Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time year c| By Wojciech Szypula

First Reading: Sirach 3:17–18, 20, 28–29; Psalm 68:4–7, 10–11; Second Reading:  Hebrews 12:18–19, 22–24; Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7–14



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Psalm 68:4–7, 10–11

But let the righteous be joyful;

let them exult before God;

let them be jubilant with joy.

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;

lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds—

his name is the Lord—

be exultant before him.

Father of orphans and protector of widows

is God in his holy habitation.

God gives the desolate a home to live in;

he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,

but the rebellious live in a parched land.

Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad;

you restored your heritage when it languished;

your flock found a dwelling in it;

in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

Reading the Word

First Reading: Sirach 3:17–18, 20, 28–29

My child, perform your tasks with humility;

then you will be loved by those whom God accepts.

The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself;

so you will find favor in the sight of the Lord.

Neither seeks what is too difficult for you,

nor investigate what is beyond your power.

The mind of the intelligent appreciates proverbs,

and an attentive ear is the desire of the wise.

As water extinguishes a blazing fire,

so almsgiving atones for sin.

Second Reading: Hebrews 12:18–19, 22–24

You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them.

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7–14

On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.

When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you have been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


Hearing the Word

“Humility through Caring”

The theme of humility dominates the readings of this Sunday. Each discussion on humility takes place in its own unique context, revealing a particular aspect of this important and multifaceted virtue. Today’s liturgy discusses humility in connection with a caring concern for others.

The reading from the book of Sirach consists of two parts – exhortations and a proverb. The exhortations call the reader to practice humility in three concrete ways. First, a humble person is to perform his or her tasks in society with fidelity and conscientiousness, as opposed to those who would be negligent and lax in their commitments. Second, a humble person is not to use his or her social status as a pretext to take advantage of others. The greater the social status a person holds, the more service must he or she render to others. Finally, a humble person does not attempt to pursue the status of knowledge that is beyond his or her capacities and strengths. Here, humility is about an honest assessment of one’s abilities and fulfilling one’s potential to its fullest, rather than pursuing unachievable goals beyond one’s reach.

After this exhortation, Sirach praises those who listen attentively to the proverbs, which are a    means to teach wisdom. Proverbs are short, skilfully crafted statements that employ ordinary images to convey powerful messages and instructions for wise living. The reading concludes with a powerful proverb that crowns the message of the entire reading. The proverb compares water to almsgiving and a blazing fire to sin. Almsgiving and water have the same effect – both stop a destructive force. Fire destroys by turning to ashes, sin destroys by isolating a person from God and others. The connection between humility and almsgiving becomes obvious here. Humility, among other things, means performing one’s duties in society and the community. Almsgiving is one of the ways to fulfill these obligations because it reflects a genuine concern for others. Furthermore, performing acts of almsgiving removes the sin of indifference, and failures in charity manifested through the neglect and indifference towards others. Like water which quenches the fire, so almsgiving removes the sin resulting from the failure to perform a humble service in the community.

The theme of humility through caring forms the background for the second reading. The author of Hebrews shows that the caring humility of God expressed itself through the self-sacrifice of Jesus. The author makes his point by a highly imaginative comparison between two covenants.

When the first covenant was made, the Israelites came to the foot of Mount Sinai. There, God manifested his grandeur and glory through the magnificent natural phenomena of thunder, fire, tempest and the loud voice which frightened and overwhelmed the Israelites. The people were ordered not to touch or even approach the mountain of God’s dwelling on the penalty of death (cf. Exod 19:12-16). This was an overwhelming manifestation of God as the Lord of creation, the Holy One whom no ordinary mortal could approach.

With the second covenant, the people are invited to come to another mountain, Zion, and enter the heavenly city of God, joining a glorious assembly of the angels and the righteous who already inhabit it. This new covenant was made by Jesus who, by shedding his blood on the cross, removed the barriers that separated the sinful people from their holy God. Thanks to Jesus, the faithful can now enter the assembly of God’s people and be joined to their God. Significantly, the author compares the blood of Jesus with the blood of Abel. The book of Genesis states the blood of the righteous Abel who was murdered by his brother was “crying out to God from the ground”. It was a cry for vengeance and punishment for the murderer, Cain, who was subsequently cursed (Gen 4:10-12). The blood of Jesus “cried” from the cross with a very different voice. It cried words of forgiveness and reconciliation that brought sinful humanity back to God.

