During the celebration of the Mass together with the Diocesan Coordinators from all the Arch/dioceses in Kenya, Bishop John Oballa gave his deeply reflected homily. He based his reflection on the Scripture Readings for Wednesday of the 7th Week of Easter (Acts 20:28-38; John 17:11-19). St Paul told the Presbyters (priests) of the Church of Ephesus: Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers……I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard….” In the Gospel, Jesus prays to the Father asking him to “keep those you have given me true to your name….I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one.”
The Bishop, who is also the Chairperson of KCCB-CJPD emphasized the key issue in these two readings, that is: the effect of the evil one perverting the truth and urging people to be on guard. He began by quoting St John Paul II who said that whoever doubts the existence of the Devil, such a person is not a Christian. The prophecy of St Paul has come to pass and its truth is seen in three key recent issues (just to mention a few), namely:
- The unimaginable ruling by the Judiciary on the issue of LGBTQ+
- The subtle and covert perversion of some religious truths and practices like fasting which has misled so many people
- The recent ruling that negatively affects pastoral work in the learning institutions.
Bishop John said that with the ruling on LGBTQ+ the people who are seriously at risk are the young people, bringing into serious concern on who will form the heart of our children. In the Court of Appeal at Kisumu (Civil Appeal No 173 of 2020) Justice Joel Ngugi ruled in the appeal of a case involving a pupil in St Anne’s Primary School Ahero, in the Archdiocese of Kisumu that learners will not be compelled to follow a school’s faith. This meant that the pupils/students will not be forced to attend Mass on Fridays or any day chosen by the school.
He insisted that it is only through the formation of the heart of the people, especially the young people to form their hearts. The formation of the heart of the young people in the learning institutions is achieved through the spiritual formation that is provided by the church and religious organizations in schools that they sponsor. He urged the Coordinators of Justice & Peace to continue in their quest for justice on these areas. There is need, he emphasized, to be keen on the sly nature of the evil one who is capable even to begin with some truth and drive it to extremes. He gave an example of the religious practice of fasting which has been taken up by some cults to an extreme case whereby people starve themselves to death in the false hope that they would meet with Jesus.
The Diocesan Coordinators are gathering in the Catholic Diocese of Kitui to evaluate the concluded Lenten Campaign of 2023 and beginning the long journey of developing materials for the 2024 Lenten Campaign. It started on Monday 23rd May 2023 and ends on Thursday 25th May 2023.
The Archdiocese of Kisumu is represented by Rev. Fr. Samuel Nyattaya and Rev. Fr. Anthony Futa.