By Maduduza Zwane
According to St. Luke the evangelist, Jesus appointed 72 others. This means these 72 were in addition to the 12 apostles that had been sent by Jesus to the whole world to spread the God News.
Jesus always called people and sent them to preach by word of mouth and through good example.
As Catholics we are baptised, this means are with Jesus and have a relationship with the Lord. Once baptised we must bring light on earth. Jesus was the first apostle. We are also his apostles because we are his followers. As his followers we are sent. We are sent to share the Word of God. We are sent to be exemplary in our families, communities and the church.
Pope Francis says we should go to share the joy of the Bible. A church that does not go out to share the joy of the gospel is a sick one. We must go out and preach as Jesus commanded. Jesus commanded the apostles that in every house they entered should say “Peace be in the house”. We must therefore be the agents of peace.
Those who have access to financial resources must share with the poor. What do we mean when we say Swaziland is a peaceful country? Are we sincere? We have people committing suicides, others abused emotionally and sexually, others cannot send their children to school because of lack of funds, and health services are at its lowest eb. Are the national resources shared equitably? Is the principle of common good observed in Eswatini? The answer is “NO”.
Though there is no one who says we must not talk about these inequalities, we do not talk because we do not have a guaranteed freedom of expression. As Christians we must talk about these injustices. We never challenge how we leave. A man is created in the image of God. His dignity must always be cherished. As Christians we must be active in politics because man is a political animal. “The human person is the foundation and purpose of political life”. This is the central theme of political ethics for Christians. As Christians we are obliged to support constitutional freedom, political participation, freedom of conscience and religious tolerance.
Mahatma Ghandi says “those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is”.
The church in Swaziland was sent to every family to provide health services, education and charity to the whole nation.
The church is a mission and as such we Catholics are a mission. We must go to all nations to do good to the people. What are we sent for? We are sent to carry out the Corporal Works of Mercy and be the voice of the voiceless. We must advocate for freedom as we spread the Good News.
The Corporal Works of Mercy
The Corporal Works of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat all others, as if they were Christ in disguise. They “are charitable actions by which we help our neighbours in their bodily needs”. They respond to the basic needs of humanity as we journey together through this life.
Feed the hungry
There are many people in this world who go without food. When so much of our food goes to waste, consider how good stewardship practices of your own food habits can benefit others who do not have those same resources.
Give drink to the thirsty
Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ do not have access to clean water and suffer from the lack of this necessity. We should support the efforts of those working towards greater accessibility of this essential resource.
Shelter the homeless
There are many circumstances that could lead to someone becoming a person without a home. Christ encourages us to go out and meet those without homes, affirming their worth and helping them seek a resolution to the challenges they face.
Visit the sick
Those who are sick are often forgotten or avoided. Despite their illness, these individuals still have much to offer to those who take the time to visit and comfort them.
Visit the prisoners
People in prison are still people, made in the image and likeness of God. No matter what someone has done, they deserve the opportunity to hear the Word of God and find the Truth of the message of Christ.
Bury the dead
Funerals give us the opportunity to grieve and show others support during difficult times. Through our prayers and actions during these times we show our respect for life, which is always a gift from God, and comfort to those who mourn.
Give Alms to the poor
Donate money to organisations that can provide support and services for those in need. Do research and find organisations that put people in need first, rather than profit.
We should not be shy to do what is right and to pronounce by example the Good News.
Don’t be shy of:
• Being a Catholic
• Being a member of your parish
• Being a member of your sodality
• Going to church even if you are alone to pray
• Going to mourn being alone in a group of women or men
• Praying the rosary as you walk around or recreating
• And so on.
The extraordinary mission year is a rebirth for us to be resolute and assume corrective steps for what we have been doing improperly in the past.
• If you have not been regular in attending sodality or PPC meetings in the past, in this Extraordinary Mission Year this year attend regularly and without fail.
• If you have not been up to date with your subscriptions make sure you are up to date this year.
• If you have not been paying your obligations to the church from now on do so (Khiphela ibandla sondlo salo”.
• If you have not been attending retreats or Pilgrimages and activities summoned by the Bishop this year you must attend them.
• If you have been bullying in your family, during this Extraordinary Mission Year desist from such behaviour.
• If you have not been supportive to the priest, this Extraordinary Mission Year be supportive.
• If you have not been visiting the sick, the imprisoned and orphanages, this year you must visit them.
Finally, because we receive the holy communion our bodies become the tabernacle. Jesus is in us and He wants to come out to help the people. Through our actions and conduct Jesus must be allowed to go out to the people. Visiting the poor, the sick, the imprisoned you are letting Jesus out of the tabernacle. When you challenge injustices meted out by your national leaders you are letting out Jesus from the tabernacle which is yourself.
Izwi Laba Yinyama!
Lahlala Phakathi Kwethu