The servant’s duty

Sunday readings in brief 27 C

Hab 1:2-3,2:2-4; Ps 94(95); 2 Tim 1:6-8,13-14; Lk 17:5-10

The servant’s duty

Dear friends, today is the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today the readings are talking about the duty of a servant and the value of remaining steadfast and faithful. Being a good person is not very difficult the difficulty lies in remaining faithful all the time especially when faced with challenges and injustices.

In the first reading, Prophet Habakkuk is lamenting the suffering of the just people while the wicked go scold free. During his time, the Babylonians occupied Israel and took the people into captivity. God answered him in a vision and assured him that he would intervene but in his own time. What was required for the just man was that he might remain faithful. The time of God is always the right time though we find it difficult to wait for God to intervene and seek intervention from other powers.

This is where many of us find difficulties in our following of Christ. We always start very well and as long as things are going our way, we remain faithful. However, as soon as challenges set in, we begin losing faith and sometimes we are completely lost in our path.

In second the reading, St. Paul urges Timothy to remain firm because the gift of God given to him was not a spirit of timidity. In this world, we have many well-intended people but some of them are afraid to do the right thing because of the circumstances around them. Some are also ashamed of witnessing Christ and His Good News because of the company they keep.

I remember vividly one day some years ago we had the procession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in one small town in one country in Europe. In the procession, we had only one layman while the others were women. As we marched on the streets, we met some men who were friends to layman with us. One of them asked him, “Carlos” not his real name, “It means that you too have involved yourself in these things also?” Carlos did not reply but I could see his face dropping as he marched past them carrying the statue of the Virgin. This is what happens to many who once were committed parishioners and that today are ashamed of even going to Church on Sundays. They are afraid that their friends might laugh at them or segregate them.

In the Gospel, Jesus is talking about the duty given to each one of us and the attitude that is required towards it. The problem is that many seek extra privileges for performing what is dutiful to them. Take for instance a public officer paid a good salary to serve the people but who seeks extra favours before rendering the services. This is what cripples development in society.

Others complain always while performing the duties pertaining to the vocation or career they themselves chose. In our society, there are those who have chosen to be parents and bring up their children, others have chosen to become priests and religious to take care of God’s people and others have chosen public positions to serve their nations. If all of us perform our duties without lamenting or seeking extra favours and privileges other than those due to us, our world would be better. The time wasted by delays in service delivery while seeking favours slows down the growth of the economy. It is evident that in nations where there is less corruption public service is efficient and their economies are better.

Dear friends, as we reflect upon the message from the readings today, let us introspect and see if we are performing the duties pertaining to our specific vocations and careers faithfully. Maybe we are contributing to the growth of society or we are slowing it down seeking favours and privileges.

Have a blessed Sunday

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

Solidarity

Sunday readings in brief 26 C

Ams 6:1,4-7; Ps 145(146); 1 Tim 6:11-16; Lk 16:19-31

The haves and the have not

Dear friends, today is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary time. The readings of today talk about the rich and the poor or if you would, the ‘haves and the have not’. In Ps 24:1 we read, “The earth and all its fullness belong to the Lord: the whole world and all that dwells in it”. In Genesis 1 we also read that after he had made everything in heaven and on earth and saw it was good, God create man and woman and entrusted it to them to care for it. It means that nothing on earth belongs to us human beings we are but only trustees.

Therefore, the question of some having more than they need while others do not have enough to live on is only because of greed, selfishness, and unjust systems that favour some and prevent others from rising. The general message of today’s reading is that this situation is not God’s plan and on judgment day everyone will reap what they have planted.

In the first reading, The Prophet Amos warns the rich of Zion who lived in luxury at the expense of the poor. Last Sunday we heard how the rich suppressed the poor by making life too expensive by stealing from them and buying them as slaves. There is a middle-age refrain that says: “if one is too rich and has more than he needs, either him or his father was a thief”.

In the Gospel passage, Jesus tells the story of one unnamed rich man who lived in luxury and the poor Lazarus who fed himself the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. The unnamed rich man just like the unnamed disciple among the two who were going back to Emmaus after the death of Jesus could be you and I. Whenever this passage is read, we very comfortably identify ourselves with the poor Lazarus whereas we have all in common with the rich man. The rich man was not condemned because of his richness but because he lacked solidarity with Lazarus who was in grave need.

