2015 Lent Reflection – Monday 2 March

2 march lent reflec 2


Luke 6:36-38


When we hear this worldly saying almost immediately we think of negative things… if I am mean to people they will be mean to me.

However, today Jesus teaches us that there is a positive dimension to this saying, and more than that, it is up to us if we are to determine the positive things that happen in our life.

Simply put, if we are not quick to judge others (something that we all battle with) THEN, they won’t be so quick to judge us. If we are slow to condemn others, we will be less likely to be condemned ourselves. And if we are ready to pardon others, we will be more easily pardoned ourselves (again something that we all need).

So if we want to change our plight and move away from the barrage of, sometimes unfair, judgements and condemnation that we often receive, if it is more peace and forgiveness that we desire in our lives – then let us heed the teaching of Jesus.

Let us give generously of ourselves in obedience to Christ and experience anew an abundance of love, forgiveness and acceptance – NOT only from Jesus, but also from those around us, especially our families.

Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate!

Lord God, help me to truly believe that with your grace and teaching I am able to shape my life, my family and my world for the better. Amen

2015 Lent Reflection – Friday 27 February

27 Feb Lent Reflec 2


Mt 5: 20-26

Dealing with anger and resentment in the Christian way
Lent is the “time of grace”. It presents us with a golden opportunity to reflect deeply on the inner movement of the Spirit in our lives and the presence of those negative emotions and feelings that manifest themselves and seek to dictate or control our lives. One such negative emotion that Jesus brings to our attention is “unresolved anger”.

What is anger? Anger is a powerful human emotion often characterized by feelings of great displeasure, indignation, hostility, resentment, wrath and vengeance. When we get angry we lose our minds and control of our lives, we are prone to sin and do things that we shall regret for the rest of our lives. “You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: you must not kill, and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before court. But I say to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court.” (Mt 5: 21-22)

Jesus wants us to take our negative emotions and anger in particular seriously – not just to brush them aside and say, “I have not murdered anyone!” Bad anger is sufficiently destructive, we may not entertain, harbor and make friends with it. He who plays with anger, plays with fire. Jesus asks us to deal with it urgently and not give in to it. We must be honest with ourselves, acknowledge it, name and shame our anger, reflect and pray about it and let it evaporate. Anger that has not been processed and resolved makes us slaves, hostages and prisoners. We lose our inner peace and freedom of the children of God that is found in the Holy Spirit. It also ruins and intoxicates our health of mind, body and soul. The advice of St Paul is very useful here, “Do not let resentment lead you into sin; the sunset must not find you still angry. Do not give the devil his opportunity” (Eph 4: 26-27)

If I am not reconciled with my brothers and sisters I cannot be truly reconciled with God either, therefore I may not even offer God a befitting worship due to him. This is why Jesus makes this imperative: “if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering” (Mt 5:24).

The reason why we must deal with anger and resentment and become reconciled is that we are ultimately called to holiness, that is, to emulate the extravagant and unconditional love of God. “Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).


➢ Do I have any unresolved anger in my life? If yes, what is it? What is its root cause?
➢ Quietly bring it before the Lord in prayer for healing.
➢ Be reconciled with God, yourself, others and with all creation.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer, “the Our Father” slowly, stop and reflect on the words “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”; then finish the whole Prayer.

Have the most blessed and fulfilling Lenten Season!




+Bishop Vincent Mduduzi Zungu OFM
Diocese of Port Elizabeth



2015 Lent Reflection – Thursday 26 February

26th Feb lent reflec 2


A Worship of God That is Complete

Romans 12:1-2 is indeed one of Paul’s intense theological reflections on our Christian calling. It undoubtedly had a far reaching impact not only in the spiritual lives of the Roman converts of his time, but also in the promotion of truly Christian life in the Church.

Today during the 2015 lent observance, is an opportunity for us as members of Christian communities to pay attention to Paul’s call to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God, to undergo the renewal of mind and heart and shun the attractions of the contemporary world. That is a state of mind influenced by the Spirit of God; it is something more powerful and meaningful than the sacrificial offerings of animals in the temple of Jerusalem. The Christian community as a locus of worship where a Christian can offer his/her own body to God rather than on a mountain (Ps. 2:6b, 40:8c) shows the highest development in the human understanding of God’s will about true worship. During the exodus Mount Sinai where Moses encountered God was the venue of worship. Then, during the period of kings, Solomon built and dedicated the temple of Jerusalem as a place of worship. However, at Jacob’s well the Samaritan woman argued with Jesus that her ancestors had built a rival venue for worship on Mount Gerizm. This prompted Jesus to give his unique teaching about the right place of worship:

“Believe me woman, the hour has come
when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in
Jerusalem. Indeed the hour is already here when true worshippers will
worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:21, 23).

