Homilies

THE CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST AT EMMAUS

Third Sunday of Easter – 26 April 2020

First Reading: Acts 2: 14. 22-28. Peter preaches to the Jews about the resurrection of Jesus on the feast day of Pentecost.

Second Reading: 1 Pet 1: 17-21. All the benefits we enjoy now as Christians were won by Christ through the shedding of his blood. We should be grateful to him by living a life of holiness.

Gospel: Lk 24:13-35. After his resurrection, Jesus joins two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus and celebrates mass with them.

Homily

Greetings, dear brothers and sisters, today we celebrate the third Sunday of Easter. The loveliest story in the Gospel today is when Jesus joined two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. He explained the Scriptures to them, and revealed himself to them in the breaking of bread. The same thing happens to us when we celebrate the Eucharist. Jesus speaks to us in the first, second, psalm and the Gospel, and then he nourishes us in Holy Communion.

I would like to ask you a question. How many parts does the Holy Mass have? The Roman rite of the Eucharistic celebration has four parts:

1. Introductory Rite: from the entrance hymn to the Opening Prayer (which is also called ‘The Collect’).

2. Liturgy of the Word: from the first reading to the prayers of the faithful.

3. Liturgy of the Eucharist: from the offertory procession till the Prayer after Communion.

4. Concluding Rite: the blessing, dismissal and the concluding hymn or song.

These four parts of the mass are recognisable in the gospel passage of today which describes the encounter between Jesus and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. In a sense, Jesus is celebrating the Mass with his two disciples. This is how the mass celebrated by Jesus with his two disciples is structured in the Gospel we just listened.

1. Introductory Rite – Lk 24:13-24

2. Liturgy of the Word – Lk 24:25-27

3. Liturgy of the Eucharist – Lk 24:28-31

4. Concluding Rite – Lk 24:31-35

In the first part, we see that the two disciples are running away from Jerusalem because they had lost hope in Jesus. They speak about Jesus in the past tense, and their story shows a lot of confusion and discouragement. They had invested three or so good years on Jesus, and apparently everything had come to naught. Jesus joins them in their situation of hopelessness and begins the celebration of the Eucharist. He listens to their concerns as he walks with them. Jesus builds a close relationship with them, and he establishes a context in which to share with them the Word of God.

In the second part – the Liturgy of the Word, Jesus begins to challenge his two disciples. He uses the Word of God to suggest some deep meaning to the recent events in their lives, that they did not waste their life with Jesus. “Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself” (Lk 24:27). Their hearts were burning within them as they listened to Jesus breaking the Word to them on the road.

Having established a relationship with the disciples, and having shared the Word of God, now it is time for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This is the third part of the mass. Jesus pretends as if he was to continue his journey: he gives them an option to see if they would want to go on beyond the Word-heard to the Word-made-flesh! The disciples invite him, “Stay with us, sir.” So, Jesus goes to stay with them. “Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them” (Lk 24:30). “And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight” (Lk 24:30-31).

After recognising the Risen Lord, the disciples feel empowered. They now want to go back to Jerusalem (They, who said to Jesus to stay with them since it was night, they now want to go back to Jerusalem the very same night) to share their experience, and to give hope to those who are still waiting to experience Jesus. This is the fourth part of the mass: the dismissal and mission. “Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread” (Lk 24:35).

The Meaning of the Eucharist in the Light of the Emmaus Encounter

What was happening to those two disciples as they walked through the different parts of the celebration with Jesus himself; and what should be happening to us as we journey through the different parts of the mass?
Part 1 – Oh, what a life?
Part 2 – Yes, life does have meaning.
Part 3 – Aha, He is alive!
Part 4 – I want to give hope to others!

1. In the beginning of the mass, may be, we come with our own problems and issues. Perhaps we are frustrated; we are discouraged. We say, “Oh what a life!” We may be feeling like running away from our responsibilities; running away from our faith; running away from our communities; running away even from ourselves. The Introductory Rite of the mass welcomes us, makes us feel at home, invites us to acknowledge our state and feel comforted by the Penitential Rite.