This reading reveals how God acted through Jesus to bring people to himself. This is not the remote and frightening God of the Sinai covenant but a God who acts with love and humility. God’s humility manifests itself through Jesus, who humbles himself to the point of accepting a shameful death on the cross (cf. Phil 2:8). His death is the ultimate expression of God’s caring concern for the salvation of his people. Thus, God, who is a majestic and Holy creator of the universe, is also a humble God who brings mortal people to himself through the self-giving offering of his son.

The gospel reading describes Jesus’ third and final meal with the Pharisees in the Gospel of Luke. At the time, one’s place at the banquet table was strictly determined by social rank, each guest would know exactly where to sit. The guests in the story behave strangely, claiming the highest places for themselves without any consultation with the host. Jesus points out that such behaviour would only lead to public humiliation and shame, as those who took the highest seats would be asked to step down and thus lose face before all present.

The foolish behaviour of the guests serves to make a point. Jesus teaches that one’s dignity and status cannot be determined apart from others. In the story, the host at the banquet determines the position where one is to sit. In life, what a person thinks of himself or herself must be verified on the grounds of the relationship he or she has with others. According to Jesus, how you relate to others determines where you stand in God’s eyes. Those who seek to elevate themselves by empty claims will suffer humiliation. Those who assume the humble position of servants will be recognized and elevated.

The second part of the gospel presents an example of actions that befit a humble servant. Appealing to the social conventions of the time, Jesus alludes to the custom of reciprocity. When invited to a banquet, a guest would be obliged to reciprocate and invite the host in his turn. It made sense to invite the wealthy because one would be invited by them in turn to an even more sumptuous meal. Instead, Jesus calls for inviting those who cannot repay in any manner – the poor and the ill. This would indeed be an act of disinterested concern for the less fortunate and vulnerable members of the community. Such disinterested concern provides the basis for judging a person’s true standing before God and is an example of what that humble service entails. 

All three readings link humility with a genuine concern for those in need. For Sirach, a wise person acts in accordance with his or her social status, and fulfills corresponding social obligations, particularly through almsgiving. In Hebrews, we see the holy and all-powerful God who chose to bring ordinary and mortal human beings to himself through the saving death of his son. Jesus went humbly to the cross and shed his blood for the sake of forgiveness and reconciliation, not vengeance. In the Gospel, Jesus teaches that self-exaltation leads to humiliation: good relationships and concern for the vulnerable lead to true greatness. The faithful are thus called to the practice of humility expressed through care, imitating the one whom the Psalmist calls, “the Father of orphans and protector of widows.”

Listening to the Word of God

Today’s liturgy invites us to a life of humility and concern for others. All the readings encourage us to emulate Christ who, through humility, removed the barrier between God and us.

The first reading portrays a person of integrity who knows and acknowledges the truth about himself. In this reading, humility is well defined as an honest assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses, without pretense or vain pursuit of unattainable goals.

Many of us become frustrated when we do not achieve our goals. Sometimes, even though aware of our capabilities, we still aim for unreachable goals. Doing so we engage in futile pursuit, becoming like a person who imagines seeing ocean waves while standing in the middle of a desert. To prevent such mistakes, we must honestly acknowledge our capabilities.

Such humility will enable us to make the best use of what we already have and walk the path of life that will be most fruitful for ourselves and others. It will also allow us to be of service to others through humble service. Our ability to use God’s gifts to best effect rests on the humble acknowledgment of what they are.

