Church in Africa





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Reflections for this Election Year



    1. 1.Readings :

Acts 4, 8-12; I Jn 3, 1-2; Jn 10, 11-18.


    1. 2.Scripture focus

                      • In the Old Testament, the history of Israel shows that many leaders did not serve the people in the way God wanted. On the contrary they looked for their own interests, not for the good of their people. The prophets criticized them harshly.
                  • Jesus takes the image of the shepherd to describe the attitude he establishes with the people, the same attitude he wants the leaders to adopt towards their “sheep”. He is the good shepherd, not so much the sweet, the tender, but the true, the authentic shepherd.
            • He describes his role as the one who lays down his life, the one who knows his sheep, the voice that the sheep recognize. He compares this to the attitude of the hired man who does not care for the sheep but only for his salary. (see Richard Baawobr “Bible study and sharing on the Gospel of Mark; Sundays of the year B”, p.52)


    1. 3.Link with Catholic Social Teaching

      • The 19 paragraphs of the introduction to CSDC are worth reading for all who are interested in this topic. They speak about how the Church is concerned about offering to the people of our time her social doctrine, guided by Christ, the “great Shepherd”. It is out of a real concern, as shepherd, that she has compassion on the crowds, denounces the oppression of the poor, and proposes positive action to promote development, justice and peace, and integrity of creation. These are guidelines which should inspire our own action in social and political fields.
      • Christ, the true Shepherd, “reveals to human authority, always tempted by the desire to dominate, its authentic and complete meaning as service”…Those who govern should behave as ministers of the Providence. (CSDC No 383).
      • The men and women called to political service should be ready to lay their lives, to sacrifice themselves for the common good and create a culture of probity, responsibility, ready to accept that they are not above the law but should serve it, and apply it first in their own life. ( cf. Instr. Laboris for the II Synod for Africa, p. 59)


    1. 4.Yes, Kenya matters (Kenyan Life Focus)

    • The African Bishops during the Synod, including Cardinal John Njue, lamented that many Catholics involved in politics were not good models of leadership and did not dedicate themselves to the common good.
    • How do we recognize the “voice” of the leaders (in Church and society ) who are truly committed to lay down their life for their “sheep”?
    • This is election year in Kenya: This is truly a blessing, especially when we compare with other countries where this is not happening.   What can we do to choose the best candidates to represent us?


    1. 5.Questions for sharing in the SCC

    • When did we experience the presence, in public life, of a real good shepherd?
    • What do you know of the life of Julius Nyerere of Tanzania? Why is the Catholic Church opening his cause of beatification?


    1. 6.African Wisdom

      • A quarrelsome chief does not hold a village together. Kiongozi mwenye mazoea ya ugomvi hawezi kuwanunganisha wanakijiji.
      • A leader does not wish for war.   Kiongozi mzuri hawezi kuchochea vita.





Acts 3:13-15.17-19; 1John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48


Scriptural Focus/Biblical Reflection

Like the two disciples, the Lucan communities suffer from not being able to recognize the Risen Christ in the midst of their difficulties and persecutions. Gradually however, the two disciples are convinced: they recognise the Risen Christ. He is with them; their joy is great. He says, “Peace be with you!”

His risen presence is both gift and commission—receive my peace and give it to others! Be agents of peace. The presence of the Risen Christ is a commitment to the earthly lives of people and a call to repentance. They understand the Scriptures and the purpose of his death and resurrection. Then he says, “You are my witnesses”.

Those who recognise him must join Jesus in his universal mission of reconciliation. Disciples are now ministers of his word, calling people of all nations, tribes and cultures to live in reconciliation and peace.


Link with Catholic Social Teaching

Working for peace can never be separated from announcing the Gospel, which is in fact the “good news of peace” (Acts 10:36; cf. Eph 6:15) addressed to all men and women. At the centre of “the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) remains the mystery of the cross, because peace is born of Christ’s sacrifice (cf. Is 53:5). The crucified Jesus has overcome divisions, re-establishing peace and reconciliation, precisely through the cross, “thereby bringing the hostility to an end” (Eph 2:16) and bringing the salvation of the Resurrection to mankind (CSDC 493).

The Church teaches that true peace is made possible only through forgiveness and reconciliation. It is not easy to forgive when faced with the consequences of war and conflict because violence, especially when it leads “to the very depths of inhumanity and suffering,” leaves behind a heavy burden of pain. This pain can only be eased by a deep, faithful and courageous reflection on the part of all parties, a reflection capable of facing present difficulties with an attitude that has been purified by repentance. The weight of the past, which cannot be forgotten, can be accepted only when mutual forgiveness is offered and received; this is a long and difficult process, but one that is not impossible (CSDC 517).

Mutual forgiveness must not eliminate the need for justice and still less does it block the path that leads to truth. On the contrary, justice and truth represent the concrete requisites for reconciliation (CSDC 518). See also CSDC 516.


Kenyan Life Focus

After the elections in 2007/2008, our country descended into anarchy: politicians incited our brothers and sisters to rise against one another, to fight, to kill, loot and rape.