2. In the Liturgy of the Word, we listen to the Word of God. This part of the liturgy helps us find meaning to the events of our lives in the light of the Word of God. The purpose of the Scripture readings or the homily is basically to find meaning to the events of our present life, and to become aware that everything is under the watchful eye of God. At the end of it, we are able to say, “Yes, everything does have a meaning!”

3. To deepen that meaning and to climax it in a God-experience we move on to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Eucharist gives us the possibility of experiencing God in Christ. We experience Him as risen. “He is alive!” He is with us! He has not abandoned me. He gives me hope. This is the core of receiving communion. We get strengthened to continue our lives meaningfully.

4. Finally, having experienced Christ we are now ready to go back to where we came from. May be nothing would have changed in our environment, but since we are empowered by the Word and Sacrament, we want to bring hope to our situations. We are sent as apostles: “Go in the peace of Christ!”

May every Eucharistic celebration, be an opportunity for us to experience the Risen Lord! May this experience transform us, and thus empower us to transform the world around us.
Amen.

Rev. Fr. Jean-Marie Kuzituka Did’ho
Saints Maria Goretti & Joseph Parishes
www.kjmdidhobooks.co.za

Fifth Sunday of Lent – 29 March 2020

 

First Reading: Ezek 37: 12-14 (The exile of the people of Israel to Babylon is understood as death and their return home is described as resurrection and spiritual renewal). 

Second Reading: Rom 8: 8-11 (The Spirit who raised Jesus from death is the very same Spirit who lives in us now).

Gospel: Jn 11: 1-45 (By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus tells the people that he is Lord of life and death). 

 

Homily

 

When I read today’s Gospel, I recall my pilgrimage to Holy Land especially the mass I celebrated in Bethany. A church is erected on the site where the house of Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary was built. This house was also Jesus’ house as he was very close to the family.

In the journey of life, we are never alone. Everybody needs friends. Even Jesus needed had friends. Today’s Gospel reveals some. We ourselves especially during this time of confinement due to Covid-19 pandemic have come to discover the value of friendship-companionship. 

In the village of Bethany, Jesus had three very special friends: the sisters Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. Their house was always opened to Jesus while other houses were closed against Jesus. 

When their brother Lazarus got sick, it was natural that the two sisters had to call the one best close friend they had in name of Jesus to seek help. Their urgent message was clear and simple; “Lord, the one you love is ill”. They sent the message with the hope that Jesus will quickly come and heal his friend as he has been doing with other sick people in the region. But surprisingly Jesus did not drop everything to come and be at the bedside of his dying friend. Instead, he stayed where he was for full two days more. Why did Jesus behave so? We do not know. But what we can imagine is that his delay must have been heartbreaking for the two sisters. ‘we know true friends during the time of sorrow’. Mary and Martha watched their brother Lazarus dying in front of their eyes helplessly and the one to whom they placed their faith to cure him was nowhere to be found. Of the two sisters, Mary seemed the worse affected. She wouldn’t even leave the house. People came to sympathize with them but the one who was close to their brother was not there. And when he came, as true friends never hide feelings of happiness or sadness from each other, the two sisters did not hide theirs either: “Lord, if you were here, our brother would not have died”. 

The desolation experienced by Mary and Martha is one many of us have experienced and perhaps continue to experience during this time of world pandemic that has confined us all in our homes both rich and poor, working class and unemployed, young and old. We can’t help thinking that if God really cares about us, if he really loves us, then he wouldn’t have allowed this pandemic to happen. We feel abandoned by God. We feel he has left us alone. 

So what can we do? Let us try to imitate Martha. The story of Martha in today’s Gospel presents her as a model of faith. In her hour of grief, she ran to the Lord and poured out her sorrows to him. And when Jesus challenged her to believe, Martha made a wonderful profession of faith: “I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into the world”. What a wonderful profession of faith. 

Do we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? Yes we do. Now is the time to find him in the privacy of our homes. Before the confinement caused by this pandemic, only night used to lead us home for those who spend their days at work or at school. Now day and night, we are confined home. Turn to God and find him in the quietness of your home, in the quietness of your heart. Believe that he is the Son of God and that he is able to cure the world. What we need to do now is to turn to God. Let us go on praying and believing in God. In the face of confinement and pain, let us commend ourselves to God and abandon ourselves to his care.