The second reading invites us to look at Christ who, out of his humble love for fallen humanity, shed his blood for us. His humility showed itself through his self-sacrifice, it was humility through care. Jesus’ caring humility teaches us that we are also called to care for others. When we see the needs of others, humility teaches us to give ourselves to meet them, at least in some measure. As Jesus wanted us to experience the God of the new covenant, the non-terrifying, and approachable God, we too are to help others experience the closeness and care of God the Father through our reaching out to them.

The Gospel clearly describes the rewards of humility. When a person is humble, others esteem him or her and respect them for what they are. They are seen as people of integrity who are at home with themselves and with others. When people realize that you are genuine, they esteem you even more and want to associate with you.

On some level, we all desire to be acknowledged and respected by others. The way to such esteem is generosity and self-sacrifice. However, acts of kindness, if not reciprocated, can easily lead to frustration and disillusionment. Indifference to what we do can discourage us from seeking respect in the right way. Instead, we might be tempted to seek recognition and esteem by showing others that we are more capable or better than they are. This is the wrong way. The Gospel invites us to practice kindness without expecting a reward for our deeds. Our humility should be one that leads us to care for and serve others counting only on the reward from our heavenly Father. Jesus practiced his humble service in such a way, and so must we.

In conclusion, as the disciples of Jesus in the present times, we ought to witness to God’s generosity with our lives. The heavenly Father continues to bless and be with us even in trying moments. We can do the same by being our true selves and being with our brothers and sisters with humility and generosity.


“To wash your hands clean you must wash them together.”



Am I a humble person in the sense described in today’s readings?

In what ways do I show my humility and generosity? Do I expect a reward for such acts?

Response to God

I will daily thank God, the Lord of the universe, for making himself approachable and close to me, a lowly human being.

Response to your World

I will carry out some works of charity not for those I know but to people who I do not know and who might never be able to pay me back.

As a community of believers, we shall pick an act of service to be done for each member within the group as a sign that we are together to serve each other.


Jesus, my humble and caring Savior, teach me to be truthful to myself and to reach out to others as you did. May I never stray from your path. Help me to become like you – a humble servant of the Father. Amen

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




The Holy Spirit is GOD

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On Sunday 18 August, St. Joachim and Ann SVD Parish in Soweto Nairobi celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation. 130 youths received the Sacrament. The Celebration was graced by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Nairobi.

In the same celebration, 11 couples blessed their marriage. Soweto Parish has grown significantly in the last decade both in faith and population. We congratulate all those who received the Sacraments and pray that they may remain faithful to the Christian responsibilities bestowed on them.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

Matepes Youth CENTER Self-Help Project


Two years ago, my friends from KIPEKEE (an Organizations that founded in Spain by some medical students when I was studying there) we’re running a free medical camp in the village of Matepes in Arusha, Tanzania. The camp saw many people receive free medical checkups and treatment. A number of them received free eye checkup and free spectacles. Tens of them received dental care and other general medical checkups.

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However, the exercise was not as smooth as we would have wanted, because of the language barrier and the high level of illiteracy among the village people. Many also were in bad conditions because of poverty and lack of basic skills to carry on profitable economic activities. Many youths have not gone to school and have no means to learn entrepreneurial skills that would enable them to engage themselves in self-employment.


This is how the idea of Matepes Youth Center was born, with a vision to change the quality of life of the villagers through education and training. We put together resources from different well-wishers, the majority from the campaigns conducted in the University where the medical students were studying to realize our mission that aimed at Constructing a learning Centre. In the first phase of the project, we constructed two standard classrooms, a computer room, and an office, all in one building. Later on, we installed furniture and electricity through the help of the Spanish SVD Mission Secretariat but we were stuck at this level due to lack of funds to buy training equipment.


Our plan was to start with a nursery school to prepare the children with basic English-Medium education before they could join the public primary school. However, this idea could not be implemented because we lacked enough land required by the Tanzania government Education regulations. So we opted to focus on vocational based training programmes such as tailoring for women and girls, computer literacy for the youth and a library for the village students, where they could study in the evenings and weekends, especially those preparing for the national examinations. These programmes would also bring them together to form a self-help group in the future. In these groups, they would invest in tailoring businesses as well as find jobs or employ themselves with computer skills they would acquire.



