Old is Gold


Today, 29 July 2019, marked the 84 th birthday of our eldest confrere, Fr.  Tom Layden.  Fr.  Tom has worked in Kenya-Tanzania province for almost 20 years now, after working in Indonesia for almost the same period of time. Fr.  Tom is known in the province for his dedication to reading the Word of God.  He has been readIng the whole Bible at least 6 times a year, for more that 15 years now. He is also a retreat preacher who has given retreat to almost all of us in the province, as well as many other religious congregation in Nairobi and Other parts of Kenya.


Today a few of us celebrated with Tom in our Provincial House. Fr.  Albert Fuchs, Fr.  Michael Taneo and I arrived from Arusha just in time for the cake.  Fr.  Taneo is leaving soon for Indonesia, his home province,  where he has been transferred.  Fr.  Albert is on transit to our former mission in Doldol to attend the ordination of a priest he new and mentored since childhood.


Present also were Fr.  Leo Fernando, the praeses of the house, Fr. Rethinasamy Almadoss, the Mission Secretary and Fr. Machin  who is also in the country to attend the same ordination.  Fr.  Machin had worked in Kenya before he was transferred to USA.

Earlier on some other confreres had taken Tom out for lunch.


We congratulate Fr.  Tom and thank God for his life.  Happy birthday Tom.

Fr.  Lawrence Muthee,  SVD



Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C by Wojciech Szypula, SVD

Our Father

First Reading: Genesis 18:20–32; Psalm 138:1–3, 6–8; Second Reading: Colossians 2:12–14; Gospel Luke 11:1–13


Psalm 138:1–3, 6–8

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;

before the gods I sing your praise;

I bow down toward your holy temple

and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;

for you have exalted your name and your word

above everything.

On the day I called, you answered me,

you increased my strength of soul.

For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;

but the haughty he perceives from far away.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,

you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;

you stretch out your hand,

and your right hand delivers me.

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;

your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.

Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Reading the Word

First Reading

Genesis 18:20–32

Then the Lord said, “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.”

So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it?  Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”  And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.”  Abraham answered, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” Again he spoke to him, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”  He said, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”

Second Reading

Colossians 2:12–14

When you were buried with Christ in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.

Gospel: Luke 11:1–13

 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

And forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.

And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Hearing the Word

“Grace amidst Wickedness”

Today’s readings do not conceal the fact that evil and wickedness are powerfully present and active in the world. However, God’s grace still operates in their midst, protecting and preserving those who draw upon it through prayer.

The first reading continues the story of the encounter between Abraham and God from last Sunday. However, the conversation now turns to a different topic. The inhabitants of the nearby cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, engaged in practices that violated all standards of morality and justice. God decided to act against these sinful cities and made his intentions known to Abraham (Gen 18:19). God’s decision created a great dilemma for Abraham. Abraham knew that there were at least a few individuals in those cities who lived righteous lives. His nephew, Lot, was among them. If the cities were destroyed and the righteous Lot with them, it would put God’s justice for the righteous into question. But if the wicked are left to thrive and the guilty escape punishment, then God’s justice would likewise be challenged. The core of the problem here is whether righteousness can counterbalance wickedness, and if so, to what degree. Thus, Abraham begins his dialogue with the Lord inquiring about the number of the righteous needed to counterbalance the wicked majority. His logic is, that if the guilt of the wicked can affect the righteous, then perhaps the innocence of the righteous can save the wicked.

He begins with a high number of fifty, to which God responds that fifty righteous would be enough to spare the city. The same answer is given to five more inquiries as Lot eventually brings the number down to ten. In the Israelite tradition, ten is the minimum number of members needed to constitute a community. Thus, Abraham’s bargaining with God reveals that God is willing to forego punishment if even the smallest community of the righteous can be found among the large population of the wicked. God’s grace and forgiveness are not dependant on numbers or limited by wickedness. Grace operates wherever righteousness in present even in the smallest measure.

