course, they say? Nonsense, our God is a God of life; they (Heretics) are not authors of life. But the Jesus of Nazareth has shown that he is capable of transforming the greatest human crime into masterpiece of love.

Verses 23-24 Luke calls us to be disciples of all seasons. To follow Christ does not mean everything will be smooth. But you are called upon to renounce yourself and take up your cross and follow Him. Don’t fear or be afraid to be shy of your faith, doctrine, authority, magisterium and tradition of the Church. You are the Church. Keep the faith alive.

In today’s gospel Jesus is assuring us that this is the only way to produce fruits that will never go bad and that will last for eternity. And to convince us, he is the first to give up his life to show us the real and concrete contents of love.



“NO PHYSICIAN CAN CURE THE BLIND IN THE MIND” – Jewish Proverb

DISCERNING THE TRUTH



Many of us today tend to be intimidated by any kind of knowledge that makes scientific claims like Steadman. Synovate etc. Who dares argue with science? Who dares argue with an expert? Very few and those who do are easily dismissed as backward or ignorant.

And so inside of our lives, objectified expertise generally trumps moral insight or worse still, is simplistically identified with it. Truth is truth, science has truth, and science trumps our moral concerns (which can be made to appear parochial and fear-based in the face of scientific claims). This is the idea is prevalent that we should listen to the scientific experts when it comes to discerning the truth.

But is it really that simple? And who really are the experts? What makes one an expert? A post graduate degree? Being a mother who’s raising her family well? Being a respected teacher? Living a good life? Being steady and faithful? There are various kinds of experts.

Moreover there are also issues of personal integrity and how this relates to “expertise” what is to be said for the truth of someone who produces scientific insight but who leads an unhealthy life? Does man or woman’s personal life affect his or her research and professional expertise?

Many great thinkers, philosophers, theologians and even scientists, would say that it does. Truth can never be divorced from moral insight since truth and morality are really one at their base. Hence personal integrity or lack of it in any researcher or scholar in some way does colour his or her expertise, however imperceptible this might be on the surface. How?

Aristotle, for example, had a concept he called phronesis which taught that it is impossible to separate the teaching of truth from the practice of virtue. For Aristotle genuine knowledge, the type that ultimately makes you a better human being, could not issue forth from someone who intellectual theory and personal moral life were radically out of sync.

Albert Einstein, in effect said that it is impossible to do research that doesn’t include a lot of me-search, who we are and what perspective we have on reality will always help determine how we see the world and articulate any theory about it. And who we are and our perspective on reality is always partly shaped and deeply coloured by our own moral lives. Our moral lives deeply influence our research because they help shape our eye sight.

The medieval mystics Hugo of St. Victor, had an axiom for this. Love is the eye! For him, our eyesight is largely shaped by either the love or bitterness that is inside of us at any moment. When I look at the world with love, I see it one way; when I look at the world with bitterness, I see it another way. That is also time for every researcher. Granted mathematics is beyond emotion, but the realities to which we apply to it.

And so what is the lesson?

Our task is not to become defensive about the findings of the various professional academies, to stop studying.

First and foremost, honour the findings of genuine science and research, even if you aren’t always enthralled about their source. All truth has one author, God. God is the source of the Bible and God is also the source of science and its findings. Accept truth in all its guises, but be less intimidated by the teachings of those experts who claim scientific objectivity without acknowledging their own limits, hidden judgments, biases, particularly when their truth touches questions of health, meaning, morality and happiness.

A good research admits elements of me-search, is humble about the truth. When you are looking for stars by which to guide your life scan the heavens widely. Don’t lock-in on one narrow corner. There are many stars, each with its own particular expertise in giving off light.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

ELEVENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

FIRST READING (2 Sam 12:7-10, 13)

SECOND READING (Gal 2:16, 19-21)

GOSPEL (Luke 7:36-8:3)

Quarrels and bitterness are never pleasant things to see or watch, especially those that break out during meal times in the family. When People come together, they are united to pass time in joyous company, not to take part in stormy discussions and altercations, or listen to insults and see people coming to blows.

Among the Jews, whenever they had a celebration their invitations were done quite carefully, that they don’t invite rough, rude, and disturbing visitors. Have you ever thought of why you are often invited to a celebration? It’s because you are good mannered, not quarrelsome, you know the culture and what people expect from you.

