Acting Jesus vs Imitating Jesus

Sunday readings in brief 3 C
Neh 8:2-6,8-10; Ps 18 (19); 1 Cor 12:12-30; Lk 1:1-4,4:14-21
Acting Jesus vs imitating Jesus
Dear friends, today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary time. Jesus has already commenced his ministry of preaching the Kingdom of God and he is inviting us to listen attentively to his teachings. Jesus is the first missionary of the Kingdom of God to us here on earth. He handed the baton to his disciples who established a missionary Church. In baptism, we all have become missionaries of the Kingdom of God and as such, we are sent to bring the Gospel all those we encounter by word and deed.
In the first reading, we are told that after listening to the book of the law attentively, the people of Israel wept. This is because they were pierced in their hearts and overjoyed by its contents. The Psalmists sings that the words of the Lord are spirit and they are life, and the law of the Lord is perfect it revives the soul.
Dear friends, we go to Church to celebrate our faith in God and his wonderful mission of salvation in Christ Jesus. If we are attentive to the word that we read and reflect upon every day or every Sunday, we will definitely reap many benefits. The word of God speaks to us in all the situations we are. To those who are suffering and hopeless the word of God gives hope for a better tomorrow. To those struggling with challenges the word gives strength to soldier on. To those persecuted for good cause, the word gives strength and a thousand reasons to continue doing good things. Do you listen attentively to the word of God?
We who have been baptized in one faith are called to remain united as parts of the same body of Christ. This week we are praying for the Unity of all those believe in Christ. St. Paul uses many words to explain the importance of Christian Unity. Just as the parts of the body are many but form one functional body, we too, each one with his or her gifts must strive always to foster unity with those around him or her. It is very sad that instead of being one in Christ Jesus, many Christian denominations preach division. There is a kind of competition among the Churches on the bases of who ‘owns’ more powerful charism than the other. Paul compares this mess among Christians with disagreement among the parts of the same body.
For the human body to function, the parts that are considered more important have to be healthy and working in harmony with those regarded as least important. When the toenail is broken and in pain, the whole leg cannot function well and the entire body will be grounded. The charism given to all the members of the church of Christ are intended to be complete the same body. Each one is called to function individually but for the benefit of the entire body of Christ. When your neighbour is in pain and crying, you cannot enjoy your delicious meal.
In the Gospel Passage today, Jesus makes public his mission as prophesied by Prophet Isaiah. He is the anointed one of God who has come to bring good news to all of us in our various conditions. If we give Jesus a chance in our lives, he is willing to transform us because it is for this purpose that he came.
We are told in the first reading that “Ezra the Scribe read from the book of the Law of God, translating and giving the sense, so that the people understood what was read. This means that the word of God is not self-explanatory and for this matter, God has anointed people from our midst to read the word, translate and give it the sense so that all can understand. The biggest problem we have today in our faith communities is that the aspect of instruction or catechesis has been long abandoned. Instead, people prefer emotionally charged and spirit lifting kind of preaching. The time to reflecting and imbibing the contents of the Gospel has been replaced with theatrics in the name of miracles. We see people investing a lot in the art of “acting Jesus” than “imitating him”. The results of this is mediocrity of faith. No matter how much we frequent places of worship, our life situation remain “as it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen”. I desire mercy not sacrifice, say the Lord” (Hos 6:6).
Dear friends, I invite us today to evaluate our believe and see if we really understand well and strive to live the in-depth Christian values and not the public show to satisfy our ego.

