2016 Lent Reflection-Week 3


    Monday 29 February 2016


Encountering Jesus, Finding Joy
 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. -John 4:28

The outcome of [the] encounter by the well was the woman’s transformation…. She runs to the village … and announces that she has met the Messiah: the one who has changed her life. Because every encounter with Jesus changes our lives, always….

In this Gospel passage we likewise find the impetus to “leave behind our water jar;’ the symbol of everything that is seemingly important, but loses all its value before the “love of God.” … I ask you, and myself: “What is your interior water jar, the one that weighs you down, that distances you from God?” Let us set it aside and, with our hearts, let us hear the voice of Jesus offering us another kind of water … that brings us close to the Lord. We are called to rediscover the importance of our Christian life, initiated in Baptism, and, like the Samaritan woman, to witness to our brothers. Witness to what? Joy! The joy of the encounter with Jesus; for, as I said, every encounter with Jesus changes our life, and every encounter with Jesus also fills us with joy.

 Angelus, March 23, 2014

What keeps me from fully enjoying the Lord’s friendship?

Jesus, give me the courage to leave behind all that impedes me from allowing you to transform my life, and make me a witness to joy.


Lent with Pope Francis, Daily Reflections and Prayers (Pauline Publication)

2016 Lent Reflection-Week 3


Sunday 28 February 2016

Our Reflection is from Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15

Moses is pasturing his father-in-law‘s flock, in the mountain of God called Horeb. It is here that he is called from the flocks to be a prophet. In this context, Moses sees a ‘blaze of fire’, and he hears the voice of Yahwe. This fire is not an ordinary fire. It is surprising because he sees a bush burning and yet not consumed by that fire. The fire burns but the tree is not destroyed. The tree continues to give light through its burning branches. It tells us something about God who gives light without loosing his power to give light. The one who gives light is the same God who generates light. He is the generator. He warms without growing cold. He enriches without being impoverished. God is inexhaustible, he can never be depleted. God is inextinguishable. God’s light can never be diminished. He gives us, the baptized and the ordained, the possibility of giving life and of inspiring others. We must not get tired of giving and donating ourselves. Yes, we need to take care of ourselves that we do not burnout. We must allow the fire within us to burn and to energize us to serve, to inspire and to sacrifice.

There, in the desert, Moses is called by name: ‘Moses, Moses’! He realized that he is needed. In the solitude, the vulnerability and powerlessness of desert-life, he is called. In spite of his earlier mistakes and sins, God calls him. The same Moses who, after seeing an Egyptian attack an Israelite, intervened and killed the Egyptian in the process ( Ex 2:13-14). Moses also intervened when he saw Midianite shepherds preventing Jethro’s daughters from watering their flocks. He drove the shepherds away and watered the flock (Ex 2:16-17). Moses shows that he is always ready to intervene and defend victims of oppression and injustice. He is a weak man. God sees the potential in him. God calls him in spite of his weaknesses. God does not always call the qualified. He qualifies those who are called. To those who say, ‘I am not worthy’, God says, ‘I will make you worthy’. Your weaknesses and your history will not stop God from using you. You need to say “Yes” and God will break you, form you, reform you, mould you and use you. You need to surrender yourself into God’s hands as clay in the potter’s hand. Acknowledge you sins and your hideous past. Repent and accept a new call. Pope Francis reminded us in Misericordiae Vultus “The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality with which he reveals his love as of that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that this is a ‘visceral’ love. It gushes forth from the depths naturally, full of tenderness and compassion, indulgence and mercy” (MV 6).

Moses was then instructed to take off his shoes for the place where he was standing is holy ground (Ex 2: 5). God demands total respect. Take off your shoes! So many of us want to follow God, but we are not ready to take off our shoes. We need to take off the shoes of stubbornness and luke-warmness. We need to take off our shoes of pride and jealousy. Take off the shoes of complacency and indifference. Take off the shoes of fear and hatred. We need to take off our shoes of prejudice and discrimination. We need to take off our shoes of immorality and anger. Take off the shoes of corruption and greed. Take off the shoes of nepotism and lies. Take off the shoes of Satanism and addiction. The Gospel of the barren fig tree today (Lk 13: 1-9), reminds us that God is a God of the second chance. During this time of Lent, we are given a chance to take off those shoes of sin and be ready to step into the holy ground of Easter with sincerity of heart.