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus is sitting at the table taking his meal. He enters everybody’s house without distinction and accepts invitations from poor and rich alike, from the healthy or the sick, without bothering about the rigorous rules on purity laid down by spiritual leaders of his people. We see him in a house of a Pharisee, a high class place. Only honest and reliable people have been invited along with him. It is no place where you can expect to hear rude words or improper talk.

Why was Jesus invited? The Pharisees saw him as great Master and wanted to listen to his wise teachings. On Saturday particularly, on leaving the synagogue, all try to have as a guest the person who gives new ideas so as to have the opportunity to put questions and discuss the contents of explanation of the issues at hand. The Pharisees could have invited him to tell him not to associate with people who are ill-famed, or to get him closely to their circle. How many times have we thought that we can pocket a priest?

From nowhere a woman comes in. A woman whom everyone knew had loose morals; she is coming in to spoil the feast. She looks around, in her hand carrying a jar of perfume, goes to straight to Jesus and bends low, weeping, tears flowing down her cheeks to the feet of Jesus. This can be the best selling story in our media houses for weeks. (verse 36-39).

This woman knew Jesus very well. Jesus often accepted invitations from sinners. (7:34; 15:2). This woman in one occasion should have seen Jesus on one of these occasions. The smile and glance of a young Galilean Master must have struck this woman. What a pleasant and nice man! Jesus takes defense of those who have gone wrong in life, even to the point of stating that they were even better than those who pretended to be “just” (Matt 21:31).

As I write this homily I have a picture in mind of Koinage street which connects Holy Family Basilica. This street is a “red light” zone. Don’t ask me why its near Holy Family Basilica, may be for better evangelization to our men and women who may be Catholics, who knows. I think these forgotten people in our society need the gospel which suits them, may be!!!

Supposing a prostitute goes to talk to a priest in her attire or goes for Sunday first Mass. What will the Christians say about that priest? Can you stomach the show? Wa!wa! ohhh! Wele wele! Shalaaaalee!!! Jesus, Mary and Joseph!!! Have mercy on that priest. It’s not easy to fathom that isn’t it?

When Luke was writing this gospel, he very well knew the situation of these communities. Most of the members were women and a large number were widows, who gave all their time to serve the brethren. They have been cured of many ailments, evil spirits. As long as we do not understand that whatever good we have is a gift of God, we will ever love little.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

CORPUS CHRISTI – BODY OF CHRIST – MWILI WA KRISTU


“Oh holy Banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of his passion is received, the memory of his passion is renewed, the soul is fulfilled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given us”

In your parish bulletin there is going to be this leaflet with a big title “Solemnity if Corpus Christi” some of you may be wondering what it is all about. It’s very simple: Today we are solemnizing the feast of the Most Holy Body of Christ”

Two months ago on Holy Thursday we remembered the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist. But because of the rather sad atmosphere of the passion and Death of Our Lord which clouds Holy Week, the rejoicing and external manifestation of our faith in the Eucharist was suppressed. This is why to conclude the mystery feast of this season, the Church instituted this feast. Many parish communities will make processions in honour of Christ present in the forms of Bread and Wine.

The treasures of the Eucharist are summed up in five points

a) Oh holy Banquet in which Christ is received, our thoughts go back to the children of Israel. Moses was leading them from slavery to the Promised Land. While they were still in the wildness they ran short of food. And God in his providence provided them daily with manna. Our lord did refer to this incident in his teaching when he said. “It was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from Heaven…. I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry” (John 6:32-35).

Like Israelites we too find ourselves in the wilderness of this life. We have the table made for us every day. Not that of Moses but directly from heaven the bread that gives

b) Eternal life-Yes, Christ himself is the food at this daily sacred banquet.

c) The memory of this passion is renewed. When we believe in God we have reverence, of fear, of hope, of desire, of adoration. One of these expressions is offering sacrifice. Do this until the Lord comes, every time we eat the bread and drink we are proclaiming the death of our Lord. We who were not there in the cenacle at the last supper, not at the foot of the cross on Calvary, are enabled to offer anew the same Sacrifice which Christ offered alone centuries ago.