The second reading describes the triumph of God over the sinfulness and wickedness of the Colossian Christians. Without any reservations, Paul describes the Colossians prior to their conversion as “dead” and “uncircumcised”. These are very unflattering terms, pointing to lives of ignorance and moral depravity. Without the knowledge of God and the ethical guidance of his commandments, they were alienated from God with no hope of redemption. However, God intervened in their lives through Christ. First, because of the apostolic proclamation of Paul they were “buried with Christ” in baptism. Burial symbolically refers to the immersion in the waters of baptism and the resulting dying to the old life. The new life comes as rising from the dead through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus died a physical death on the cross so that the Colossians can die with him a symbolic death to a life of sin and unbelief. Jesus was then raised from the dead so that the Colossians can rise to a renewed spiritual life of righteousness and faith. The new life comes to them through identification with Christ, which is ritually confirmed in baptism.

Because of baptism and faith, the Colossians had their sins and trespasses forgiven – their “debt” has been “nailed to the cross”. This beautiful symbolic statement means that their transgressions and ignorance remained nailed to the symbol of death – the cross – while they themselves were removed from the cross and rose to a new life together with Christ. The key in this reading is the emphasis on God’s initiative and his power behind this process. God brought these former Gentiles to faith in Christ, while they were still dead in their trespass. God’s intervention preceded their conversion. The Colossians’ story proves that God’s mercy and salvific initiative does not cease, even in the midst of human unrighteousness.

The gospel passage features three distinct parts joined by the common theme of prayer. The first part contains the famous prayer of Jesus which he taught his disciples as a pattern for all prayer. This pattern is reflected in the five petitions that this prayer consists of. The first two arise out the need for God’s presence and intervention in this godless world. The petition that God’s name be “hallowed”, that is “made holy”, requests the manifestation of God’s presence and holiness before a world which does not know or which rejects God. Combined with the second petition for the coming of God’s kingdom, this first part of the prayer expresses the longing of believers for God’s rule to take over the world and for the end to the chaos and wickedness that envelops it at the present.

The third petition is a request for daily bread. This is the plea of those experiencing economic insecurity, and who rely on God for their daily provision of food. The fourth petition pleads for the forgiveness of sins but makes it conditional on mutual forgiveness. Praying with these words, those who ask for God’s forgiveness oblige themselves to forgive others.

The final petition requests God’s protection from the trials and temptations that may lead to the loss of faith. The proper translation of this petition should read, “do not allow us to enter into temptation”. This petition acknowledges that believers are exposed to temptations to sin and to apostasy. Therefore, this is a plea to God to save believers from such situations where their faith would be challenged beyond measure. This is a prayer for the preservation of faith which is exposed to the challenges and trials brought by the evil and wickedness operating in this world.

The second and third parts of our passage highlights the need for perseverance in prayer. In the story of a reluctant friend the petitioner receives the bread he requested, because his persistence overcame obstacles that the circumstances posed. Then, the threefold exhortation to ask, seek and knock teaches that the prayers must first be made before they are answered. God responds to the petitioners who are determined and know what to ask for. However, the supreme gift of God that petitioners ought to seek is the Holy Spirit, who alone is God’s greatest gift. Through the Holy Spirit, God’s grace and mercy come to the believers, in response to their prayers, in all the challenging circumstances of life.

The three reading of today discloses that God’s grace operates even in the midst of the wickedness and unrighteousness that affects the world and believers. God was willing to hold off his judgment over the wicked cities because of even a few righteous who lived there. God did not overlook the Colossians even when they were far from him, living in wickedness and ignorance. Rather, Ged sent them Paul, with the proclamation of Jesus Christ, and this brought them to faith and saved them. Jesus teaches his disciples the various aspects of prayer, knowing that through prayer they can draw upon God’s grace in every situation. Because of the prayer that brings them God’s grace even as they face wickedness, believers can say with the Psalmist, “though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies.”