Very often we think that when we suffer, God is absent. But when we pray we come to realise that God is not absent, but rather he is present in our suffering. God is always with us as our hope in adversity, and our strength when we are weak. Today’s Gospel story shows Jesus as a faithful friend. It also shows us that even in death, we are not beyond the reach of Jesus’ help. Jesus did not leave Mary and Martha grieve alone. He came to console them and gave them hope by announcing eternal life to those who believe in him. 

Jesus doesn’t leave us alone either especially now that we face Covid-19 pandemic. He surrounds us with the love and support of the family and he challenges us to have faith in him: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will never die forever”. 

Remember dear brothers and sisters, to believe does not mean that we have all the answers for all questions or worries. Jesus knows the pain and the anguish caused by pain, suffering and death as he experienced it himself. He overcame it not by avoiding it but by embracing it and overcoming it. Thus, Jesus becomes for us a pathfinder and a beacon of hope for us all who place our trust in Him. 

Our hope is also in Mary the mother of Jesus who is also our mother. At the foot of the cross she stood full of hope. Let us live in hope dear brothers and sisters. Humanity is only asleep with Covid-19 just like Lazarus. God is in control.

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth”. 

  

Rev. Fr. Jean-Marie Kuzituka Did’ho

Saints Maria Goretti & Joseph Parishes

www.kjmdidhobooks.co.za

 

10th Year Anniversary to the Priesthood

Rev. Father Jean-Marie Kuzituka Did’ho, Chancellor

 

It has been awhile since I posted anything on my website (www.kjmdidhobooks.co.za). I thought of posting something on the day of my 10th priestly anniversary but I resisted to do so.   

About 10 years ago, January 23, 2010, I was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Johannesburg. Time flies so fast and I praise God for the gift of my vocation. I would like to thank many people who continue to pray for me, support and love me, my family especially my mother Regine Muwayi, relatives, friends, benefactors, and colleagues. I would like also to express my gratitude to the Archdiocese of Johannesburg under the leadership of Archbishop Buti Tlhagale and his Auxiliary, Bishop Duncan Tsoke for their support and trust in me.

I'm grateful to all people of God in parishes I served and continue to serve as a priest. Sincere and deepest gratitude goes especially to the parishioners of Our Lady of Fatima, Dube who helped me grow in my ministry. My journey has been blessed in knowing wonderful people. My beautiful experiences constantly inspire and guide me in life. The trials and difficulties that I have encountered serve as lessons. Truly, it is only through the help and grace of God that we can rely in passing through the storms of life. Remaining constant in prayer and trust in God are our shelter and shield.

I invoke the protection of the Blessed Mother Mary to help me in my vocation and ministry to God's people.

In gratitude to God, I offered a mass of thanksgiving on January 23, 2020, 7:30pm at Saint Maria Goretti Parish, Riverlea where I currently serve as a pastor. To brother priests who joined me on the altar, I say Thank You. To parishioners of Riverlea and Mayfair, to all other guests and the parishioners of Dube (and St Cecilia Choir) who came, I am grateful.

With the help of God, may I continue to serve Him and His people. Please pray for me and rest assured that you are all in my prayers and petitions.

All for the greater glory of God and the salvation of His people!

Rev. Fr. Jean-Marie Kuzituka Did’ho

Chancellor

 

Fifth Sunday of Lent – 29 March 2020

 

First Reading: Ezek 37: 12-14 (The exile of the people of Israel to Babylon is understood as death and their return home is described as resurrection and spiritual renewal). 

Second Reading: Rom 8: 8-11 (The Spirit who raised Jesus from death is the very same Spirit who lives in us now).

Gospel: Jn 11: 1-45 (By raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus tells the people that he is Lord of life and death). 

 

Homily

 

When I read today’s Gospel, I recall my pilgrimage to Holy Land especially the mass I celebrated in Bethany. A church is erected on the site where the house of Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary was built. This house was also Jesus’ house as he was very close to the family.

In the journey of life, we are never alone. Everybody needs friends. Even Jesus needed had friends. Today’s Gospel reveals some. We ourselves especially during this time of confinement due to Covid-19 pandemic have come to discover the value of friendship-companionship. 

In the village of Bethany, Jesus had three very special friends: the sisters Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. Their house was always opened to Jesus while other houses were closed against Jesus. 

