Growing Trees

A few weeks ago we marked the World Tree Planting Day. The evening of that day the TV and Radio stations broadcast how senior government officials in collaboration with local and international NGOs marked the day by planting trees. However, the this year the message was a bit different from other years. Those who spoke urged the people that taking part in annual or occasional tree planting exercises does not mean much to the rapidly changing Earth’s climate if those trees are not natured until maturity. For many years many have participated in these type of exercises. These events only remain in pictures and the world’s forest cover continue to diminish. The message this year is “Do not plant trees, Glow trees instead”.

The efforts of dedicated people can transform a lot the face of our landscape with trees. No one understands this better than Fr. James Mailady, SVD. Fr. James has been growing trees in many different missions where he has worked for more than 20 years now. I remember visiting him in Doldol and Kimanju in Laikipia county back in 2005, where he was glowing many trees. Later on he moved to Orkesumet in Simanjiro District in Tanzania where he grew many trees that survive until today. A few years ago, Fr. James moved to the SVD Common Formation Centre in Langata Nairobi and there too he left many trees decorating the compound and giving shade and refreshing breeze to the compound.

Currently, Fr. James is working in St. Raphael SVD Community as a Novice Master and here too he continues to plant and grow trees.

On 12 June 2021, Fr. James led his community in a tree planting exercise whereby 300 indigenous trees were planted in the SVD compound in Katani, Machakos County. The exercise was graced by the presence of Mrs. Mary Mwai the Ecological Conservator Machakos county with her Assistant, The Principle, staff and the student from Divine Word boys, neigbouring religious congregations, Dr. Miriam Lemusian, St. Raphael Community members, the novices and friends.

To make sure that the trees grow to maturity, Fr. James had drip irrigation system installed to water the trees.

After the exercise, High Tea with snacks was served. The whole exercise costed KES 100,000, about USD 1,100 most of it going to the purchase of seedlings.

If you wish to support these efforts kindly check the Paybill number and Account number on “Support our Mission Menu on the top of this page. You can also Contact SVD on “Call or Write to us” menu.

Do not be afraid

Sunday Readings in Brief 12 B
Job 38:1.8-11; Ps 107,; 2 Cor 5:14-17; Mk 4:35-41

Why are you afraid?

Dear friends, today is the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time year B. As I explained previously, the Ordinary Time of the liturgical year is the season where we contemplate upon the teachings of Christ about the kingdom of God. Jesus is taking us through different aspects of the kingdom of God through his teachings and signs.

Are you afraid of anything at this moment in your life? Many things bring fear in our lives for instance, A student who is waiting for a very important examination may be afraid. A person who is about to get married may be afraid of whether the marriage will work. Someone who has made a big mistake in his or her work place may be afraid of losing the job. Someone who is very sick may be afraid of death. I guess all of us have experienced moments of fear and anxiety in our lives. Fear can cripple us and make us unable to focus on our day-to-day responsibilities. Fear can drive us mad or make us run helter-skelter looking for help. Fear is the favourite weapon of the devil. Once you instill fear on someone or a group of people, you can control them and lead them to do anything. The merchants of miracles in our streets and makeshift churches have discovered this weapon too. Do not be duped.

In today’s Gospel reading we see how the disciples of Jesus became so frightened of the storm that was about to sink their boat. The sea is our life and all the things that make us afraid can be compared to a storm. However, what disappoints Jesus is that his disciples are so afraid of the sinking while they have him on board, even after all he had told them about the Kingdom of God. He is amazed that they still did not believe a word he had told them earlier nor had they recognized who he was.

As Christians, we believe that God is Emmanuel (God with us) and that is the case then we need not be afraid of anything as long as we keep his commandments. If we have Jesus on board, many storms may hit us from all the sides but our boat will remain afloat. May be you are at crossroads in your life, if you have Jesus aboard your vessel, keep on sailing. You may have lost you job, having trouble in your marriage, not happy in your mission as a religious person, being persecuted by neighbours or colleagues at your work place, if you have Jesus on board keep on sailing my friend.

St. Paul tells us today “the love of Christ impels us on”. You may feel as if everyone is against you as you pursue your vocation, this could be a test on your resolve to achieve your goals. Do not give in to storms even if they come from your own people. Let the love of Christ impel you always because when you have him on board the storms will not sink your boat.

Many of us do not like to be challenged or opposed. We want everyone to agree with us in everything. This is utopia and such a situation does not exist in this world. The only way we can measure our resilience is by passing difficult tests in life and surviving many tests. If we like things simple and straightforward, we may never grow strong. Jesus made his disciples go through multiple tests and in the Gospel of Mark; they are presented as hardheaded fellows who were very slow to understand Jesus.

Dear friends, let us today reflect of the things that makes us afraid, and find a way of bringing Jesus on board to help us sail through the storms in our lives.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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