Thanks to the SVD Techny Mission Center, we have already acquired five sewing machines, six laptop computers (which can be charged and used when there is a power cut), and over 30 National Examination Review Books for the students sitting for the national examinations at the end of the year. On Sunday 14-07-2019 we presented the sewing machines to the community after the mass and on Monday 15-07-2019 we had our first sewing class. On 17-07-2019 we installed the computers and began the introductory class. We have also added National Examinations Review Books, for Grade 7, Form 2 & 4 which can access after their normal classes, since the Centre is only a few meters from the school. We have also volunteer teachers who will be helping them to revise well.

In order to sustain the project, the community agreed that those doing vocational training would contribute as little as 5 dollars per month as motivation for the volunteer teachers, instead of 30 dollars per month they would otherwise pay in Arusha town which is about 10 Kilometers away from the village, without counting transport and meals. Many of them do not have the means to raise that amount. Some of the girls who had been going to town for classes whenever they could raise the fees have now opted for the Center, which is a few hundred meters from their houses in the village. We have already started seeing the fruits of the project.

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The students doing revising for their examinations are only required to pay half a dollar monthly subscription. All are issued with Subscription cards. We hope and project that as time goes, the project will be able to run and sustain itself. We also are continuing with the registration process so that in future the learners can acquire relevant certificates and be able to look for formal employment.

In the future, we would like to expand and increase the courses offered to include catering, language classes and other indoor practical courses that will directly impact the lives of the local community. We want to most sincerely thank KIPEKEE, SVD Spanish Mission Secretariat, Techny Mission Office, and Friends from Madrid, Nairobi, and Arusha who have contributed to making this project kick-off.


Fr, Lawrence Muthee, SVD

Project Coordinator

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time year c | by Wojciech Szypula

Sermon on Mount

First Reading: Jeremiah 38:4–6, 8–10; Psalm: 40:2–4, 18; Second Reading: Hebrews 12:1–4; Gospel: Luke 12:49–53

 Psalm 40:2–4, 18

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the desolate pit,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the Lord.

As for me, I am poor and needy,

but the Lord takes thought for me.

You are my help and my deliverer;

do not delay, O my God.

Reading the Word

First Reading:  Jeremiah 38:4–6, 8–10

 Then the officials said to the king, “This man ought to be put to death, because he is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” King Zedekiah said, “Here he is; he is in your hands; for the king is powerless against you.” So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. Now there was no water in the cistern, but only mud and Jeremiah sank in the mud.

So Ebed-Melech left the king’s house and spoke to the king, “My lord king, these men have acted wickedly in all they did to the prophet Jeremiah by throwing him into the cistern to die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” Then the king commanded Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, “Take three men with you from here, and pull the prophet Jeremiah up from the cistern before he dies.”

Second Reading: Hebrews 12:1–4

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Gospel: Luke 12:49–53

“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three;  they will be divided:

father against son

and son against father,

mother against daughter

and daughter against mother,

mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law

and a daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Hearing the Word

“Salvific Divisions”

Today’s readings present three examples of deep divisions caused by the presence of God’s representative in society, but far from being destructive, these divisions ultimately served a salvific purpose.

The events described in the first reading took place in the tragic and chaotic days of the last king of Judah – Zedekiah. Judah was under the authority of the Babylonian empire with Zedekiah entrusted with ruling the country on behalf of his masters in Babylon. This situation displeased many Israelites. Various political groups emerged putting pressure on the king to rebel against Babylon and seek independence. These people believed that God did not want his beloved city, and the Temple, to be ruled by the hated foreigners, and would always protect it from destruction.

Jeremiah opposed such views. He was keenly aware that Zedekiah, the Israelite leadership and the majority of the people were not holding on to God’s covenant by obeying its laws. The prophet was also keenly aware that Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, would mercilessly and cruelly punish all who opposed his authority. These factors combined would inevitably lead to the destruction of Jerusalem. Sadly, the prophet was right.

