Homilies

MIRACLE OF GENEROSITY

Eighteenth Sunday of the Year A – August 2, 2020

First Reading: Is 55: 1-3. An invitation is addressed to the exiles in Babylon to come to a banquet of friendship and love that God wants to share with his people.

Second Reading: Rom 8: 35. 37-39. No matter how hard and bad times we may have to go through, we remain steadfast, because we are certain of the love of Christ.

Gospel: Mt 14: 13-21. The compassion of Jesus toward the people is overwhelming. He heals the sick and feed the hungry. 

Homily

I have two favourite contemporary Saints I admire and try to imitate. These are Saint John Paul II and Saint Theresa of Calcutta (Mother Theresa). These two saints are for me the embodiment of the miracle of generosity Jesus speaks about in today’s Gospel. In her ministry, once Mother Theresa came across a Hindu family that did not eat for days. She took some rice and gave it to the family. What happened next surprised her. 

Without wasting time, the Hindu mother divided the rice into two. She took one half of it and gave it to the family next door, which happened to be a muslim family. Mother Theresa was surprised seeing the generosity of the Hindu mother and asked if the rice wasn’t enough for one family. But the woman replied that the family neighbour hadn’t eaten for days either. 

The miracle of the loaves and fishes could be called a miracle of generosity. We see first the generosity of the boy, who, with his gift of five loaves of bread and two fish, made the miracle possible. It was a little gift but for the boy, it was all that he had. It is easy to give something that we won’t really miss. But when the gift is as desperately needed by the giver as by the receiver, that is true giving, that’s sacrifice. This is the first miracle of generosity we see in today’s Gospel. 

Then there was the marvelous generosity of Jesus. To really understand and appreciate Jesus’ generosity, we need to consider the circumstances of the miracle. It is easy to reach out to others when everything is fine but not so easy when we are having personal issues to deal with. So it was with Jesus. He just learned about the murder of his cousin, John the Baptist. He needed peace and quiet to recollect himself. That’s why he and the apostles crossed to the far side of the lake. But as soon as he stepped outside of the lake, he saw a crowd of people waiting for him. He could have sent them away. Instead he had compassion on them and gave himself to them. He even went far with his generosity. He fed them all to the point that, there was enough leftover, twelve full baskets left over. This is truly a miracle of generosity. 

Generosity is always about giving things. But it is also about giving of yourself, of your time, your gifts and talents. Giving things can be so easy but giving of yourself is not easy. Jesus teaches us how to give things to others and above all how to give of yourself to others. Jesus nourishes us of his word, body and blood at the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we taste the love of God which Saint Paul talks about in the second reading. As we experience that love in the Eucharist, we need to share that love with others.

MIRACLE OF GENEROSITY

Eighteenth Sunday of the Year A – August 2, 2020

First Reading: Is 55: 1-3. An invitation is addressed to the exiles in Babylon to come to a banquet of friendship and love that God wants to share with his people.

Second Reading: Rom 8: 35. 37-39. No matter how hard and bad times we may have to go through, we remain steadfast, because we are certain of the love of Christ.

Gospel: Mt 14: 13-21. The compassion of Jesus toward the people is overwhelming. He heals the sick and feed the hungry. 

Homily

I have two favourite contemporary Saints I admire and try to imitate. These are Saint John Paul II and Saint Theresa of Calcutta (Mother Theresa). These two saints are for me the embodiment of the miracle of generosity Jesus speaks about in today’s Gospel. In her ministry, once Mother Theresa came across a Hindu family that did not eat for days. She took some rice and gave it to the family. What happened next surprised her. 

Without wasting time, the Hindu mother divided the rice into two. She took one half of it and gave it to the family next door, which happened to be a muslim family. Mother Theresa was surprised seeing the generosity of the Hindu mother and asked if the rice wasn’t enough for one family. But the woman replied that the family neighbour hadn’t eaten for days either. 

The miracle of the loaves and fishes could be called a miracle of generosity. We see first the generosity of the boy, who, with his gift of five loaves of bread and two fish, made the miracle possible. It was a little gift but for the boy, it was all that he had. It is easy to give something that we won’t really miss. But when the gift is as desperately needed by the giver as by the receiver, that is true giving, that’s sacrifice. This is the first miracle of generosity we see in today’s Gospel. 

Then there was the marvelous generosity of Jesus. To really understand and appreciate Jesus’ generosity, we need to consider the circumstances of the miracle. It is easy to reach out to others when everything is fine but not so easy when we are having personal issues to deal with. So it was with Jesus. He just learned about the murder of his cousin, John the Baptist. He needed peace and quiet to recollect himself. That’s why he and the apostles crossed to the far side of the lake. But as soon as he stepped outside of the lake, he saw a crowd of people waiting for him. He could have sent them away. Instead he had compassion on them and gave himself to them. He even went far with his generosity. He fed them all to the point that, there was enough leftover, twelve full baskets left over. This is truly a miracle of generosity. 

