Category Archives: Religion

CARDINAL NJUE APPOINTED AS MEMBER OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch
MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2014

News sent to you courtesy of AMECEA Online News services

The Holy Father Pope Francis on 9 June 2014 confirmed H.E. John Cardinal Njue, The Archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya as a member of the Congregation for the Clergy.

Together with Cardinal Njue are:- Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Cardinal Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, Cardinal Angelo Scola, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, Archbishop Tomash Bernard Peta, Bishop Fernando Antonio Figueiredo O.F.M., Bishop Klaus Kung, and Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff.

CHALLENGES OF TODAY’S GOSPEL

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
MT. 5:20-26
JUNE 12, 2014

Jesus said to his disciples: “If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the Kingdom of heaven.” Another version says:

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Scribes and Pharisees were pretenders and hypocrites. They taught what they did not live themselves. They were full of extortion, prey, spoil, plunder and grasping self-indulgence.

They were proud and arrogant. What they said was final, whether bad or good. As true Christians we are required to be humble and open to dialogue.

The second part of the Gospel tells us to cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.

We should wronged no one. We should take advantage of no one. Jesus is saying this not to condemn you, but let you be free of sin and evil deeds.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com
Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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POPE FRANCIS JETS IN HOLY LAND

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
SATURDAY, MAY 24, 2014

Pope Francis has just arrived in Holy Land with a call for urgent steps to end Syria’s three-year-old civil war. His Middle East trip is also aimed at bringing hope to the region’s dwindling Christian population.

More than 160,000 people have been killed in Syria’s conflict and millions have fled to neighboring countries, including Jordan. The refugees are from all faiths, but Christians feel threatened by radical Sunni Muslims now leading the military insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad.

In Israel and the occupied West Bank, where the pope will travel on Sunday and Monday, more Palestinian Christians are looking to leave, accusing Israel of eroding their economic prospects and hobbling their freedom of movement.

Thamer Boulus, a 45-year-old Iraqi teacher fled the city of Mosul with his family because he was receiving death threats as a Christian. Threats to Christians have been scrawled by suspected Jewish radicals on Church property in the Holy Land.

Pope believes that one way of ending this conflict when members of all religions work together for peace. This can explain why he has enlisted a rabbi and an Islamic leader to be part of a travelling papal delegation for the first time. Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud, a leader of Argentina’s Islamic community, are the Pope’s longtime friends from Argentina.

Even though it is a risk for the Pope to travel without tight security, the Vatican said Francis wanted to travel in a normal car and would eschew bulletproof vehicles. He travelled from the airport in a modest white car and arrived at the stadium on the back of an open-topped vehicle.

According to Palestinians, the fact that Pope is flying in directly from Jordan instead of going through Israel’s security barrier from Jerusalem is a major morale boost. Pope Francis is due to get a firsthand look at the plight of Syrian, Iraqi and Palestinian refugees later Sunday when he celebrates Mass at Amman’s international stadium and then meets with some 600 refugees and disabled children at a church in Bethany beyond the Jordan, which many believe is the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism.

Sunday evening he will head to Jerusalem and meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras.

On Monday, he will visit the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the Western Wall, and Yad Vashem. He will spend time with the two Chief Rabbis, and with Israel’s president Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. To wrap it all up, he will meet with men and women religious in the church of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives, celebrate mass one more time, and then depart for Rome at 8 p.m.

The Syrian Civil War, also known as the Syrian Uprising is an armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba’ath government, which took power in 1963, and those seeking to oust it. The protests were part of the wider North African and Middle Eastern protest movements known as the Arab Spring with Syrian protesters at first demanding democratic and economic reform within the framework of the existing government.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com
Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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Father Omolo Beste’s Homily on fifth Sunday of Easter

From: joachim omolo ouko
Father Omolo Beste’s Homily
Sunday, May 18, 2014

Today is fifth Sunday of Easter. Today’s first reading taken from Acts 6:1-7 is quite a challenge to us all. It depicts how nepotism and tribalism entered the first Church as the number of disciples continued to grow. The Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.