This is holy ground!

  1. Creation is holy ground. Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ reminds us that creation has a broader meaning than ‘nature’, for it has to do with God’s loving plan in which every creature has its own value and significance. He reminded us that the ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, the measure of the maturity of all things. All creation is thus moving toward a “common point of arrival’ back to the Creator. We need to take of creation which is our common home. Remember it is “Holy Ground”. The notion that creation is God’s temple or sanctuary is one found in numerous studies on Genesis and its context. It is an appropriate way to envision creation as God’s ordered cosmos. All of creation is God’s temple, then the unwarranted and often greedy molestation of creation for monetary or other short-term gain is a molestation of God’s holy ground. It is a desecration. Let us be activists against the destruction of our common home! Let us stand for sustainable development.
  2. Our Churches are holy ground. We use our church buildings as places where we gather to worship. The church is consecrated to remind us that it belongs to God. We are convoked by the Holy Spirit, to give glory to the Father, in and through Jesus Christ. Where is the sense of awe and reverence in our churches today? During the Sign of Peace, our liturgies become chaotic and noisy. People do not know why we genuflect and bow in church. People receive communion while chewing gum or sweets. We are disrespectful in in our dress, our chats, our behaviour and our noise. We forget that each of us is a living stone in the temple of God. From this building and from this body, this living temple should flow healing waters, providing life and sustenance especially for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, orphans, prisoners, etc. The Church of Jesus Christ always exists for others. Remember it is “Holy Ground”.
  3. Our minds are holy ground. Consider what you’re allowing to come into your mind through your senses. What are you reading, listening to, or looking at? Does it honor God? If not, why are you drawn to it? Ask God to help you choose better words, sounds, and images to feed your mind. “Right thinking” leads to “right actions,” which leads to “right feelings.” The priority is critical. If feelings are at the front, they will drive you wherever they feel like going. Right thinking is based on seeing each situation from God’s point of view, and then right actions—what would Jesus do? To help us with our daily discernment, let us listen to St Paul when he says: “fill your minds with whatever is truthful, holy, just, pure, lovely and noble” (Phil 4:8). Be part of the anti-pornography campaign of the Bishops’ Conference. Pornography involves the corruption of one’s mind and a distortion of sex as God designed it (1 Corinthians 7:2-3).
  4. Our Bodies are holy ground. 1 Cor 3:16 says “Do you not know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit abides with you”. Our bodies are the shrine, or the sacred place, in which the Spirit not only lives, but is worshiped, revered, and honoured. We must look after our bodies. This includes regular exercise, proper diet, getting enough rest and proper emotional health. But our world is filled with opportunities for us to abuse our bodies. Many of the typical “fast foods” are quite limited in important vitamins and minerals and are instead filled with fats, sugars and chemicals that actually destroy good health.

High-stress lifestyles require people to push harder and work longer hours to accomplish more and more. Researchers have discovered that chronic sleep deprivation contributes to high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity and likelihood of a stroke, in addition to significantly decreased cognitive function. Lack of proper rest equals health problems! Likewise, the results of abusing drugs and other substances, legal or otherwise, have been abundantly documented. Some substances attack the muscles, some attack the lungs and heart, and many attack the brain itself! When we say that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, we also remind ourselves that sexual immorality is a sin that defiles our bodies -making a mockery of the temple in which the Holy Spirit is to dwell.

  1. Our hearts are holy ground. The heart is what you are, in the secrecy of your thought and feeling. What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart . . . For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness and slander. These are what defile a man. (Mat 15:18–19). So the heart is utterly crucial to Jesus. What we are in the deep, private recesses of our lives is what he cares about most. Jesus did not come into the world simply because we have some bad habits that need to be broken. He came into the world because he wanted to purify our hearts. Being pure in heart means being blameless, guilt free, with right motives and without deceit. God desires us to have clean hearts. In fact, it’s impossible for us to come into Heaven without clean hearts. God is perfect; He cannot tolerate sin in His presence. But there’s a big problem. We are sinners by nature. We need the Sacrament of Mercy. In his Daily Meditations (January 23, 2015), Pope Francis has warned us not to think of confession as going to the dry cleaners who remove the stain of our sins, so that we can go out feeling pure and perfect. Nor it is to enter a torture chamber, and be interrogated, accused, or even beaten up. … it is an encounter with the good God who always forgives, who forgives all, who know how to celebrate when he forgives, and who forgets your sins when he forgives you. …. the encounter with the Lord who reconciles, embraces and celebrates”. In his series of Wednesday audiences on the sacraments (19 Feb 2014), Pope Francis said “The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing. When I go to Confession, it is in order to be healed, to heal my soul, to heal my heart and to be healed of some wrongdoing. The biblical icon which best expresses them in their deep bond is the episode of the forgiving and healing of the paralytic, where the Lord Jesus is revealed at the same time as the physician of soul of bodies”.