Generosity is always about giving things. But it is also about giving of yourself, of your time, your gifts and talents. Giving things can be so easy but giving of yourself is not easy. Jesus teaches us how to give things to others and above all how to give of yourself to others. Jesus nourishes us of his word, body and blood at the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we taste the love of God which Saint Paul talks about in the second reading. As we experience that love in the Eucharist, we need to share that love with others.

DO NOT BE AFRAID

Twelfth Sunday of the Year-June 21, 2020

 

First Reading: Jer 20: 10-13. Jeremiah had the knowledge that God was with him. This enabled him to remain faithful to his difficult task as a prophet.

 

Second Reading: Rom 5: 12-15. Saint Paul draws a contrast between Christ and Adam. Sin came into the world through Adam and abundant grace through Jesus Christ. 

 

Gospel: Mt 10: 26-33. Christ exhorts his disciples to be fearless witnesses to the Gospel. He assures them of God’s special care in all their trials.

 

Homily

When Jesus sent his apostles out to proclaim openly and to witness to him before the world, he knew that they were fearful. The apostles had good reason to be fearful, because they knew that they had to face hardship and persecution. So, not once but three times Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.”

It is normal and natural that courage will sometimes fail us and that we will be afraid. All those who have accomplished great things in the world, have known fear at one time or another in their life. We think of the Prophet Jeremiah in the first reading of today, we think of Jesus himself in the garden of Gethsemane. 

Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. Fear sometimes, has a protective function, warning us of the presence of danger. Nevertheless, fear can be a handicap. It can paralyse a person. Fear can turn a person into a coward. 

Once upon a time there was a mouse that had a crippling fear of cats. God took pity on it and turned it into a cat. But then it became afraid of the dogs. So, God turned it into a dog. So, it became afraid of panthers. Then God turned it into a panther. It became afraid of hunters. At this point God gave up. He turned it back into a mouse saying, ‘nothing I do for you is going to be of any help because you have the heart of a mouse.’

Jesus knew that the apostles were afraid. He understood their fears and took them seriously. When he said to them, ‘do not be afraid’, he was addressing their fears and trying to allay them. He was trying to give them courage. He was trying to move them beyond fear, knowing that fear could make them so timid to the point of being unable to fulfill their mission. 

How did he suggest they should overcome their fears? Through trust in God and reliance on God. Jesus urged them to have trust in God. Jesus assured them that God knew every detail of their lives, and would support them in every crisis. 

The prophet Jeremiah lived out his vocation during a time of great turmoil, which saw the defeat of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. He lived with constant threats to his life. Yet, in spite of everything, he remained faithful to his calling. What was it that enabled him to overcome his fears and remain faithful to his mission? It was the conviction that God was in his side: “The Lord is at my side, a mighty hero.”

God is at our side too. And while at times we grow fearful, we must not allow our fears to cripple us. To live a Christian life requires courage. But then any meaningful living requires courage. What we need in life is not so much heroism but ordinary courage. Courage is the most important virtue in life. Because without courage you can’t practise any other virtue with constancy. And Faith is a great source of courage. As men and women of faith, we believe that God will give us the strength to cope with whatever comes. 

The greatest freedom of all is freedom from fear. Unless we overcome our fears, we cannot live a dignified human life. We can have political freedom, economic freedom, emancipation and the many other freedoms, if I am not free from fear, I remain slave of myself. Nevertheless, fear and courage are not mutually exclusive. They can and do coexist. Courage is never being afraid. Courage is being afraid, overcoming it, or carrying on in spite of it. 

You want to be a disciple of Jesus? remove the heart of a mouse and have a brave heart. May the Lord give each and every one of us, a brave heart, a heart of Jeremiah and Paul. Amen.

RECEIVING THE WORD

Fifteenth Sunday of the Year A, July 12, 2020

First Reading: Is 55: 10-11. God cares for the earth. He sends for the rain to make it fruitful. He cares for us and He sends His word.

Second Reading: Rom 8: 18-23. The glory that awaits us in the life is far better and grand compare to the suffering of this present life.

Gospel: Mt 13: 1-23. Jesus compares the word of God to a seed falling into the ground.

 

Homily

 

In order to respond to God’s word, one needs to receive it first, treasure it, and put it into practice. But what do we hear often from people who have exactly receive, treasure and put into practice the word of God? they say, “the more I practice, the worse I get.” All of us can feel like that at times. Maybe we are not getting worse, but we are not improving much either. Think of how many times we have heard the word of God since the day we were baptised. Why haven’t we improved? The answer to this question lies in the parable Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel.

It is important to note that in only one case was the word rejected outright. In the other three cases, the word was received with joy. Then we realise that the problem is not in receiving God’s word. It is rather in treasuring and putting it into practice. There are therefore, three steps involved in responding to God’s word: Receiving it, treasuring it, and practicing it. Let us have a closer look at each step.