The Hellenists were the converts among the Jews who had returned to Judea after having lived abroad in the Greek world and still spoke Greek and had adopted Greek cultural elements. The Hebrews who were also the Christian converts among the Jews born and raised in Israel complained that Hellenists should not be treated equally as Hebrews since they were from different tribe.

Another reason why the Hebrews neglected Hellenist widows in the daily distribution was because in those days women didn’t inherit property; their livelihood depended on what their father or husband brought home. If none of them existed, widows could “glean” and pick up the leftovers after others’ fields had been harvested.

When the twelve chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles, Stephen was stoned to death because he said it was not right to neglect Hellenist widows since they too were children of God, created in his own image and likeness just like Hebrews. Stephen himself was a Hellenistic Jew attempting to prove that Jesus is the Messiah in a Hellenistic place of worship.

In our modern time we can call the killing of Stephen political assassination, the killing of individual citizens who oppose the government which is corrupt, tribal, and which is not open to reform. Such murder cases lie unresolved in court registries and in police files because of government conspiracy to cover up.

The second reading taken from 1 Pt 2:4-9 is yet another big challenge. We are invited to come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones where we are called to build our spiritual house.

Rejection may be emotionally painful because of the social nature of human beings and the need of social interaction between other humans is essential. Jesus was rejected, yet he counted this as nothing compared to the love of God.

Unless you build your rejection into Jesus’ spirituality, it can really hurt. It inflicts damage to our psychological well-being that goes way beyond mere emotional pain. We all have a fundamental need to belong to a group (or tribe). When we get rejected, this need becomes destabilized and the disconnection we feel adds to our emotional pain.

In the Gospel taken from Jn 14:1-12 Jesus is challenging us not let our hearts be troubled. In our sufferings we still need to have faith in God. What we should acknowledge is that suffering and sorrow are a part of life.

When you’re angry and bitter, you can still cling to Jesus in the midst of your tears. You can grab onto him and refuse to let go until he brings you through it. You’ll find, to your surprise, that he holds on to you even tighter than you hold on to him.

Jesus is calling on us to have faith in God in our sufferings because he understands better what means suffering and sorrow. He knows about being hurt. He remembers the terrible moment on cross. That is why he is calling on us to have faith also in me.

In his Father’s house there are many dwelling places. “If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be”.

No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. If you know him, then you will also know his Father. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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Of Conspiracy Theories and Denials

From: Sam Muigai

By Gimba Kakanda

Abubakar Shekau was formerly a lieutenant at Lord’s Resistance Army. He left LRA after a marked difference in the direction of the terrorist cult’s ideology with his boss, and converted to Islam to champion an Al-Qaeda-style insurgency. He migrated to Nigeria in 2005, and settled down in Shekau, Yobe State. In his early interviews, he insisted, refuting his boss’s charges of insubordination, that he left because of his disapproval of LRA’s quest for a society governed by the Biblical Ten Commandments. His preference of Sharia was after a brief stay in the Yemeni city of Sana’a where, for studying Islamic orthodoxy in toto, according to him, he was nicknamed Darul Tauheed. Shekau was an LRA-trained, ultra-conservative Christian and Ugandan. We must join hands in rejecting his claims.

Of course, the source of the above is my imagination, my own conspiracy theory, to pander to the ongoing misuse of our intellect in analysing the genesis and complexities of our troubles as a nation and as a people, and on the junctures where humanity takes flight and abandons us to conspire against one another, against reason, and against common sense. The past few weeks have been about competing to outdo one another in inventions of unverifiable stories, sometimes amusing and, other times, and these are of higher frequency, shameful, so much so that you wish to recommend the conspiracy theorists for admission into mental institutions.