d) The soul is filled with grace

Our first parents sinned, but Christ came to restore that life, give even greater measure. He came so that we may have life and have it abundantly. This is wisdom and power he chose to impart life to us through the Sacraments and in very special way in the Eucharist. “I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the World” (John 6:57)

e) The pledge of Eternal glory. Practically we have no idea of what the glory in heaven is like. St. Paul says that now we see God as in a mirror, and then we shall see Him face to face as He is. Elsewhere he says “eye has not seen, nor ear heard…” We have no idea of what it is but we have assurance of its existence. We are sure it is waiting for us and we have a pledge, something with which to assert our right to the eternal glory. The Eucharist, for Christ says: “Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life and I shall raise him upon the last day John 6:54”.

The Eucharist is the seed of glory, as often as we receive it worthily we multiply the seeds of eternal glory in our ourselves.



My dear sisters and brothers in Christ, once we discover the importance of Mass even in a small way what it is as a banquet at which we receive Christ, that mass is renewal of Christ’s Passion that Eucharist that floods our souls with grace, and the Eucharist is the pledge.

The seed of eternal glory, I am sure those pews should not be empty. I am sure there would be real scramble for communion. If so many Christians miss even Sunday Mass, if so many Christians spend months, even years without receiving Holy Communion. It’s because they do not know what they are losing.



Let us pray for one another for a better understanding of the sacrament of love and greater devotion to it in our daily life.

Impact of Western Sexual Revolution on Africans

3.4 Impact of Western Sexual Revolution on Africans



During and prior to colonialism, Africa like the traditional West treasured purity in matters of sexuality. For instance, in the Tonga culture of Southern Zambia there was a taboo surrounding the sight of a woman’s thighs. It was believed that a curse fell upon he who dared to look at a thigh of unsuspecting woman. While this taboo acted as a deterrent to sexual activity, people also had to be on the guide to ensure that they didn’t take a pre-meditated glance at a thigh of a woman. Sexual purity was maintained in the process.



By and large, sex in Africa was traditionally practiced in marriage. Child bearing out of wedlock was a taboo and disgrace to affected families. Everyone needed to belong to a complete family for that is what s/he was identified with. The once popular extended family in Africa was the core from which Africa traditional society drew its values.



While colonizing could have set a tone for the infiltration of the Western sexual revolution in Africa, Christianity promoted puritanical attitude towards sexuality in Africa. But the booming of the western sexual revolution in the mid 1960s coincided with the independence of most African States from years of colonial rule. Post-colonial Africa contacts with former colonial Western masters were maintained, and Western culture, with its sexual permissiveness, made its way into post-colonial Africa, helped by advanced communication. Today, Africa is experiencing an infiltration of the Western sexual revolution.



Today one of the fastest contributing factors of the Western sexual revolution’s impact on the African sexual behavior is the phenomena of globalization. The advance in communication through mass media has likewise contributed greatly to the booming of sexual revolution in many African societies. Although much of what we watch in the national media is censored, there is much more to be desired as sexual permissiveness is evident.

Almost everywhere in Africa: kissing, love making under cover have become common sight in the media; adulterous relationships as seen in the media are taking concrete expression in the lives of Africans; sexual infidelity even among African married couples has become fashionable and a sense of triumph for both men and women in the work place; brothels, where people married and unmarried alike go to experience sexual pleasure, have emerged; and as it has been the case in the Western sexual revolution, prostitutes on the African continent, as they have become common sight have acquired the status of sexual workers etc.



As one may look at the movie industry from the 1920s to the present day, it is clear that the industry has survived not only because it has found alternative markets for the industry’ products, but also because, as compared to the wholesome films of the 1930s and those of the 1940s, the industry has increasingly incorporated sexual themes, violence, and vulgar language into their content. In matters related to sex we observe that there is frontal female nudity and open sexual coupling routinely depicted in films.



In spite of the fact that some religious ministers and politicians have publicly decried these patterns of life, their outcry from the general public is largely muted. Various industries through the mass media have pressed further, using these themes to attract audiences, transgressing traditional norms and general traditional African perspective toward sexuality.



What we should know however, is that our movie industry operates in a system of economic capitalism in which making profit is a major and highly approved goal. In doing so it has maximized its audiences in showing movies which have scenes of sex, violence and vulgarity since they are so appealing and attractive to watch. Looking at our population we discover that its majority are the youths (60%), thus a large proportion of the movie audience are particularly the youths.