The pro-war and pro-independence party prevailed upon the weak king, persuading him to begin the rebellion. In response, the Babylonian army quickly surrounded Jerusalem, starved the city and, after a two-year siege, utterly destroyed it.

During the siege, Jeremiah was in the city advocating immediate surrender and submission to Nebuchadnezzar as the only way to save Jerusalem and the Temple from destruction. He prophesied that everyone who continued the fight against the Babylonians would ultimately die in the city, and the city itself would be destroyed (Jer 37:6-10). This message was seen as treachery and betrayal by the officials who wanted to continue the hopeless fight, believing in God’s help. Thus, the leaders of the rebellion moved to get rid of the tiresome prophet by throwing him into an empty underground water tank, a cistern, where he would eventually die of starvation. With the agreement of the king, those Israelite leaders sought to silence the voice of God in their midst and follow their own plans. But God’s voice would not be silenced. Jeremiah was saved by another of the king’s officials who was, ironically, a foreigner. Ebed-Melech, an Ethiopian, recognizing Jeremiah as a true prophet of God persuaded King to free Isaiah saving him from certain death.

Jeremiah advocated surrender because he knew that God would not protect the city and the people who had abandoned God and did not live by God’s covenant. He knew that the nation needed a deeply religious and moral restoration before any dream of political independence could be pursued. Jeremiah’s message was deeply divisive because he spoke an unpopular truth which his opponents saw as a betrayal of the nation and of God. Ironically, it was God’s voice showing them the way to survive the Babylonian aggression which their own misguided beliefs and practices had brought upon the nation. The division Jeremiah created had salvific potential. Sadly, nobody in authority listened to him.

The Letter to the Hebrews was written to motivate believers to adhere to Christian ways while resisting the temptation to complacency, and the pressures from the opponents of this new faith. To do so, the author uses motivating examples of uncompromising adherence to faith.

First, in Hebrews 11:1-40, the author recalls a great number of the heroes of faith from the Old Testament who persevered in their faith while facing overwhelming challenges and even death. These ancient heroes are called “a great cloud of witnesses” who, like spectators in an athletic contest, are now watching the Christians who face similar struggles. Like ancient athletes who competed naked, Christians are admonished to strip themselves of every moral depravity and sin which burden them. Thus prepared, they are called to run a race which is like a contest to persevere in the faith. The whole scene presents Christians as contestants engaged in a great competition with the power of sin, which seeks to overtake them.

The second example is Jesus, who was engaged in a contest of his own. By embracing the cross as the means to redeem humankind, and by offering the ultimate sacrifice of his own life, Jesus won a decisive victory over sin and death. However, he first had to endure the “shame” of public execution, enduring the hostility and humiliation inflicted upon him by his opponents. By remaining faithful, and committed to his mission and purpose, Jesus prevailed in this contest. For this reason, the author of Hebrews calls him the pioneer and perfecter of the faith – he is the ultimate model and example of faith. Enthroned on the right hand of God Jesus is like a supreme athlete who had contested in the challenge of faith and had prevailed. Imitating him, Christians are asked to face hostility from sinners, courageously and with determination, even to the point of shedding their blood.

Ultimately, the author calls believers to stand apart from the rest of society which the author sees as sinful and corrupt. As morally impeccable and God-fearing followers of Christ, Christians are to represent the values and behaviour that many in their society would reject and oppose. Their distinctiveness would make their presence in society divisive. For some it would be an example to follow, for others, it would be a sign to be opposed. In either case, their firm stand and commitment to Christian ways would be a powerful point of reference for those who seek to live righteous lives.

The gospel passage cites the troubling words of Jesus who speaks of himself as a bringer of fire and division, not of peace. The fire symbolizes judgment upon those who reject God by rejecting Jesus as the Messiah and God’s Son. The baptism which Jesus is to undergo is his own death on the cross (cf. Mark 10:38-39). Finally, Jesus’ presence divides families depending on whether their members accept or reject Jesus as the Messiah. For the early Christians, the division on account of adherence to Jesus was a daily experience. Becoming a Christian often meant exclusion from the family and expulsion from a particular religious and social group. Yes, Jesus did come to bring peace to earth, however, his message and his presence are intrinsically divisive, a division depending on whether there is acceptance or rejection of Jesus and his message. Those who choose God will experience peace and blessing, those who reject God will face judgment. In this sense, Jesus’ presence in the world was truly divisive.

