Homilies

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

 

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

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

 

5th Sunday of Ordinary Time-Year C-2019

FIRST READING Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8

SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

GOSPEL Luke 5:1-11

 

My Encounter with God

The central theme of the Liturgy of the Word this Sunday is about the Encounter with God. The First reading from Isaiah 6:1-8 and the Gospel text Luke 5:1-11 describe to us the encounter of two individuals with God, and what happens to them in that encounter.

In the Gospel text of today, God in the person of Jesus encounters Simon in the place of his work. Jesus often meets us where we are, just as he encountered Zacchaeus on top of a tree (Lk. 19), the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn. 4), and Cleopa and his companion on the road (Lk 24). Jesus always meets us wherever we are. I do not know where did Jesus meets you? One thing is certain is that Jesus meets us wherever we are even in hiding.

Having fished the whole night and caught no fish, Simon and his companions were tired. They decided to wash their nests and make it ready for the next night. Here comes Jesus, a carpenter by formation or training. He tells them to go deep in the waters and cast their nests. You can imagine the feeling they had and their hesitation to cast the nest especially daylight.

What follows then, my dear brothers and sisters, is a theophany: a revelation of God. A great catch of fish at an untimely hour. The fisherman knows what it implies. This is not a coincidence. It is a miracle. Miracles are signs. After all this is not just a Carpenter. He is divine! This experience shakes up Simon. God overwhelms him.

It is not different from the God-experience of other men in the Old Testament. Abraham encounters God several times (Gen 12:7-9; Gen 18:1-33). Jacob encounters God in the wilderness (Gen 28:11-18) and in his wrestling with the ‘angel’/God (Gen 32:25-32). Moses encounters God in the burning bush (Ex 3:1-6), and again on the mountain (Ex 33:18-34:35).

In the first reading of today (Is 6:1-8) we heard the narration of the encounter between the Lord God and the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah insists that this experience was historical with his reference to the year (Is 6:1): “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord God…”

The encounter with God helps us to know our selves, to accept ourselves and to be transformed. Hence the three stages which help us to encounter God are:

1. Self-awareness: due to the action of the Grace of God in me I begin to see who I am in the depth of my being. There are many ways of knowing myself – through psychology, for instance. There is a whole battery of tests that you can take to know what type of personality you are, and what psychological disorders you suffer from. These are still very peripheral. The self-knowledge that is possible in an encounter with God is deep. It is about the core of my self – in terms of your intentions, feelings and tendencies. This knowledge is direct and undeniable. This self-knowledge calls for humility, yes! But not discouragement and depression, because I can hear God telling me, “Do not be afraid. I am with you. I am going to make someone out of you.” Know yourself who you are, your weakness and your strength.

2. Self-acceptance. The Grace of God gives me the strength to own up my true self. This is what we hear from St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (15:9) as we heard it in our 2nd reading: “For I am the least of the apostles and am not really fit to be called an apostle…”

We need to accept ourselves first before accepting others. After knowing who we are, we need to accept ourselves. This builds the self-confidence in us.

3. Alchemy is the transformation of a lower element to a higher element. At this level, Abram becomes Abraham (Gen 17:5). Jacob becomes Israel (Gen 32:29). Saul becomes Paul (Acts 13:9). And Simon becomes Peter (Lk 5:8; Mt 16:18). This transformation in prayer is not like a New Year resolution. But it is a conversion. A metanoia! Again we hear St Paul telling us in the 2nd reading (1Cor 15:10): “…but what I am now, I am through the grace of God, and the grace which was given to me has not been wasted. Indeed, I have worked harder than all the others — not I, but the grace of God which is with me.”

We shall never encounter God and remain the same. Life needs to change for the better after encountering God.

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