When their brother Lazarus got sick, it was natural that the two sisters had to call the one best close friend they had in name of Jesus to seek help. Their urgent message was clear and simple; “Lord, the one you love is ill”. They sent the message with the hope that Jesus will quickly come and heal his friend as he has been doing with other sick people in the region. But surprisingly Jesus did not drop everything to come and be at the bedside of his dying friend. Instead, he stayed where he was for full two days more. Why did Jesus behave so? We do not know. But what we can imagine is that his delay must have been heartbreaking for the two sisters. ‘we know true friends during the time of sorrow’. Mary and Martha watched their brother Lazarus dying in front of their eyes helplessly and the one to whom they placed their faith to cure him was nowhere to be found. Of the two sisters, Mary seemed the worse affected. She wouldn’t even leave the house. People came to sympathize with them but the one who was close to their brother was not there. And when he came, as true friends never hide feelings of happiness or sadness from each other, the two sisters did not hide theirs either: “Lord, if you were here, our brother would not have died”. 

The desolation experienced by Mary and Martha is one many of us have experienced and perhaps continue to experience during this time of world pandemic that has confined us all in our homes both rich and poor, working class and unemployed, young and old. We can’t help thinking that if God really cares about us, if he really loves us, then he wouldn’t have allowed this pandemic to happen. We feel abandoned by God. We feel he has left us alone. 

So what can we do? Let us try to imitate Martha. The story of Martha in today’s Gospel presents her as a model of faith. In her hour of grief, she ran to the Lord and poured out her sorrows to him. And when Jesus challenged her to believe, Martha made a wonderful profession of faith: “I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into the world”. What a wonderful profession of faith. 

Do we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? Yes we do. Now is the time to find him in the privacy of our homes. Before the confinement caused by this pandemic, only night used to lead us home for those who spend their days at work or at school. Now day and night, we are confined home. Turn to God and find him in the quietness of your home, in the quietness of your heart. Believe that he is the Son of God and that he is able to cure the world. What we need to do now is to turn to God. Let us go on praying and believing in God. In the face of confinement and pain, let us commend ourselves to God and abandon ourselves to his care.

Very often we think that when we suffer, God is absent. But when we pray we come to realise that God is not absent, but rather he is present in our suffering. God is always with us as our hope in adversity, and our strength when we are weak. Today’s Gospel story shows Jesus as a faithful friend. It also shows us that even in death, we are not beyond the reach of Jesus’ help. Jesus did not leave Mary and Martha grieve alone. He came to console them and gave them hope by announcing eternal life to those who believe in him. 

Jesus doesn’t leave us alone either especially now that we face Covid-19 pandemic. He surrounds us with the love and support of the family and he challenges us to have faith in him: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will never die forever”. 

Remember dear brothers and sisters, to believe does not mean that we have all the answers for all questions or worries. Jesus knows the pain and the anguish caused by pain, suffering and death as he experienced it himself. He overcame it not by avoiding it but by embracing it and overcoming it. Thus, Jesus becomes for us a pathfinder and a beacon of hope for us all who place our trust in Him. 

Our hope is also in Mary the mother of Jesus who is also our mother. At the foot of the cross she stood full of hope. Let us live in hope dear brothers and sisters. Humanity is only asleep with Covid-19 just like Lazarus. God is in control.

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth”. 

  

Rev. Fr. Jean-Marie Kuzituka Did’ho

Saints Maria Goretti & Joseph Parishes

www.kjmdidhobooks.co.za

 

  • 30 December 2018 General Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo
    Personal Opinion of Rev. Father Jean-Marie Kuzituka Did’ho