Let us pray: May the Lord send the fire of the Holy Spirit into our hearts so that we may burn and give light to others. May that same fire burn all the evil in us and in our land. May the Lord give us courage to make a good confession so that I may experience the healing power of his forgiveness. May the Lord open our eyes and give us a sense of awe and reverence. May the Lord give us grace to persevere during this time of Lent and to do good during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Amen.

+ V. H Phalana

2016 Lent Reflection-Week 2


 Friday-26th February 2016

The Path of Poverty

“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests: but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” – (Luke 9:58)

Following Jesus means putting him in first place, stripping ourselves of the many things that we possess that suffocate our hearts, renouncing ourselves taking up the cross and carrying it with Jesus. Stripping ourselves of pride ego and detaching ourselves from the desire to possess, from money, which is an idol that possesses.

We are all called to be poor, to strip us of ourselves: and to do this we must learn how to be with the poor, to share with those who lack basic necessities, to touch the flesh of Christ! The Christian is not one who speaks about the poor, no He is one who encounters them, who look them in the eye, who touches them …

For everyone, even for our society that is showing signs of fatigue, if we want to save ourselves from sinking, it is necessary to follow the path of poverty. That does not mean misery – this idea should be refuted – it means knowing how to be more in solidarity with those in need, to entrust oneself more to God and less to our human efforts.

Address, October 4, 2013 – Pope Francis

Do I know how to be with the poor, or do I shield myself from the sufferings of others?

Jesus, you are our example in all things. Show us how to embrace poverty of spirit; to share willingly and joyfully with those in need.

Lent with Pope Francis – Daily Reflection – Pauline Publication


2016 Lent Reflection-Week 2


Thursday -25th February 2016

On guard Against Worldliness

But those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. – (Romans 8:5)

We are all Church, and we must all follow the path of Jesus, who himself took the road of renunciation. He became a servant, one who serves; he chose to be humiliated even to the cross. And if we want to be Christians, there is no other way.

But can’t we make Christianity a little more human – they say- without the cross, without Jesus, without renunciation? In this way we would become like Christians in a pastry shop, saying: “what beautiful cakes, what beautiful sweets!” Truly beautiful, but not really Christians. … The Christians cannot coexist with the spirit of the world, with the worldliness that leads us to vanity, to arrogance, to pride. And this is an idol, it is not God. It is an idol! And idolatry is the gravest of sins!

And when the media speaks about the church, they believe the Church is made up of priests, sisters, bishops, cardinals, and the Pope. But we are all the Church, as I said. And we all must strip ourselves of this worldliness: the spirit opposing the spirit of the Beatitudes, the spirit opposing the spirit of Jesus. Worldliness hurts us.

Address, October 4, 2013 – Pope Francis

In What ways am I influenced by the “spirit of the world”?

Lord Jesus, help me to live according to the Gospel values. Together, as Church, may we strip ourselves of any spirit contrary to yours.

Lent with Pope Francis – Daily Reflection – Pauline Publication



2016 Lent Reflection-Week 2


Wednesday 24 February 2016

Necessary Humility

“I am gentle and humble in heart…”Matthew 11:29

In the Gospel Jesus tells us: Whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake he will save it” (Lk9:23) …

Looking at Jesus and especially , looking at the Crucified Christ, we feel that most human and noble sentiments that is shame at not being able to measure up to him; we look at Christ’s wisdom and our ignorance, at his omnipotence and our impotence, at his justice and our wickedness, at his goodness and our evil will. We should ask for the grace to be ashamed; shame that comes from the continuous conversation of mercy with him; … shame that attunes us to the heart of Christ who made himself sin for [us] … And this always brings us … to humility, … which everyday makes us aware that it is not we who build the Kingdom of God but always the Lord’s grace that acts within us; humility that spurs us to put our whole self not into serving ourselves or our own ideas, but into the service of Christ and of the Church, as clay vessels: fragile, inadequate, and insufficient, yet which contain an immense treasure that we bear and communicate(cf. 2 Cor. 4:7)

Homily, July 31, 2013- Pope Francis

Do I insist on my own opinions and ideas?