Today, almost five years later, we are still suffering and reeling from the effects of that violence; the scars and wounds are still fresh in us. We still have hundreds of IDPs who have not yet been settled, no perpetrators of that violence have been successfully tried (though some suspects are before the ICC), ethnic suspicions and tensions are still simmering; true and full reconciliation has not happened for most of us.

We, however, acknowledge and commend the many efforts the church(es) have done to reconcile the different local communities that make up the congregations of their churches.

As the campaigns for this year’s elections gather momentum, it is very easy to forget what happened five years ago and slump back into violence, should candidates of our ethnic communities not emerge victorious. This remains a real possibility unless true forgiveness and reconciliation occur. There is an urgent need for us all to move beyond negative ethnicity and embrace people of all the tribes of our country. 


Questions for Reflection

Relate (share) an experience of reconciliation which brought peace in your life.

What role is our Jumuiya going to play in promoting peace and reconciliation this election year?

In the light of the gospel, what are the qualities we would like to see in our political leaders/

What role can religious and civic leaders continue to play in the preparation and conduct of the upcoming elections?


African Wisdom

If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends; you talk to your enemies. Iwapo tunataka amani, tusiongee na marafiki wetu pekee, ila pia adui wetu.

A village never celebrates the death of one of its own.

Kifo cha mwana Kijiji hakisherekewi na wenyeji wa Kijiji.

Peace is never brought by one person, but by all people.

Amani hailetwi na mtu mmoja, bali huletwa na watu wote.


I) SECOND SUNDAY of EASTER (B) 15 April 2012



Acts: 4:32-35
I John: 5:1-6
John 20: 19-31


Scripture Focus

The readings throughout this week are episodes and events about the resurrection of the Lord. This is unbelievable news to many. Some have the courage to testify, but it is causing a lot of curiosity, anxiety and slowly it is leading to disharmony and confrontation among the believers, non-believers and leaders.

On the one hand are ardent witnesses; people who fearlessly and boldly denounce the human weakness that ignored the prophecy, gave false witness against an innocent soul and denied the reality that Jesus Christ is back to life. They call for repentance.

On the other hand, we have the Pharisees, scribes and those feeling threatened by the great message of resurrection that ushered hope and victory of one despised. By refusing to acknowledge the resurrection they want to justify the persecution, crucifixion and death of Jesus.

The witnesses have a strong faith and clarity that Jesus is more than what the scribes and Pharisees are presenting him to be. By the power of the Risen Lord good things are happening. People are renewed, re-empowered and being invited to a better life. Firm in their belief the apostles ignore the threats to stop witnessing. They are bonded together by the power of non- vengeance and non- violence. They too have a very strong sense of solidarity; sharing possessions and treating each other as a family with concern for each other’s reality.


Link with Catholic Social Teaching

The Church teaches that the true focus of human action for justice is to transform the structures of cruelty into structures of compassion and solidarity. This demands a personal conversion through repentance for sins against the command to love one’s neighbour as oneself.

Citizens who are made new by the love of God can change the rules and quality of relationship thus transforming the order that breeds hostility, envy, hatred…

The answer to so many expectations of those suffering, those denied a dignified living by others’ negligence, can only be made through solidarity and a firm search and witness for justice. {Ref. CSDC 4, 5}

The Church teaches that solidarity and sharing are the principles for shaping a new world order. They express and remind us that we are just one family whatever our differences of race, sex, nationality, political or even economic power. The people from other places outside mine, those from other languages, those from other schools of thought and those of other affiliations, be it religious or political, are not enemies but sisters and brothers to support.


The Kenya Reality

There are so many Kenyans who are living the post resurrection week. Fear, isolation, and feeling of being unwanted have left many afraid to proclaim the truth they have come to cherish.

There are obstacles put in the way of those proclaiming the liberating truth by those who fear the truth that will discredit them. They want to maintain the status quo in order to continue being looked as the hope even when they are not. Many want to continue being relied on even when they cannot deliver.

Many are indifferent and fail to take responsibility so that they can retain friendships, continue holding to power.

Now is the time to hear the voice of peace “Peace be with you”. This is the assuring voice.

The culture of accumulation of things; titles, comfort and fame so that others can beg from them, so that others can be ashamed of their condition contradicts the message of the Risen Lord whose victory came to embrace all equally.


Wisdom from the Ancestors

Where two people ate ‘this’ and ‘that’, one of them owns ‘this’ and the other owns ‘that’. The people who move together are happy because they agree and sacrifice their individual differences for their common good.

If Nine despise One, it will never make Ten. We need each other in order to achieve genuine victory. For the society to be complete, everyone matters and has a significant role to play. 

An elephant is big, yet it does not give birth to twins. One’s political, economic power or education capacity is not everything. Those who are successful or in prestigious positions should realize that they too have certain limitations; they cannot manage without the co-operation of others who may not be as successful as themselves.



What words or actions can we use to reassure those closed in the doors of inhuman situations and all forms of prison? How can we bring new hope to those languishing in camps and challenge those in leadership to live by the truth and work for harmony?

How can we apply the apostolic method of solidarity so that we can become hope and power for others in our midst? (cf 1st reading)


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