Listening to the Word of God

In his book, “The Gulag Archipelago”, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn writes: “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

This quote is insightful because one would have thought Solzhenitsyn, a man with the first-hand experience of immense suffering and evil at the hands of his persecutors, would desire that evil people be separated and destroyed. Rather, he looks beyond his own suffering and sees the problem of evil as everyone’s problem, albeit at different levels and have different expressions. Such an awareness elicits compassion, rather than condemnation when someone becomes a puppet in the cold hands of evil. Of particular note is the last part of the quote, “…Who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” As much as we are unwilling to destroy our own hearts, God is unwilling to destroy his creation.

In any discourse about the problem of evil, it is theologically accurate to start with the premise that God loves the world. Although he transcends creation, God is equally immanent in the work of his hands. From the “spiritual bargain” that Abraham had with God, one can infer that righteousness attracts grace and causes justice to be tempered with mercy. God’s preparedness to spare a whole nation, if righteousness could be found even in a small measure, reveals his unwillingness to destroy anything he has created. In this regard, God can be likened to a teacher who, although he is displeased with the poor performance of a class, is appeased by the good performance of one or two students in the class. This is even more expressive in the salvific act of Christ. Paul tells the Church in Colossae, “And when you were dead in trespasses…God made you alive together with him…” The righteousness of Christ, which has brought salvation to humanity, is highlighted.

It is evil in the world. However, as followers of Christ, ours is not to condemn the world, in part or whole, but rather to raise our voices in persistent prayer in times of evil. Prayer draws grace first and foremost into our own hearts and overflows into the world we live in. The effect of prayer can be likened to a downpour of rain in a dry forest caught up in the fire.

The presence of a community of faith in an environment where wickedness prevails can be likened to light in darkness or an oasis in the desert. Such a community brings hope where life is threatened. An Akwapim proverb puts it this way: “When strong trees come together, they break the force of a destructive wind.” A community of faith is a spiritual windbreaker. Its very presence saves multitudes from perdition.

When things go wrong, a prayerful response can salvage the situation. May we not give up in prayer,  but rather perseveringly ask, search and knock. God’s grace will be provided in times of wickedness.


 “When strong trees come together, they break the force of a destructive wind.”



What is my response when I hear or see people committing acts of wickedness?

Do I feel compassion for the wayward or desire punishment for them?

Response to God

I bring before God in prayer all those who perpetrate evil in one way or the other. In a particular way, I pray for terrorists, armed robbers, Xenophobes, and all those who inflict pain on others. I pray for a change of heart for all such people.

Response to your World

During this week I will avoid every form of hate speech, and consciously speak words of love in every situation.

What practical steps can we take as a group, to spread the message of peace, by our words and deeds?


Eternal Father, your mercy towards humanity is deep. May the grace of your Son Jesus Christ, quench the naked flames of evil in every human heart. Amen

Scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, © 1989, 1993. Used with permission.



Investing in Young Age

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From 22 to 24 July 2019, the young confreres in Kenya-Tanzania Province met for the second time this year, to live, discuss and plan on the reality of missioning in our province. This kind of gathering is intended to engage the young confreres in the present and the future of the mission here in East Africa.


The confreres met at Fisherman”s Top camp in Naivasha, Kenya. The Vice Provincial Superior Fr. Justus Rottuk accompanied and shared with them their vision for the province. He shared his experience in the mission as the first Kenyan SVD in the congregation. The young confreres also shared their experiences and how they are immersing themselves in the mission.

Among other activities, the confreres had Bible sharing and mass together.

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We congratulate them for making possible this important gathering. May they continue to inspire new spirit and energy to the mission of the Society of the Divine Word here in East Africa.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD.

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C: by Wojciech Szypula, SVD



Love without looking who!