Lord, help me to remember the truth about myself and the truth about you, and keep me humble in your service.

Lent with Pope Francis – Daily Reflection – Pauline Publication



2016 Lent Reflection-Week 2


Tuesday 23 February 2016

Lent in the Year of Mercy

As you know well, last year the Pope opened a Year of Mercy in the Catholic Church – this began in December and will run through this year until November. It seems to me that the Pope has touched on something that is badly needed in our world. There is so much violence in the world: people are assaulted and killed so easily; physical violence – whether in the home or on the street, whether criminal or amongst battling groups – is all around us; again how violent we can be with our words, witness the recent offensive racist language for one example. We do not need to be told to work for mercy – how desperately we need it.

In the Catholic Church we have made a lot of the Door of Mercy! The Door is an important symbol: as a young schoolboy I remember a tea-room in Kimberley: it was called the Open Door – we knew we were welcome there! In the book of Revelations we read the words of the Lord where in Chapter 3 He says “Behold I have set before you an open door which no one is able to shut.” (Rev 3: 20) Better known are the words (and the picture) of the Lord where He says “Behold I stand at the door knocking…” (Rev 3: 20)

It is helpful for us to recall the words of Pope Francis where he reminded us that a door is a way IN and a way OUT; it is a door of welcome and door of mission. Even as you are invited in to receive the mercy of the Father; so too are you sent out to bring the Mercy of the Father to others.

We are always “journeying” – a pilgrim people we call ourselves. Early in Lent we were reminded of the need for almsgiving, for prayer and for fasting. These great spiritual disciplines are not only for this season but are meant to be a part of our lives throughout the year and indeed throughout our lives. As the Scriptures tell us when one day we are with the Bridegroom, then will we not need to fast….

I would like to leave you with a few thoughts on how in this Year of Mercy we might understand the Christian path…these are simply early thoughts for a start…let the Holy Spirit and Life teach us further.

Remembering the Door that both welcomes and that ‘missions’ us we could consider the following:

Regarding Almsgiving:

  • This reminds us of the great saying of our Lord when He declared that we “cannot serve God and Mammon”. How easily we turn back to false gods: one of the early Teachers of the Church warned that having become free in Christ we can so easily become slaves of money.
  • As we look around us we see so many people in poverty our almsgiving can help our brothers and sisters – remember Jesus words in Matthew 25 – when we care for the least of our brothers and sisters, we care for Christ himself.

Regarding Prayer

  • In our prayer we acknowledge that we are in need the mercy of the Father. Our prayer has always to be humble – “blessed are the poor in spirit”, Jesus first beatitude is often understood “blessed are those who know their need of God.’
  • When we think of prayer and mercy let us not forget the great privilege that we have: God calls us to share His prayer for others; we are called to pray for others, that they might come to the mercy of the Father.

Regarding Fasting

  • Fasting reminds us that we need to bring not only our hearts to the Lord but also our bodies. Putting it simply it is not helpful to pray on a full stomach, certainly less so after a few drinks… The Desert Fathers and all the Saints teach us that fasting deepens our prayer. As Catholics we had a strong custom of fasting every Friday to remember and to honour the day the Lord died. I encourage you to recover and to strengthen this custom.
  • And fasting gives us the opportunity to stand next to our brothers and sisters who have so much less than us. In these days of drought and of soaring food prices, the practice of eating less at our table that others might get the chance to join us at table is something Christians should do with great generosity.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us pray that we will forever be shaped by this Year of Mercy: may we know the loving mercy of the Father and may we bear witness to it. And may our almsgiving, our prayer and our fasting make our witness both powerful and joyful!