Certainly in our times, there are no more burnt offerings or scapegoats to hide behind. A Christian has to come forward and boldly offer oneself to God completely and without reserve. That is the meaning of fasting, charity and prayer during lent. A Christian worshipper should allow his/her spiritual and sacramental life bear meaning to the concrete experiences of life and human relationships.




+Bishop Mlungisi Pius Dlungwane
Diocese of Mariannhill



2015 Lent Reflection – Wednesday 25 February

2015 lent reflec 25 Feb copy


Jonah 3:1- 10 & Luke 11: 29-32

Behold, there is something greater than Jonah here!

We are all very familiar with the story of Jonah – immediately we think of being swallowed by the whale… Sadly though, that is often all we can recall about the person of Jonah.

While it is true that Jonah spent 3 nights in the belly of the whale, what is also true and maybe more important for us to remember is that Jonah went on to Nineveh and served as a sign for the people to repent. They heeded his message, and the greatest to the least repented. They saw the sign (Jonah) and they acted.

In many ways we are not too different from the people of Jesus’ time… we too often desire to receive a sign be it a road sign to tell us that we are on the right path or even a sign from God to reassure us that the path that we are on is in accordance with his will.

However, even though there are many signs put before us each day, do we really follow the signs? Think of how many times you have seen people disregard or ignore a sign – No Parking, No entry, No Smoking, No Cell Phones, etc.

Has a certain disregard for value of signs not also crept into our spirituality? Are we open to the “Signs of the Times” or are we so hell bent on our own path that we choose to ignore the signs. What does the sign of Jesus on the Cross mean for you this Lent?

Practical Suggestions:
Consider for a moment:
What are the signs saying to you about: Your Family Life, Your Social Life, Your Work Life, and Your Prayer Life?

I thank you Lord, for the wonderful sign that you are to me – you remind me of God’s love for me. Help me to be open to the signs of the times, so that I may indeed be a sign and a symbol of God’s love to my family and my community. Amen

2015 Lent Reflection – Tuesday 24 February

24 Feb Lent Reflec


The word has power to mold and build up persons but it also has power of destruction. When you receive praise, you feel good about yourself. This encourages you to do more. On the other hand, one word can destroy and demoralize another. This character assassination is common in the era of social media. The word is powerful.

We communicate with God using words in prayer. We tell God our needs and thank him for his goodness to us. We also intercede for others. It is not the length of our prayer (number of words used) that matters but the quality of what we say. Jesus taught us a simple way of communicating with God. The Lord’s Prayer is easy, simple and encompasses all we need to say to God.

On our side, we need to listen to the Word of God. Allowing this word to influence and direct all that we do in life. God relies on you to cooperate with his word to yield good results


  • Daily Bible reading will help you hear God’s word
  • Meditation on the word will help you bear fruit
  • Prayer for your own and other’s needs
  • Control your tongue during Lent.

Thank you Lord, for speaking your word to us and for allowing us to know your will for us. Lord, during this time of Lent, I ask you to help me listen to your word and to implement it in my life. Help me to control my tongue that I may not destroy anyone by what I say. Amen.




+Bishop Frank Nabuasah SVD
Diocese of Francistown


2015 Lent Reflection – Monday 23 February

22nd Feb Palm Sunday Len Reflec


The period of Lent is traditionally associated with acts of depriving oneself of some leisure and pleasure. Well catechized Catholics know what they should avoid during lent, what they should not eat during Lent and what parts of the liturgy and gestures that should be avoided during Lent. These practices, which are more of omissions, avoidances, exclusions and prohibition than deliberate positive acts can end up being ends in themselves. It can easily happen that by the time Lent comes to an end, one is able to cheerfully recount one’s success in managing to avoid certain practices and behaviors and feels good about it, or one is depressed for having given in to self-indulging practices.