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10–14; Psalm: 14, 17, 30–31, 33–34, 36, 37; Second Reading: Colossians 1:15–20; Gospel:  Luke 10:25–37

 Psalm: 69:14, 17, 30–31, 33–34, 36, 37

 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.

At an acceptable time, O God,

in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.

With your faithful help

Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;

according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

But I am lowly and in pain;

let your salvation, O God, protect me.

I will praise the name of God with a song;

I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Let the oppressed see it and be glad;

you who seek God, let your hearts revive.

For the Lord hears the needy,

and does not despise his own that are in bonds.

For God will save Zion

and rebuild the cities of Judah;

and his servants shall live there and possess it;

the children of his servants shall inherit it,

and those who love his name shall live in it.

Reading the Word

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10–14

The Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors when you obey the Lord your God by observing his commandments and decrees that are written in this book of the law, because you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.

Second Reading: Colossians 1:15–20

Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.

 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him, God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

Gospel: Luke 10:25–37

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?”  He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance, a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Hearing the Word

“Lasting Prosperity”

The Scriptures reflect God’s deep concern for the wellbeing and prosperity of the people in both the spiritual and the material sense. God’s word frequently provides guidelines on how to reach this state of prosperity, as is the case today.

The book of Deuteronomy, sometimes called “the Testament of Moses”, contains numerous instructions and exhortations which Moses delivered prior to his death. Today’s passage clearly reflects the intention behind Moses’ words. He begins by revealing God’s concern about his peoples’ prosperity and how God delights in “prospering” them. God’s commandments and decrees were inscribed in the book of the law known as “the Torah”, which literary means “the law” or “guidance”. The same word refers to the first five books of the Bible where these laws are found. The Torah is not a collection of God’s arbitrary and abstract decrees intended to burden the people. On the contrary, these laws are intended to bring prosperity and wellbeing to those willing to live by them.

Moses insists that God’s commands are neither too remote nor too hard to follow. The Torah is not hidden in the heavens or stashed away in a distant land. It is accessible and known, because God, through Moses, placed it within the peoples’ reach. All the Israelites need to do is to “place the Torah in their mouth and their hearts”, that is to speak of it and live by it. Thanks to God’s gift of the law, the way to wellbeing and prosperity has been made known.

The second reading begins the sequence of readings from the letter to the Colossians. Today’s passage contains one of the most beautiful and profound hymns dedicated to Christ in the New Testament. The author of Colossians placed this hymn in the opening lines of his letter to signify that all he writes should be read and understood in relation to Christ, whom he beautifully and profoundly describes as the creator and sustainer.

First, employing a series of striking and imposing images, the author proclaims Jesus’ divinity, describing him as the one who is “the image of the invisible God”, in whom “the fullness of God was pleased to dwell”. This confirms in no uncertain terms that Jesus is truly God. To show further Jesus’ supreme importance, the author describes him as the co-creator by stating that “in him, all things in heaven and on earth were created”. The material world and the heavenly beings described as “thrones, dominions, rulers, and powers” all trace their origin to Jesus. Finally, Jesus sustains creation in existence – “in him, all things hold together”. He truly is the creator and sustainer of all that there is.

Next, the author turns his attention to the relationship of Jesus to the Church calling him “the head of the Church”. Jesus is the head of the community of the faithful, the Church, as its creator, because he brought it into existence through his resurrection – he is “the firstborn from the dead”. Second, Jesus sustains the Church because through him God reconciles everything to himself. Jesus reconciled humanity to God by the sacrifice of the cross which brought about the forgiveness of sins and redemption. Those united with Jesus are united with God through him. This spiritual union is the very foundation and sustenance of the Church.

As the creator and sustainer of the world and the Church, Jesus is the foundation upon which all life, and particularly the life of believers, rests. In Colossians, the author focuses on the spiritual dimension of believers’ existence, emphasizing that spiritual prosperity and blessing can be found only in and through Jesus. The way to spiritual harmony and wellbeing leads through him who fills the community of believers with his presence.