+Bishop Graham Rose
Diocese of Dundee

2016 Lent Reflection-Week 2


 Chair of St. Peter, the Apostle
 Monday 22 February 2016

On the 22nd of February the Roman Catholic Church celebrates one of the most unusual feasts in the liturgical calendar. Today we remember not a person or an event, but the throne of St. Peter Apostle. The feast was known in the Church since the fourth century under the Latin name Natale Petri de cathedra. In the fourth century St. Damascus moved venerated cathedral (chair on which St. Peter was sited) to the baptistery of the basilica on Vatican Hill, where St Peter died. For centuries, this unique chair was revered by many pilgrims as a symbol of authority and unity in the Church. In the sixteenth century, the relic was moved (made up of many pieces of oak wood and bonded richly decorated with slabs of ivory) to the present St. Peter’s Basilica and placed in the apse, in the main altar, in the magnificent setting of marble, which was designed by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, chief architect of the basilica itself, as well as the colonnade at the St. Peter’s Square.

Mass readings

(1 Pt 5, 1-4; Mt 16, 13-19.)

In today’s Gospel Jesus is with his disciple in Caesarea Philippi. The name comes from Philip – the son of Herod the Great, who after his father’s death as an expression of gratitude to Caesar made this city the capitol of his Tetrarch. In the time of Jesus, the Caesarea was the territory of the heathen, in which widespread was the cult of the god Pan. Temple of god was located on the mighty rock where there was a gap considered the gate of hell. On this rock, Jesus asks his disciples a fundamental question about his identity. “Who do people say that the Son of man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus said to them: “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Simon Peter first discovers the identity of Jesus and then Jesus reveals his identity. “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. ”

We are revolving by a circle of messages concerning Christian morality and doctrine, multiply by media and people in our neighbourhood – sometime very confusing, therefore being convinced of my Christian identity is very important part of my life. But, being mature Christian is a process; only through my constant spiritual reflection and relation with Christ I may intensify my conviction of belonging to my church community. I am fortunate in the Roman Catholic Church that through the sacramental life I may renew and expand my relation with Jesus. He allows me to feel his presence in the tabernacle and through my prayer and meditation, examination of conscience, participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, Christ helps me to restore the balance of mind and spirit.

Let this time of Lent in the Year of Mercy be for you and me once more given opportunity to refresh our relation with Christ and witness about Him in our society as Christians practising our spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

De Aar



+Bishop Adam Musialek SCJ
Diocese of De Aar




2016 Lent Reflection-Week 2




Scripture:    Luke 3: 20-41


These forty days are a time of transfiguration when we attempt once again to walk in the light and let Jesus transform our lives.

We are called to life and the fullness of life, we are people who continually choose life.

However, many today choose a culture of death and reject a culture of life. In choosing the culture of death we feed ourselves with the things that destroy our lives, the toxins of drugs, alcohol, whoonga, pornography, hate, violence, racism and abuse.

Lent is therefore a time of detoxing our lives, opening our lives once again to be transformed by the love, light and mercy of Jesus.

We turn away from a culture of death and like the Apostles in the Gospel are transformed by the presence of Jesus. We allow ourselves to be detoxed by receiving the mercy and compassion of our God.

However, we need to make a choice for life and a decision to reject a culture of death.

There is a story of a donkey who was very hungry and he found himself between two haystacks of freshly cut hay. Both were pleasing to him but he could not make up his mind which haystack to eat. It’s a sad story because he couldn’t choose and eventually died of starvation. It can be our story if we fail to choose.

Pope Francis encourages us to choose life, he says:

“Fast from hurting words and say kind words

Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude

Fast from anger and be filled with patience

Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope

Fast from worries and trust in God

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity

Fast from pressures and be prayerful

Fast from bitterness and full your heart with joy

Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others

Fast from grudges and be reconciled

Fast from words and be silent and listen”

“I have come that you have life and the fullness of life.”

 Practical Suggestions

  • Visit rehabilitation centres and families affected by alcohol and drug abuse;
  • Visit an informal settlement to ascertain the needs of the people there.
  • Prepare food for the needy, street people, retirement homes, etc.


Lord Jesus help us to meet you in the affected, the needy, those who are hungry, naked and unloved. Help us to show your face of mercy and compassion to them. Amen.





+Bishop Barry Wood
ArchDiocese of Durban

2016 Lent Reflection-Week 1



Saturday 20 February 2016

Turning into the best version of yourself

(1st Week of Lent, Saturday: Deuteronomy 26:16-19; Matthew 5:43-48)

I love pondering the divine potential promised to us: To be perfect like God the Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48); and in this Year of Mercy we easily add Luke’s view: To be merciful as is our Father (Luke 6:36). This is how we are designed and meant to be. This is us at our best.