Looking at our own African societies youths have fallen victims to sexual permissiveness. We vividly see such scenes as the manner of dressing that are appealing. For girls we observe a rampart dressing of miniskirts that leave no room for imagination. In addition to that some of them wear trousers known as hipsters or tight trousers exposing their hips and waists revealing their inner garments. Youths also wear top ups such as T-shirts and blouses that expose their chests and breasts.



Boys also are not left behind. Some of them wear tight vests or shirts that reveal their muscles which make them appear attractive to women. This code of dressing is sometimes practiced by some musicians who may even perform with bear chests as a way of arousing revelers more especially women.



The other thing we discover is the rampart selling of pornographic movies and magazines stimulating the young ones to engage in sexual activities. Sexual permissiveness has also led to irresponsible sexual behavior among the youths. For example we notice a fast growing number of single motherhood; cases of abortion and prostitution are increasingly on a rise; HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases continue to be reality in our society; use of contraceptive pills and other preventive measures from pregnancies such as morning pills and condoms has become rampart in our societies etc.



Lastly we cannot fail to observe how among the African youths the procreative act of sexuality has lost its value and meaning. To many of them, sex is seen as a thing which everyone should have, do or long for. We are living in a world where for everything to get its attention it has to be connected with sexual matters or sexual language. And this ideology is growing at a very fast rate. Sexuality has simply become something intended for physical pleasure, and exploitation of the other through sex for money.



Among the African youths who have become the most vulnerable to this Sexual permissiveness from Western cultures the following the realities are quite evident:



African youths have given into putting on miniskirts, tight trousers and shirts and blouses that expose their chests and breasts respectively just as they watch through the media.

Unscrupulous people have taken advantage of the crisis by selling pornographic videos that are sexually appealing to the youths[1] .

At the same time, irresponsible sexual behavior among the youths of Nairobi, Kenya, for instance, has generated single mothers and abortions. Single motherhood raises the problems as children do not find themselves in a suitable environment to develop into complete and mature and responsible human beings.

As single youths beget children, we are further left to wonder what kind of adults they will grow up to be: some may become street children while other may become criminals.

Additionally, most single mothers cannot support their families and this forces them into prostitution. As a result, the spread of sexually transmitted disease including AIDS has unimaginably hit the youths who sooner or later will have to die from it.

Just as the contraceptives pill was revolutionary for women in the West, African youths now use the contraceptives pill with much ease in order to have sex at all costs without getting pregnant.

In this culture of sexual permissiveness, abortion has been exercised in the event that contraceptives fail. Youths with unwanted pregnancies have their unborn babies killed by unscrupulous doctors

Among the African youths as well, the procreative act of sexuality has lost value and meaning. Sexuality has simply become something intended for physical pleasure, and exploitation of the other through sex for money



3.4.3 Way Forward for the African Youths



a) Need to Strengthen the Family



Sexual permissiveness in Africa has led to the disintegration of the African families. Practices such as infidelity, divorce, cohabitation and use of contraception are tearing down the African family. And certainly for children to grow into responsible youth they need the figures of both mother and father living together in a faithful marriage. “The parents are the first teachers while the home is the basic school of humanity”.[2]



In other words, the family determines what kind of society any human community would like to be. A good family is a foundation of a good society whereas a bad family is foundation of a bad society. A complete family is in a good position to offer moral, spiritual and physical support to its children who then grow up to be fulfilled youths.



When the moral, spiritual and physical support that the family is supposed to offer to its children is lacking, children easily grow into irresponsible youths. Society as such becomes irresponsible, even in the way it practices sexuality. The crime that Nairobi, Kenya, in particular is facing from unruly youths is certainly a product of offspring of incomplete or broken families.



Our effort in combating the impact of the Western sexual revolution in Africa should be geared towards strengthening or revitalizing the families within a complete and loving family, where children are better and responsibly protected from roaming on the streets, engagement in prostitution, having unwanted pregnancies, etc. According to R.N. Wachira, much of what forms and shapes the child is taught at home.