I have heard people say, “all I have is out of my sweat and it belongs to me”. These have the same mentality as the “Rich Fool” in Lk 12, who told his heart to relax because he had all he needed, only to be told he was to die that night. Again, this parable should not turn others into lazy beggars thinking they will be taken up to Abraham’s bosom. Unfortunately, there are those who misinterpret the Scriptures and misguide others. God instructed us to till the land to earn our living and not to spend all the time on our knees in worship places begging for miracles to feed ourselves. “He who does not work shall not eat” (2 Thes 3:10).

In the Second reading, St. Paul urges us to fight the good fight and earn ourselves a place in heaven. The vocation to life that God has given to all of us is not passive but active. God has given us different gifts so that working together in communion we may build a community where no one has more than he needs while the other lacks basic needs.

“They have Moses and the Prophets, let them listen to them”. This is the reply that Abraham gave to the rich man who was being tormented in hell because of his unkindness to the poor Lazarus. The Moses’ and the Prophets of today are the people anointed to be ministers of the Gospel in our communities. It is for our own good that we listen to what they tell us and comply. Jesus preached the Good News of the Kingdom of God and when he was ascending to heaven commanded his disciples to continue preaching the same. These are the ones that are mandated to interpret the values of the kingdom to us in our times. Jesus will not return to preach again but rather to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1).

Dear friends, as we celebrate the day set aside for the Lord, let us reflect upon our lives and see if we show solidarity with the needy around us. All we have is God’s gift and we will leave it all here on earth when we die.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD (kindly visit: svdkentan.com)

20 Years of Transformation

On 8th September 2022, the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Good Shepherd Simanjiro Parish celebrated 20 years of the presence of Divine Word Missionaries (SVD). However, the celebration was held on 11th September 2022 the Sunday closet to 8th. Apart from the faithful from 30 stations under the parish, the celebration was also graced by SVD confreres from Nairobi, Eldoret, and Arusha. Also present were Friends of SVD from Nairobi and Arusha and other invited Guests. more than 1500 hundred people graced the day.

On the same day, 205 candidates received the sacrament of confirmation after completing their catechetical instruction for one year and passing the test. The candidates were all dressed in black and white, each armed with a Bible, A rosary, and a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Two couples also blessed their marriage on the same occasion. We are glad to see much faithful embracing monogamy and blessing their marriages in the Church, abandoning polygamy which is still the norm here.

After the Holy Mass, the parishioners congratulated all the confreres who have worked in the mission for the last 20 years. Many of them were present including some Diocesan Priests among them Fr. Simon Tenges, the Vika General of the Archdiocese of Arusha who also was the main celebrant.

There was also fundraising to make repairs to the Parish Church building which was very successful.

To crown the day, 23 Choirs from the outstations competed with the song for the year, 20 years Anniversary of Divine Word Missionaries in Simanjiro. This took the greater part of the afternoon and into the night.

The parish has made many steps under the shepherdship of Divine Word Missionaries including, an increase in the number of the baptized and outstations, training of many catechists who are very central to the work of evangelization, the building of nursery schools in remote villages, reviving of Simanjiro centre which serves over 30 villages, many sacramental marriages, the building of permanent Churches among many others.

We thank God for all his graces during these 20 years of missioning and transformation of the lives of the Maasai people here in Simanjio.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

God versus wealth

Sunday readings in brief 25 C

Amos 8:4-7; Ps 112(113); 1 Tim 2:1-8; Lk 16:1-13

God versus wealth

Dear friends, today is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings today invite us to reflect upon how we utilize the wealth of this world. God created every good thing and give it to human beings to draw benefit from it. There is enough for everyone in the world, however, because of greed and selfishness, a few have more than they need to live while many do not have enough to survive.

In the first reading, Prophet Amos rebukes the rich of the day who trampled the poor by hiking the prices of grains and stealing from them by tampering with the scales. This they did in order to make it difficult for the poor to sustain themselves hence taking them as slaves on their farms. Today, we continue to see this phenomenon in our society whereby the rich make sure the systems favor them at the expense of the poor. One observation in many of our cities is that neigbouring every rich suburb, there is a poor settlement where the poor work for the rich life. On the sweat and breath of the poor, the rich ride.