Today’s readings show that adherence to God often brings divisions. Jeremiah’s message was divisive because of his firm opposition to armed rebellion and his advocacy for the return to God through repentance and moral reforms as the way to survival. The author of Hebrews insisted that Christians must be separated from the world by their adherence to the Christian faith and moral norms. Jesus’ presence brought divisions that often ran through the very heart of the family and society. Thus, the divisions caused by God’s messengers and adherents had salvific potential because they called for reflection on, and re-examination of, life, in hope that, in the words of the Psalmist, “many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

Listening to the Word of God

The message of today’s liturgy is challenging and difficult. We are used to thinking about Christianity as a religion of peace. This is certainly true. However, it must be acknowledged that, in its two-thousand-year-long history, this faith has brought numerous divisions into the world.

When speaking about divisions we must carefully distinguish between the damaging divisions caused by human malice in various forms and that division which emerge as a result of standing up for what is right and true. Divisions which Christianity and its adherents bring into the world should always be of the second kind.

A story comes to mind of a certain religious sister working with a native tribal group in a remote rural area. This particular group’s land was being taken over by settlers who happened to come from the same region as the sister, they were her people. The sister would go and stay among the native people and her presence quickly became divisive. Many of those intending to size the land branded her a traitor and even threatened her with death. Others acknowledged their wrongs and sided with her. The settler’s community became fiercely divided. Eventually, it all ended well, and a settlement was reached. The sister’s divisive presence eventually led to peace.

However, many counterexamples can also be cited. We all know of individuals and leaders in the community who bring division because of their selfish ambitions and vices. They divide communities by claiming the allegiance of the members and then manipulate them to serve their purposes. This is an example of the divisions which must be eradicated from Christian communities because when such divisions occur the community is doomed to internal destruction.

Generally, all Christians are called to be a divisive presence in the world, but not by bringing conflict, but by the counter-cultural example of their lives. In today’s world with its lack of moral norms and guidelines, a world where everything is permissible, Christians need to demonstrate a well-focused and clear moral life in the face of laxity and dissolution. Standing up and refusing to partake in corruption, abuse of resources, manipulation and many other practices that go against the teaching of Jesus is a way of standing up against “the sin of the world”. This will surely create divisions around such persons as some will admire them and some will respond with ridicule and harassment. However, the divisions caused by a positive example always carry a salvific potential because of their influence that could be life-changing.

Jesus did bring divisions into the world. His adherents and followers were often singled out for persecution because of their faith and life, as happens to this day. Yet, the divisions Jesus brought were not based on the abuse of power but rather on a peaceful but powerful testimony to the truth about God and the right way to live. As his disciples, we are called to oppose society so often divided by greed and the struggle for power. This opposition takes the form of a visible example of Christian life and values, even if those are unpopular or unfashionable. As spiritual descendants of the early Christians and inspired by the examples of Jeremiah and Jesus, we must firmly stand up for our faith and moral standards, even if doing so brings divisions and opposition. Today’s liturgy assures us that such divisions are ultimately salvific.


“Truth is only visible to those who are able to question what they have been told to believe”.



When was the last time I stood up against something that was wrong or unjust? What was the occasion?

Did I ever oppose someone who was acting justly and correctly because of my own ill will or dislike for that person? What can I do to atone for that?

Response to God

In my daily prayer, I will ardently request God for the clarity of mind to know right from wrong and truth from falsehood and to have the strength to stand for these.

Response to your World

I will identify a piece of behaviour I should challenge or oppose in my Christian community as contrary to Jesus’ teaching and the Christian faith. I will take appropriate action.

As a group, we will discuss in what way we could imitate Jeremiah and address some of the wrongs or errors of the leadership in our community. We will decide on the best way to address these concerns in the spirit of the peaceful but firm challenge.