Whether one by the end of the Lenten period is elated about his success on Lenten observance or is depressed by the dismal failure in curbing leisures and pleasures, the question is how has these practices opened me more to God’s love for me and how has this experienced love of God enabled me to love others, especially those in need. Lenten exercises are just that, they are exercises that lead to a certain goal, as physical exercises lead to excellent performance of the sport for which the exercises were done. Lenten exercises are not an end in themselves but are meant to increase the love of God in us through the people we encounter and interact with. If they do not achieve this, one might as well drop them. This is illustrated by the story of a monk who was so touchy and grumpy because he had given up his smoke during Lent, and the Abbot urged him to resume his smoking during Lent if that was to help him to be more peaceful and kind to others.

Today’s readings invite us to consider our Lenten observance in relation to the wellbeing of others. In the first reading, God through the mouth of Moses, tells his people to be holy, and as if God wanted to preempt the question of “what does it mean to be holy?” God immediately states what people must and must not do. “You shall not steal. You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another. You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer. You shall not curse the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, you must openly tell your neighbour his offense”. According to this reading holiness has to do with kind and benevolent acts towards others. While meditation and contemplation have their place in connecting us with God, and thus making us holy, God has decided that holiness shall also be achieved when we give others their fair wages, when we act justly, when we defend the rights of others and when we correct others.

The Gospel gives us insight and motivation as to why we should act in a caring and a just manner towards others, especially the needy, which is the fact that it is Jesus himself who is present in such people so that what we do to them we do to Jesus. We live in a world where the value of a person is determined by status and material possession. In these days the worth of the person lies not in his or her dignity but on usefulness, and for this reason, the sick, the hungry and the old are ignored, the unborn are easily gotten rid of, and those who are poor are used as tools and commodities.

Our Lenten observance must lead us to an appreciation of the dignity of all people by virtue of having been created in the image of God and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Being appreciative of this dignity, we will then be moved to protect their rights as suggested by the 1st reading and to care and support them in their need as invited to do so by the Gospel and when we do that, we shall be attaining to holiness.

What I find striking is that God appears to be making the achievement of holiness easy, he is not making a demand that requires a lot of effort and energy, he simply asks us “not to steal, not to lie, not to defraud, not make life of others difficult. It is as if God is saying, just avoid doing anything wrong towards your neighbour, and you will be holy, it can’t be any easier than that!

In the Gospel, although Jesus moves a step further requiring us not only to avoid doing wrong but also doing something positive, he is not asking us to do extraordinary things, but simply to give someone water to drink, visit someone in prison, checking a sick person and giving a piece of bread to the hungry person. He seems to say, just do these simple things and you will achieve holiness. If by the end of Lent I can say that through my Lenten observance I have managed to minimize doing something wrong and I have tried to be kind in simple ways, then my Lenten period will have been fruitful, than just being happy because I have managed to keep the Lenten fast. We thank God for the period of Lent in which he invites us to holiness, and for making holiness appear so much easy to attain.




+Bishop S. Sipuka
Diocese of Mthatha



2015 Lent Reflection – Sunday 22 February

22nd Feb Palm Sunday Len Reflec


Mark 1: 12 – 15

What do you think of when you see a rainbow? South Africa is called a rainbow nation. Its citizens belong to a variety of cultures: black, coloured and white, Sotho, Zulu, Xosa, Tswana …… But a rainbow also indicates peace and harmony; so many colours bonded together in one rainbow. Moreover, a rainbow appears after the rain, a source of life and death. Do we have that peace and harmony we are longing for in our country, our Church, our families, our own lives?

This first Sunday of Lent helps us to find direction. God’s intention is clear. He wants to establish a new covenant not just with Noah but also with us. He wants to make a new beginning and He has done it already in Jesus Christ, His beloved Son.

What can we do? Listen to the call of Jesus: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel”. Conversion, is a key-word for Lent. It means to change certain habits which are at variance with the way Jesus Christ showed us in His words and deeds.

Practical Suggestions:

  • Have some time together as parents and children for sharing your daily experiences and a short prayer at least once a week.
  • Read and meditate on the gospel you heard today.
  • Forgive a family member or neighbour who has grieved you. Make the first step.

Lord Jesus, you told us that the kingdom of God is at hand. Help us to move forward in our faith journey and repent.