In stark contrast the drama of humankind revolves around guilt, failure, misery and the often appalling ways dealing with it. Literature reflects this; soap operas demonstrate it and our own experiences verify it. Unfortunately the approaches often end in devastating escalation.

Our own tradition names it: “I have killed a man for wounding me, a boy for bruising me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-seven fold” (Genesis 4:23-24).

Disproportionate reactions are easily the resort of people wounded and hurt by the acts of others. What progress offers Lev 24:20, then, for avengers when demanding “just” and eye for an eye – and nothing more! And yet no escape from the spiral of revenge?

Lamech’s lamentable position resounds totally converted in the advice of the Redeemer to grant mercy seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:22) instead. The divine intervention looks very different and appeals to my and your potential, developed to the fullest, made perfect: Be merciful as your heavenly Father is!

The Latin word for mercy/compassion is misericordia. It means having a heart for misery and the miserable, wretched people. It talks about amazing grace for those guilty, those forlorn in the travesties of an indifferent world such a refugees, the poor and deprived suffering scandalous inequality, the aged and disabled, the sick caught in a struggling health system and learners exposed to poor schooling … Seventy-seven times – actually always – mercy acting for them: Imagine how different the world would look.

The prison ministry in my diocese develops a project of restorative justice. Having a heart for criminals does not mean to condone evil, but to change one’s own heart towards perpetrators and victims, and opening up venues for restoring relationships. A new quality emerges even if an offender is not ready to cooperate: One’s one heart is restored.

How to achieve what appears so impossible to many? Following the example of Jesus is good advice. Today he recommends praying for our enemies so that we don’t become or remain accomplices in the spiral of evil. “Harden not your hearts” (Psalm 95:8) it resounds daily in the morning prayer of the Church.

A simple way for opening hearts to misery may be praying the rosary. Instead of taking the usual mysteries one can insert after having said “the fruit of your womb, Jesus” something like “who died for” or “who loved”, inserting a specific name or cause before continuing with “Holy Mary, Mother of God …” Try it; repeat it for one decade or even five. It worked for me, even when the other side didn’t show signs of remorse or change. But my heart changed.

Enjoy becoming as perfect and as merciful as your Father is.





+Bishop Michael Wüstenberg
Diocese of Aliwal




2016 Lent Reflection-Week 1


Friday 19 February 2016

Ezekiel 18: 21-28; Psalm 129 (130) and Mat 5:20-26


When we started with the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, we embarked on a special journey. In any long journey that one undertakes there is a lot of preparation and making certain that the suitcase contains what is essential for one to use while on the journey. The suitcase we need for Lent should contain prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These great pillars of Lenten help us tremendously in looking into our lives and empower us to respond to the following questions. What is it in our suitcases during the season of Lent needs to be looked at and discarded? Are there things we simply carry in our suitcases out of habit simply because we are on a journey?

The prophet Ezekiel is very clear about what needs to be discarded before one could live. There is need to let go of wickedness. Our Lord in the Gospel episode speaks of the importance of having deeper virtue. He invites us to break the chain of hatred, anger,   and undermining others. Sometimes the lower impulses can rule our lives. It is only when we have been able to discard these practices that our journey will be fruitful at the end.

When we are rooted in prayer during this season of Lent we make it possible for ourselves to have the confidence to trust in the Lord and we have the strength to let go what we do not need for our journey.

The practice of fasting enables us to let go of what we have accumulated along the way that can make us feel we are self-sufficient. We can become prisoners of the fashion, the best food and drinks. We accumulate so much in such a way that we are unable to make a distinction between what we need and what we want.

The act of almsgiving help us to identity with those who do not have. The real challenge is to get rid of the undesirable desires and attachments to all that is not necessary for our journey. In a word during this season of Lent we are invited to discard whatever we possess that can stand in our way regarding how we respond to our God and to each other.

The prophet says if we renounce all our sins, we shall live.


  1. In my suitcase: What are the things that I have accumulated over some time that have made me egoistical and unable to have a broad vision?
  2. During this season of Lent I need to make some time to take stock of what I possess in my heart that stifles my growth as a child of God.
  3. What is my own contribution in the fight against poverty and ignorance in my immediate surroundings?


Lord of mercy, I offer you all that I possess. Enable me to be a generous person. Give me the strength to let go all that I do not need in my journey to you.





+Bishop Abel Gabuza
Diocese of Kimberley