Have a blessed Sunday.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

Tafakari fupi masomo ya mwaka 3 C
Neh 8:2-6,8-10; Zab 18 (19); 1 Cor 12:12-30; Lk 1:1-4,4:14-21
Kumwigiza Yesu na Kumwiga Yesu
Ndugu zangu, leo ni Jumapili ya 3 ya Mwaka C. Tayari Yesu ameanza kazi yake ya kuhubiri ufalme wa Mungu na anatualika kusikiliza kwa makini mafundisho yake. Yesu ni mmisionari wa kwanza wa Ufalme wa Mungu kwetu hapa duniani. Aliwaachia kazi hii wanafunzi wake ambao walianzisha Kanisa la kimisionari. Katika ubatizo, sisi wote tumefanyika wamisionari wa Ufalme wa Mungu and kwa hivyo, tumetumwa kuhubiri Injili kwa wote tunaokutana nao kwa maneno na matendo.
Katika somo la kwanza, tumesikia kwamba baada ya kusikiliza kwa makini kitabu cha torati, Waisraeli walilia machozi. Hii ni kwa sababu walichomwa mioyoni na kufurahi kwa yale walioyasikia. Mzaburi anaimba kwamba “maneno ya Bwana ni roho na ni uhai, na sheria ya Bwana ni kamilifu inahuisha roho”.
Ndugu zangu, tunaenda Kanisani kusheherekea imani yetu kwa Mungu na maajabu ya wokovu wake katika Kristu Yesu. Kama tupo makini katika neno tunalosoma na kutafakari kila siku au kila Jumapili, bila shaka tutavuna matunda yake. Neno la Mungu linanena nasi katika hali zote tulizo nazo. Kwa wale wanaoteseka na kukata tamaa, neno la Mungu uwapa matumaini kwamba kesho mambo yatakuwa mazuri. Kwa wale wanapitia changamoto, neno uwapa nguvu za kuendelea na safari. Kwa wale wanaonyanyaswa kwa kutenda mema, neno linawapa nguvu na sababu elfu za kuendelea kutenda mema. Je, unasikiliza neno la Mungu kwa umakini?
Sisi tuliobatizwa katika imani moja tumealikwa kudumu katika umoja kama viungo vya mwili mmoja wa Kristu. Wiki hii tunaombea umoja wa wale wote wanaomwamini Kristu. Paulo anatumia maneno mengi kuelezea umuhimu wa umoja wa Wakristu. Kama vile viungo ni vingi vinavyounda mwili mmoja, sisi pia, kila mmoja na karama yake, tunaalikwa kujitahindi kuishi kwa umoja na wale wanaotuzunguka. Ni jambo la kuhuzunisha kwamba badala ya kuwa na umoja katika Kristu, madhehebu mengi ya Kikristu yanahubiri utengano. Kuna mashindano mabaya kati ya makanisa nani ana karama yenye nguvu kuliko mwingine. Mt. Paulo analinganisha hii na utengano kati ya viungo vya mwili mmoja.
Ili mwili wa mwanadamu uweze kufanya kazi vizuri, viungo ambavyo vinaonekana vya maana zaidi lazima viwe na afya na kufanya kazi kwa pamoja na viungo vinavyoonekana sio vya maana sana. Wakati kucha ya kidole cha mguu imevunjika na kuuma, mguu wote unashindwa kufanya kazi na mwili mzima unabaki kukaa kwa uchungu. Karama tulizopewa kila mmoja katika Kanisa la Kristu zimekusudiwa kuukamilisha mwili huo mmoja. Wakati jirani yako ana njaa na kulia, huwezi kufurahia mlo wako mtamu.
Katika somo la Injili leo, Yesu anatangaza wazi utume wake kama ilivyotabiriwa na nabii Isaya (Isa 61). Yeyé ndiye mpakwa mafuta wa Bwana aliyekuja kuleta habari njema kwetu sote katika hali zetu mbalimbali. Tukimpa Yesu nafasi katika maisha yetu, atatubadilisha kwa sababu hii ndiyo sababu ya kuja kwake.
Tumesoma katika somo la kwanza kwamba “Ezra mwandishi alisoma kitabu cha torati ya Mungu, akaeleza maana yake, hata wakayafahamu yaliyosomwa (Neh 8:8). Hii ina maana kwamba neno la Mungu sio kawaida kulielewa. Kwa hivyo Mungu amewapaka mafuta watu kati yetu ili kutusomea, kueleza na kulipa maana neno la Mungu katika mazingira yetu ili tuweze kulielewa na kuiishi. Shida kubwa tuliyonayo katika Jumuiya zetu za kiimani ni kwamba katekesi au mafundisho ya imani yamewekwa pembeni. Badala yake, watu wanapendelea zaidi ibada za hisia na mahubiri yanayoinua roho kwa muda mfupi. Ule muda wa kutafakari na kusaga mafundisho ya injili umechukuliwa na ngurumo za upako na miujiza. Tunaona watu wanavyotumia raslimali nyingi kumuigiza Yesu badala ya kumuiga Yesu. Hii inachangia uvuguvugu tulio nao katika Jumuiya zetu za kiimani. Haijalishi mara ngapi tunatembelea sehemu za ibada maisha yetu yataendelea “kama mwanzo na sasa na siku zote na milele, amina”. “Maana nataka fadhili wala si sadaka na kumjua Mungu kuliko sadaka za kuteketeza” (Hos 6:6)
Ndugu zangu, nawaalikeni leo tutafakari juu ya imani yetu na kuangalia kana kwamba tunaelewa kwa ndani maandili yetu ya Kikristu au ni maonyesho tu ya kuturithisha nafsi.
Uwe na Jumapili njema.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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