The Gospel reading contains the well-known story of the “good Samaritan” whose true meaning often remains unrecognized. The story serves to answer the question posed by a Jewish religious scholar, a lawyer, about the way to attain eternal life. Posing the question, the lawyer intended to test Jesus as to whether he would remain faithful to the teaching of the Torah on this matter. Answering, Jesus quotes two key passages from the Torah. Citing Deuteronomy 6:5 Jesus states that eternal life requires the absolute and total commitment to God shown by loving him with all the heart, the soul and the mind. Second, eternal life requires the love of the neighbour as stated in Leviticus 19:18. Citing these two passages from the Torah Jesus proves himself completely faithful and compliant with the divine law.

The lawyer, not finding anything wrong with Jesus’ answers, pushes the matter further asking him to define what the word “neighbour” means. In the view of many Jews of Jesus’ day, the teaching and commandments of the Torah applied only to their fellow Jews. Therefore, responding to the challenge and to reveal the right interpretation of the Torah, Jesus proceeds to redefine the understanding of the meaning of “neighbour”.

Using the story of the Samaritan who helps a wounded Jewish man, Jesus challenged the prevailing understanding of “the neighbour”. The priest and the Levite, both Jews, were indifferent to their wounded compatriots, perhaps thinking him already dead. A non-Jew and a despised foreigner, a Samaritan, rescued the suffering man from death at a great personal expense. This certainly is a story of compassion, mercy, and inclusion, but its chief purpose is to teach a lesson about the way to eternal life.

The story clarifies that to gain eternal life one must love one’s neighbour. But who is the neighbour? Contrary to the common belief of the day, being neighbours is not based on ethnic, racial or national grounds. A person does not become a neighbour to another automatically, by the virtue of being born in the same country or being of the same race. Therefore, to have neighbours a person must “make neighbours”. This “neighbour making” process consists of extending mercy to another human being. Mercy in the biblical language is not about forgiveness but rather about protecting, preserving or restoring life and wellbeing of someone in need. Thus, we do not “have neighbours”, we “make neighbours”. Consequently, the way to eternal life leads through acts of mercy by which a person acquires neighbours. The story teaches that eternal life can be reached through acting mercifully towards a fellow human being in need. By helping fellow human beings prosper in their lives, believers walk the path to the ultimate prosperity.

Today’s liturgy teaches that prosperity, both spiritual and material, lies within the human reach. It is true that wellbeing in any form is ultimately God’s gift. However, the faithful must take hold of this gift by responding to God in three major ways. First, God’s commandments and precepts for a good life, made known in the Scriptures, must be followed. Second, believers will thrive spiritually through their intimate union with Jesus, the creator, and sustainer of the Church, and it’s head. Finally, through the practice of mercy believers who seek the wellbeing and prosperity of another person make neighbours for themselves, and fulfill the commandment of neighbourly love. Those who understand and act on the teaching of today’s liturgy are firmly set on the path to eternal life, to the ultimate and wholistic prosperity of eternity. These are those for whom, in the words of the Psalmist, “the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes”.

Listening to the Word of God

The liturgy of today reminds us that God cares for our well-being and prosperity in the material and spiritual sense. He does not leave us alone to search and pursue prosperity blindly but provides a guide for us through the teaching contained in the Scriptures.

First, we must thank God for the gift of his teaching given to us as a path to prosperity. In the first reading from the book of Deuteronomy, Moses tells us that the law of God is not something that is too abstract or written in such a way that it cannot be accessed. This law is near to us, and accessible.  It is the Word of God that we read and hear frequently.  We are called to make the word of God come alive in us so that we can prosper in all that we do. In our traditional African societies, there were many rules and regulations presented in the form of taboos. These taboos were meant to help individuals to have harmonious relationships with God, the ancestors, neighbours, and the environment, ultimately leading to prosperity. Whenever there was a disaster like famine or drought, it was seen as a sign of disharmony in this relationship between God, ancestors, neighbours, and the environment. Hence, the relationship had to be restored so that the land and its people could prosper. For us Christians, God’s word serves as a guide to maintaining this kind of life-preserving harmony.