    The political crisis that has longed gripped the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was fully revealed to the world when the country’s Constitutional Court upheld the presidential victory of Felix Tshisekedi, a result that was called into question by the leaks of compelling evidence alleging that Martin Fayulu was the true choice of Congolese citizens. The Roman Catholic Church in the Congo deployed more than four thousand election observers throughout the country. Their compiled result and that of other bodies attest the victory of Martin Fayulu with 62% over Felix Tshisekedi and Ramazani Shadari.
    As a Congolese citizen and a Catholic priest serving in South Africa, I am angered. It is not that I am a fervent supporter of Mr. Fayulu, or that I harbor disdain for so called former President Joseph Kabila. Nor am I angry at the Constitutional Court: though one may question their decision, the court was playing its role as foreseen in the constitution. Whether that court was bias or captured by Kabila’s regime or not, all we know as Congolese people is that there is not a single institution in the DRC which is not captured and serving the interest of the kleptocratic regime of Kabila.
    Rather, I am angry because the December 30, 2018 presidential election has demolished any notion of actual democracy in the DRC. Congolese have long known that the country’s political elite eschewed democracy long ago in exchange for money and power. But this election has bared this ugly reality to the entire world. My country is not the Democratic, but the Kleptocratic Republic of Congo.
    People may say that priests should not speak about politics. But as a Christian, it is my fundamental duty to stand with anyone who faces injustice and persecution. And how can I, or anyone else, do this without becoming involved in politics? Pope Francis, during a homily he delivered in 2013 at the church of Santa Marta in Vatican City said, “Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good.”
    It has been long since any elected leader in DRC has shown concern for the common good of the 81 million souls who suffer from a never-ending political, economic, and social crisis. Since independence, my Congolese brothers and sisters have faced wars, rebellions, unemployment, and poverty; a lack of schools, hospitals, even roads. A Congolese child is born to suffer in a country that is rich with natural resources. It is the cruelest of ironies.
    As a Congolese, I am relieved that Mr. Kabila will no longer be president. He and his cronies have impoverished my country. But I cannot remain content – and nor should anyone in Africa be content – just because Mr. Kabila is out of office. The so called elected President Felix Tshisekedi will come into office not just on the shaky foundations of his election victory, but to the reality that Mr. Kabila’s political party is still a dominant force in DRC’s parliament, in the senate house and in the governance of provinces. Despite any of our reservations about Mr. Tshisekedi’s legitimacy, we as Congolese must take on the hard labor of reviving our democracy. We cannot afford even one more day of the rampant profiteering that has marked the last 18 years of Mr. Kabila’s destructive rule.
    Nor can the rest of Africa afford it. I frequently encounter Congolese refugees in South Africa. They all have horrific stories that defy imagination. Continued instability in DRC will force more Congolese to seek refuge in South Africa and other countries in the region. Left unresolved, the political crisis that haunts my country can easily turn into deadly armed conflict.
    This is a crucial time in the history of my beloved Congo. Whether we like it or not, Mr. Felix Tshisekedi is president today although contested by the majority of Congolese people. Political and church leaders throughout Africa, especially in South Africa my home by adoption, cannot now look away and hope things will resolve by themselves. They must become more closely engaged so that the change DRC experiences is not just in the name of its president, but in how it delivers for the common good of its citizens. South Africa and the whole SADC leaders and the so called African Union never decried the biasness of the DRC elections and seek the truth of the polls.
    Firstly, the South African Bishops’ Conference must stand in strong solidarity with Congolese citizens and especially with the Congolese Bishops’ Conference, CENCO, who has been tireless in its prophetic mission to denounce the wrongs wrought by our politicians and to side with the people. South African bishops should immediately send a delegation to DRC to show support for CENCO, and to engage in a dialogue with all relevant church and political stakeholders to ensure the next chapters of DRC’s future happens in peace and reconciliation. The country is in the brink of collapsing. Mainstream Medias do not always broadcast the full and true reality in the ground. What is happening currently in the ground as a result of bias and rigged elections is not reported in media.
    Secondly, South African political leaders, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, must understand that they have backed a person whose presidential election victory is seriously questioned by compelling evidence to the contrary. President Ramaphosa and his colleagues must continue to engage in DRC by helping to catalyze political dialogue and taking actions to incentivize peace and democracy in the DRC, and not more bloodshed and corruption.
    Congolese people seek the solidarity of their fellow Africans. If we close our eyes and ears to the cries of Congolese, then nothing will change in the DRC. And if nothing changes in the DRC, then we all will face the terrible consequences. Congolese people ourselves too need to rise and claim our destiny as other Africans have done in the light of Algeria and Sudan recently. May God bless the Democratic Republic of Congo and Africa.
  • Fr. Jean-Marie Kuzituka Did’ho

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