The first step is hearing or receiving the word of God. we can call it the mind step. It involves listening attentively to Scriptures being read and explained. In the context of the mass (Eucharist), if you missed the hearing or receiving step, the second and third steps are already lost. The mind step or the receiving step is very important. That’s why it is always recommendable for us to come to church early, sit in at least 10 to 15 minutes before the mass starts. To prepare ourselves for this first step of the hearing of the word of God. sometimes we can be in church while the word is being read and broken to us but our mind is not present. 

The second step is treasuring God’s word. We can call it the heart step. It involves taking to heart the word we have just heard. This step is very important in our life as it involves taking to heart the word we have just heard. We meditate, pray about the word and its implications for our life and how we can improve our life for the better. This step doesn’t necessarily take place in church. It may begin in church but it continues during the week ahead, as we think and pray about the word we heard on Sunday. It helps us to examine our conscience, and our way of life. This step also helps us to share the word with others. When asked what did you learn from today’s church service, we need to be able to explain this heart step.

The third step is putting God’s word into practice. If we can call the first step, the mind step, the second step, the heart step, then this third step can be called the soul step. This step involves acting on what our mind has received and what our heart has treasured. 

So, there are three steps in hearing the word of God: the mind step-receiving or hearing the word; the heart step-treasuring the word; and the soul step-putting it into practice. 

Have we ever wondered why we are not better practicing Catholics? Today’s Gospel may have an important message for us. If we are not better practicing Catholics, maybe because we are not responding to God’s word with our whole mind, our whole heart and our whole soul. The Gospel message today is a call for us to start responding to God’s word with all our mind, heart and soul. 

Jesus, I trust in You.

ASCENSION OF THE LORD-THE OMNIPRESENCE OF OUR LORD

 

First Reading: Acts 1: 1-11. Jesus ascends into heaven and promises the Holy Spirit to his disciples. 

Second Reading: Eph 1: 17-23. Paul gives the meaning of Ascension: God raised Jesus above all world powers and made Him the head of the Church and Lord of creation. 

Gospel: Mt 28: 16-20. Jesus commissions his apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations and he promises to be with them always. 

Homily

The mission of Jesus on earth is completed. Now it is time for him to ascend into heaven to take his seat on his throne for eternity. Is the mission of Jesus on earth really completed? The answer is Yes and No. 

Yes, because Jesus is indeed gone to heaven to take seat on his glorious throne. No, because his mission on earth is not completed as he promised to his disciples to be with them until the end of the earth. Therefore, the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven is both the end and the beginning.

The apostles might have been frightened and confused at the same time. They were with Jesus, then he died and rose again. He appeared various time to them and finally he ascended to the Father before their eyes. But he said to them that it was better for him to go so that the advocate would come to lead them into all truth. for these, the apostles went from joy to fear, to relief and more joy, to confusion and sorrow, to curiosity and uncertainty. 

Do the feelings of the apostles sound familiar? Perhaps that is the way some of us find our lives to be. Our lives are filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, twists and turns. Each phase of our lives reveals something new or challenging, something glorious or sorrowful. The good news is that, God is always in control of our lives if we surrender it to Him.

Jesus sits now in the driver’s seat of our lives in heaven. From his heavenly kingdom, Jesus descends into our lives to fulfil his mission. The Ascension does not mean, Jesus is gone, rather it means that Jesus is now omnipresent, continually present in us, with us and through us. Jesus is permanently present to everyone who turns to him and surrenders his/her life to Him. From heaven, Jesus is now able to be present to us all. This feast is the new beginning of the Church in which we await the coming of the Holy Spirit. 

As we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven and his omnipresence on earth, let us reflect upon the abiding and intimate presence of Jesus Christ in our life. We have been invited to share in Jesus’ mission and in baptism, we have the mandate to preach the Gospel. Jesus wants you to do your part of His Father’s plan of evangelisation and that all shall be saved. what is your part? Ponder this question today and remember that every time you say Yes to Jesus, he is with you and accompanies you always. The first Christians understood this very well. They knew that Jesus was still with them, even not in the same way as before. They believed Jesus shared their lives and that after death, they will be united with Jesus in his glory forever. Jesus is still with us in the Eucharist, Jesus is still with us in his Word, Jesus is still with us in the neighbour, the sick, the needy, Jesus is still in us every time we call upon his name. Amen.

Happy Feast of the Ascension to you all dear sisters and brothers.

Jesus, I trust in You.

Rev. Fr. Jean-Marie Kuzituka Did’ho

Saints Maria Goretti & Joseph Parishes

www.kjmdidhobooks.co.za

        

Racism Report

archdiocese of joburg logo 194x300

Download the Report on Racism in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg here.
Click on the logo 

booksad

Click on the ad for more information

SA Catholic Bishops' Conference

linksacbc

 

 

 

 

                         Click on logo

Archdiocese of Johannesburg

jhbarch

 

 

 

 

                       Click on the logo

 

SA Catholic Online Books

bookslogo

 Fr Jean-Marie Did'ho uses the services of
SA Catholic Online Books.
Click on the logo

 

 

 

JSN Epic is designed by JoomlaShine.com