The matter of formation of the youth for the family should not be left to parents and the school alone; the church, the local government and civil society should deliberately involve themselves in formation of the youth for the family.



b) Parents’ involvement in sex education



Since one of the effects of the Western sexual revolution was the introduction of sexual education in school, there is need for parents to get involved in to what type of sexual education youths are going to receive. Most often, sex education in school has not added moral value to genital matters. Youths are thereby left to experiment on their own the marvels that genital expressions can perform.



The matter of parents’ involvement in sex education programs for the youths is an issue for proper formation of the youths in the family. Through organizations such as the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), parent can exert great influence on the kind of sex education that the youths are supposed to receive. In some cases, even better, parents have hindered governments from introducing sex education without values in schools. Value free sex education is a rival to the African family.



Once the youth of all categories are formed in the knowledge of the purpose and meaning of sexuality, they may serve as foundation for a better society in the future that values sexuality as a gift of God which should be used as its author intended: responsible procreation in a family context.



c) Returning to God



When we consider the diversity of criminal activities in Nairobi, we see a lot of robbery with violence in the city, a horde of sex workers lining up the streets, explicit sexual permissiveness, unwanted pregnancies and a lot of single mothers. The situation is seemingly hopeless, and yet it is saying something to the African society. Once more this situation points to the brokenness of the family. In order for sound and complete families to become a reality there is need for conversion, and grace can seemingly heal these challenges for the Africans, with total human cooperation. The “Holy Spirit moves freely through the ruins of our fallen humanity and we must recognize the signs of hope and the prospects rebuilding sound values.”[3]



Underlying the impact of Western sexual revolution on the African youths is an implicit lack of believe in God.[4] Humanity has gone astray by manipulating God’s creation. Sexual expression for pleasure without a desire for procreation through the use of contraceptives is but one of the ways of manipulating God’s creation. One other related sexual manipulative act is abortion since it is killing of an unborn baby.



Cessation of such acts and attitudes calls for God’s intervention through conversion so that humanity itself being God’s creation may live to respect the order of creation and nature. Such a religious conversion need not to come from African youths alone. It is one which should radically change the attitude of the source of the Western sexual revolution itself.



3.4.4 Conclusion



In this chapter, we have attempted to discuss the impact of the Western sexual revolution on Africa especially on its youths. At the root of this sexual revolution is a rejection of God, the mistaken understanding of human nature, and the separation of sexuality from procreation. The impact on African youths has been pathetic: crime, sexual immorality leading to the production of single mothers, prostitution, children on the street, the spreading of HIV/AIDS etc.



All these have been made possible because of the breakdown of the family. It is for this reason that we have suggested the reconstruction of the African family as a way out of this crisis. To this effect, it is quite important that African youths be formed to be responsible parents who will constitute sound, full and healthy families that will produce good and responsible citizens. The parents, the church and society should collaborate to realize this cause.



In order to survive, there is need for society to regulate the sexual activity. If our old African structures which were regulating sexual relations are now dying or falling apart, new and more relevant ones must be adopted. We need a system of education which is programmed and designed towards positive Christian morals, healthy practices, self-respect, faithfulness and creativity towards human dignity and God’s Love. It is not enough to put intellectual theories in front of young people in our African society; they must be initiated into life. A sound theology of sex and marriage, plus an understanding of psychology and personal development are also needed.



Sex is personal and rational; it is a craving for personal relationship. Young people need permanent relationships of their parents and the society at large, for proper mental development. All teachings and ministries to young people must revolve around the truth that the meaning of sex and sexuality is to be found in unselfish relationships, based on Christian ethics and sound moral doctrines.

[1] Global Economic and Cultural Research Project, Hekima Group, Choices of Life: The Impact of global Media on the Youth in Nairobi: The Case of the Film Industry, Nairobi, Kenya, Global Economy and Cultural Research Project – Hekima Group, 2003, p. 67

[2] R.N. Wachira, Parents and Teenagers: Bridging the Gap, p. 23

[3] P.J. Elliott, Sexual Revolution, p. 13

[4] P.J. Elliott, p. 8

IN MEMORY OF DAVID JACOBUS BOSCH

TRANSFORMING MISSION : David Bosch- Some Personal Reflections by Willem Saaymann, Prof. Emeritus in Missiology at Unisa, Pretoria, Sout...