Prophet Amos, speaking for the Lord, tells them that their actions will never be forgotten. One day everyone will be demanded to give an account of his or her actions and be judged accordingly.

St. Paul in the Second Reading is urging us to pray for everyone especially those in authority, so that they may be just. Every society resembles its leaders. God-fearing leaders bring development and equality to society. Bad leaders serve their own interests and the interest of their few friends at the sweat of the many poor. To lead means to be the first in taking responsibility showing others the way. However, the world has made commercialized positions of leadership hence making them lucrative and desirable for all. Today, we have very few instances where leaders are elected upon merit and qualities of service. On many occasions, people by positions by corrupt and brutal means and some even source the help of dark powers by entering into contracts with the devil. Such leaders will always sacrifice their people to sustain themselves in power.

In a very rare scenario, the Gospel passage presents to us a steward who used his astuteness to rescue his situation when he was about to be dismissed from his position. This steward was accused of being wasteful and was demanded to lender accounts before exiting his position. What is being highlighted here is how, at the critical moment, the steward decided to forgo his interests and favour the poor, probably deducting the commission he had hiked for himself to win friendship and leverage.

Jesus urges us to use the wealth of this world wisely so that we may not be locked out of heaven. Wealth is not bad by itself but how we utilize it may lead us to damnation. Many times, we forget our responsibility to God and neighbour because of pursuance of wealth. All that is on the face of the earth belongs to the creator who has led them to us for the span of our lives.

Dear friends, I invite us today to reflect upon how we utilize the material things at our disposal. Do we care for the underprivileged around us or do we buy them and enslave them to become even wealthier?

Have a blessed Sunday

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD (svdkentan.com)

The Great Mercy of God

Sunday readings in brief 24 C

Ex 32:7-11,13-14; Ps 50(51); 1 Tim 1:12-17; Lk 15:1-32

The Great Mercy of God

Dear friends, today is the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time C. All three readings talk about the wonderful mercy of God. “That God is Merciful” is the core of the Gospel message brought to us by Christ. The mercy of God is the expression of God’s love for us.

In the first reading, we note another important aspect of God’s mercy, which is the role of Moses. Moses was a leader chosen by God to lead his people. God consulted him on all matters regarding the people of Israel. When Moses left the people to go and meet God and overstayed on the mountain, the people felt abandoned and led by Aron they made for themselves a calf of molten gold as their God. God was angry with the people and wanted to wipe out these ungrateful people, who he had saved from the hand of Pharaoh.

God consulted with Moses with a proposal to wipe out the people and make him a great nation. Moses, as a good leader, interceded for the people sighting the promises God had made to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The character of Moses is a great lesson for all those who have been given the role of leaders. The job of a leader is to intercede and protect the people he leads and not to look for his own benefit and prosperity.

In the second reading, St Paul talks about how God’s mercy changed his life. Because of his ignorance, Paul, then known as Soul, persecuted the followers of Christ. God is always willing to rescue us from our ignorance and make us the instruments of his love for others. Many people persecute others because of ignorance and misguided ideologies like Paul did. Christ came to show the light to the world the darkness of unbelieve and ignorance of true values may vanish.

In the Gospel reading, we listen to one of the greatest parables of love and mercy of God ever told. Jesus tells three consecutive stories about the love of God. The parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin talks about the joy of receiving back what was lost. God is always happy to receive us back. Through the Sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation, we are restored to the love of God and neighbour. The third parable is about the lost two sons. Out of ignorance about the father’s love, the younger son left his father and went to live loose life until he started suffering. Many baptized people stop going to Church and for a short while seem to be enjoying life, only for things to turn bad.

When we are far from our Father, we may feel free during the first few days, months, or years but eventually, the prolonged absence of the love of the Father will make us want. The elder son may have stayed with his father but he too was lost. He did not count his father’s wealth as his but lamented because he was not given anything to enjoy with his friends. He was bitter with his younger brother and did not want to rejoice at his return. This made him lose to his father as well.

Dear friends, sometimes we look down upon the people whose sins are publicly exposed. Maybe, like the elder son, we have loads of bitterness and unhappiness inside that is not expressed. This can eat us from within and one day it will explode. I invite us to contemplate the mercy of God and not hesitate to ask him for forgiveness whenever we go against his will.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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