Today’s liturgy also tells us about the central role of Jesus Christ. He is the one who sustains everything that there is because, through his passion, death, and resurrection, Jesus has reconciled everything to God. As Christians in search of lasting prosperity, we must never forget that the person of Jesus stands at the center of our lives. All our pursuits, material and spiritual, must be related to him. In him, we find that spiritual connection to God that eventually gives us the greatest prosperity imaginable – eternal life.

The liturgy also teaches us that the quest for spiritual and material prosperity involves our relationship with our neighbour whom we encounter in our day to day activities. Jesus tells us that the neighbour is not necessarily the one who lives next door to us. Rather we are called to make neighbours through our acts of compassion, mercy, and inclusion. In our context, this is a call to go beyond tribalism, racism, and nationalism. Especially in our African society, tribalism is an issue that brings about the exclusion of people, putting them in boxes and labeling them as either evil or wicked. All human beings face the temptation to practice exclusion based on race and economic status. The practice of such exclusion is often seen as a way to protect one’s prosperity. However, we are reminded today that exclusion intended to protect prosperity ironically makes true prosperity impossible.

God has given to us the law, and the teaching of Jesus contained in the Scriptures, as a guide for the journey through life in a search for well-being and prosperity. These guidelines help us on the way to eternal life and union with Jesus. However, our earthly prosperity is also important, and it is achieved by making neighbours in this world, through acts of compassion, mercy, and inclusion. As the saying goes, “a good deed will make a good neighbour.”


“A good deed will make a good neighbour.”



How often do I remember that any of the success I enjoy in life is a gift from God?

Do I make others prosper? In what way?

Response to God

I will make a regular examination of conscience at the end of the day with particular attention to the ways in which I have been blessed and made to prosper by God’s grace and gifts.

Response to your World

In the course of this week, I will show appreciation to those around me and help them where possible to grow in their giftedness and thus make them prosper in it.

As a group, during our prayer session, we will make a cup from paper and each of us will put in it the name of a person or persons whom we have somehow blocked or prevented from achieving success. We will ask for their forgiveness and ask God’s blessings on them.


God our Heavenly Father, we thank you for your concern for our material and spiritual prosperity. We thank you for showing us the way to lasting prosperity through your commandments. Help us to live by them, and grant us the grace to help others also to live by them, so that together, as your loving children, we may reach eternal life with you. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, © 1989, 1993. Used with permission.

Young Missionaries Group


Last Sunday 07-07-2019, we celebrated the first anniversary of the Young Missionary group in our parish.  ‘Young Missionaries’ is a household name among the Divine Word Missionaries here in Kenya-Tanzania Province. First, it began in our parishes in Nairobi and only last year we inaugurated the group for the first time in our Epiphany Parish, Burka, Arusha.

This group was started to fill the vacuum that has been there between the period when the children complete their initial sacraments and when they are old enough to join the youth group. we realized that many of them mostly in their last grade in primary school and the majority in secondary school, get lost in between. only a very few of them join the youth group.

This group has brought a lot of life to our parish because the Young Missionaries are also the animators in the children’s mass. They meet on weekends to pray, share the word of God and other matters about life, especially in this adolescent period. Under the guidance of one religious sister and other lay volunteers, the group has grown significantly during the last year.


The young boys and girls have grown in confidence and enthusiasm regarding their active role in the parish. During the celebration, they demonstrated their talents and gifts. Through this group, our Parish has become a good model in the entire Archdiocese of Arusha. In fact, the Archbishop has asked us to share this good practice with other parishes in the Archdiocese.

We thank Sister Phillip from the congregation of Mary Immaculate and the other volunteers who have been great animators of this group.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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