+Bishop Jan A De Groef M.Afr
Diocese of Bethlehem



2015 Lent Reflection – Saturday 21 February

21 Feb Lent Reflec

Saturday 21 February

Scripture: Luke 5:27-32


This first Saturday of Lent recalls the example of Levi: he heard the invitation of Jesus to leave all things and follow him; and he acted upon it without reserve, even so far as calling his friends together. Why did he have a feast with them? To say goodbye? Or was it to introduce them to Jesus? Certainly to introduce them to Jesus that’s why the Scribes and Pharisees became so critical.

Jesus healed this man not of any obvious physical ailment, it was a healing that restores relationships with others. It was not only tax gatherers that sat at table with Jesus but others, hence we read that “a great company of tax collectors and others” who sat at table with Jesus. Many were freed from those things which separate people from one another and push them apart, isolate them, make them enemies of each other.

Sitting at table represents the Eucharist. Lent invites us to be restored in our relationships with others and to sit anew at the Table of the Eucharist.


Isaiah directs us to consider the way we speak to others, talk about others, feed the hungry and comfort those in distress … “then you shall take delight in the Lord” – another reference to enjoying his table company.


O Lord you are good and forgiving, full of mercy to all who call to you. Teach me, O Lord, your way, so that I may walk in your truth. (Responsorial Psalm: 86)

edward-risiBishop Edward Risi
Diocese of Keimoes – Upington


20th Feb Lent Reflect



Isaiah 58:1-9


“To fast or not to fast…!” is that the question?

Wednesday’s reading gave us some guideliness for our Lenten journey. The prophet Joel (2:12) said: ‘come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning.’ Jesus too spoke about fasting in Matthew’s Gospel (6:16): “When you fast…”.

Still, in today’s first reading some people in Israel seem to be questioning: ‘Why should we fast if you never see it, why do penance if you never notice?’ (Is 58:3)

God’s answer is clear and precise. “Look, you do business on your fast-days, you oppress all your workmen; look, you quarrel and squabble when you fast and strike the poor man with your fist.” (Is 58: 3 – 4)

Then God continues: “Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me – it is the Lord who speaks – to break unjust fetters and undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke, to share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor, to clothe the man you see to be naked and not turn from your own kin?” (Is 58: 6 – 7)

Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, martyred in 1980 in San Salvador, who would soon be beatified once said: “There is a criteria by which to judge if God is near or is far away. Everyone concerned about the hungry, the poor, everyone who has vanished in police custody, for those who have been tortured, for prisoners, for all people who have suffered, these have God close at hand.”

Practical Suggestions

  • Through the prophet Isaiah we are asked to convert, remove all types of violence towards others and care about them. How does this apply to your life at home, at school, at work, in your community?
  • Read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on fasting and the conversion of the heart (CCC 1430)
  • Look for St Francis’ prayer: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace” and make it yours during this Lenten season.


Lord Jesus, help me rediscover fasting in a new way. Help me remove every form of violence and oppression in my life and make me an instrument of your peace. Amen




+Bishop José Luis Gerardo
Diocese of Ingwavuma

Reflection 19 February 2015


Deuteronomy 30:15 -20 & Luke 9:22-25

Choose life…

We often hear the saying: “Life is all about choices”, and indeed it is. Yet do we really consider the choices that we make? It is also true that the choices we make today have eternal consequences for ourselves and for others.” This should cause us to sit up and pay more attention to the choices that we make – even those that we consider to be small choices.

Lent is an appropriate time to examine our choices. Why do I do the things I do? Why do I say the things I say? Why do I think or feel the way that I do? Are my thoughts, my words, my actions and my feelings life-giving, to both myself and others?

Recall the words of Moses in today’s Reading… “I set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you AND your descendants may live.”

Jesus in the gospel, also invites us to examine our choices. He poses the question: “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself”. Am I choosing in such a way that I may be gaining many things… material goods, friends, fame; YET in the process I am losing myself, my family, and maybe even my faith.

Practical Suggestion:

Examine the choices that you have made recently, have they been life-giving? Have they led you closer to your family, have they led you closer to God.


Lord God, I thank you for the many opportunities that come to me each day. Help me to choose in a way that is pleasing to You and life-giving to others. Amen