 Lord God, who sent the prophets, and your own Son, into the world to testify to the truth, lead me to a sound understanding of what is right and true so that by my life and by my words I may reveal it to the world. Even if I should become a sign that is opposed and a divisive presence, give me the wisdom to ensure that what I do and say ultimately brings your salvation closer to this world. Amen.

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



My Apostolate | by Frt Emmanuel Kimario Beda SVD

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Frt. Frt Emmanuel Kimario Beda SVD is A Tanzania SVD student, currently studying Theology in Argentina. A few weeks ago, I asked him to tell me how the mission in Argentina is and what he was involved in as his apostolate. This is what he narrated to me:


 “My apostolate is based on accompanying the children and families who are living in one of the slums, called Ines Slum  ́ ́Villa Ines ́ ́ located some a few kilometers from the main city of Cordoba. The situation is very difficult for most of the slum dwellers. The families consist of single mothers with six to eight children; in some cases, each child has a different father.

The girls aged about 15 years of age have lived the experience of women of 40 years of age. For example, there is a family with four girls and all of them have babies; with the youngest of them being only 15 years of age and have just delivered.  Despite the fact that life is very difficult, the number of children continues to increase day after day.


Access to education formal education for them is just but a dream due to lack of income. At the beginning of my apostolate, I was surprised that boys and girls between 12 and 15 years were not attending school. At first, I couldn’t believe and I thought they were joking with me so I had to talk to their mothers who gave me even a more detailed picture of the situation. They explained that the children could not go to school, because going to school needed one to have a stable income, so it is better that they remain and take care of the house while I go to work in town. The work in town here means either prostitution or drug trafficking.

Emma 2

For that reason, there is a high crime rate such as child abuse, robbery, many rape cases, etc. The young ones are also growing up in this context and picking up these behaviours. This is evident even in their language, gestures and actions towards their peers, such as throwing of stones at each other, and sometimes even towards me. One time when I was serving tea, one of the boys intentionally poured it on my hand and asked me how I felt, this made me be always careful in my apostolate.

Well in this context what I do is, my task is dedicating my time, with the help of some Ursuline Sisters, to accompany the families, the single mothers by mostly to listen to them, educating them and sometimes helping them to get some legal knowledge so that they can acquire relevant documents. Also, we try to monitor and detect their children behaviours and report them to their parents. For example, one day I noted one 5-year-old boy behaving strangely and when I tried to approach him he run away, then I noticed that he had a big wound on his hand, and he had been having it for a couple of days without the knowledge of the mother. Therefore, we called emergency services and after treatment, we informed the mother.

Normally before breakfast, we try to teach to share bread with others, because the issue of sharing is a problem. Thanks be to God the seeds have been growing and slowly the sharing attitude has developed in many of them. After breakfast, we have catechism classes. Our preferred teaching method is through videos and games, showing the fundamental values of the kingdom of God. This is in the effort of trying to make them understand the Love of God, even in their difficult life situations. The apostolate is very challenging because most of them have never experienced love.

For those who have an opportunity to go to school, I help them in some subjects such Mathematics and English because they do they cannot afford tuition after school. I am sure this is where God wants me to be for now as a religious person, to make Him palpable through my actions more than words more closely and friendly by others.

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What makes me happy now is the happy faces of the young stars I see every time I arrive in the slum, which was not the case during the first few days.  The same applies to mothers because I have become a friend to their children. Like in any other apostolate there are many challenges in mine too and the big one is the fear of being accused of child abuse because there are so many cases here of religious people who have abused children. Some also use it as a way to extort money and if a religious is accused, the case is taken seriously and it is difficult to clear one’s name.

All said and done, I must say that I appreciate this apostolate because it has exposed me to new realities that has helped me and is still helping me to grow as a missionary. I have also realized that sometimes silence is the best way of expressing oneself and people will even understand better. I always pray that our Good Lord may help me to be able to preach the Divine Word with my Life and not with my mouth. May my presence be the opened Bible for people to read”.

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