If you have joined our deception-gathering agents, whose operations are everything but secret, the Nigerian secret police, in living in denial of Shekau’s actual existence as shared by their spokesperson Ms Marilyn Ogah, there are archives to go explore – and the Internet is one of them. There are videos of Shekau’s existence as an unknown radical preacher and now the most wanted bogeyman in the world on Youtube and other video-sharing websites where doubters can watch and study him, his mannerisms, and transformations, employing your latent Sherlock Holmes-esque skills. In the early days of this insurgency, a friend of mine who had followed Shekau’s commentaries on the affairs of the world, long before he metamorphosed into an invisible man that taunts our undermined military might, gave me a DVD of the man’s selected sermons. The DVDs were on sale in Minna, I don’t know about now. Shekau is real, and dangerous in pseudo-intellectual warfare. And to say that he doesn’t know an “alif” about Islam is cheap, for the Shekau I listened to was a considerably learned man who wallowed, which he now does in full blast, in hollow ideologies, possessed by the demons of an unrealisable society he yearned for!

Screaming that Islam is a religion of peace and dismissing Shekau as non-Muslim or non-Nigerian, as some have done in shock over possibility of a Nigerian destroying his own people, is no longer an effective reaction to terrors and stereotypes. Evil has neither a religion nor a nationality, neither a race nor an ethnicity, and so long as this remains undisputed the activity of a particular terrorist group is not a fault of the larger people whose belief and ideology it selfishly abuses.

The merchants of death at Boko Haram have never identified with any concept aside from one built around the Islamic, even if ignorantly, which their Commander had explained until he no longer made sense. Shekau is not a Christian. He’s not Joseph Kony, the elusive leader of LRA whose delusion was vaguely attributed to his quest for “a society governed by the Biblical Ten Commandments.” But everybody knows that Kony is not a practising Christian. The same way our most intelligent dismissal of Shakau may be to highlight that he’s not a practising Muslim, for the Muslim identity is now both spiritual and political.

What the Boko Haram insurgents perpetrate is understandably un-islamic but they are Muslims. Disqualifying them as non-Muslims is not only a cheap escape from this maddening reality that begs for our honest confrontations but questions the authenticity of our own faith too. For instance, Islam is unambiguous in its condemnation of polytheism. In fact, polytheism is the shortest and smoothest highway to apostasy but so many of us patronise marabouts and seers to seek solutions for our problems, and to ‘protect’ our future, in spite of our knowledge of the consequences. Unfaithful Muslims, of whom the terrorists are frontline members, are candidates of Jahannam. Being a Muslim doesn’t mean being spiritually and behaviorally upright, being a Mumineen, a believer, is what makes one so. Islam is not a secret cult, and apostasy in a world where the “Islamists” have turned the Muslim identity into political is now contradictory, and should be declared with caution. Shekau may have lost his spiritual identification with Islam, but he’s politically a Muslim.

Every ideology can be exploited to promote an evil cause. Like the abuse of democratic ideals by Nigerian politicians. So, instead of propounding conspiracy theories, let’s dedicate our energy to all efforts being made to rescue the girls abducted in Chibok – and all, boys and girls, abducted before them! Where are they, over a month later? Our campaign right now must be to remind the international community that has stripped us naked, fairly so, that #BringBackOurGirls is neither a posing nor fashion contest. We don’t want to see their Yves Saint Laurent suits, don’t want to see their gucci shoes, don’t want to see their Rolex watches… anymore. If they really want to help us, then they must understand that urgency is requisite in counter-terrorism. But if their actual intention is merely to embarrass us in style, laugh over our postcolonial failures in the closet, and publicise the other side of our ‘barbarous’ people, then let them open up and leave us alone. They must stop documenting our miseries if they’re not willing to assist us. Our girls have marked 32 days, over a month, in captivity. Is this a fashionable tragedy?

And all the way from America, where President Jonathan has adopted as the arbitrator of our public opinion in his “America Will know” blunder, a certain Senator has called our President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, “some guy” and his government “practically non-existent!” Well, John McCain owes us no apology at all. Practically, he said. And I agree. See, a people’s daughters were abducted, they’re in immeasurable misery, yet the impractical “Establishment” is expecting them to “waka come” – and see them in their grand Palace (of shame). Aren’t they and their ilk, (s)elected to serve, supposed to visit the ‘mourning’ citizens and apologise for failing to defend them as pledged in their Oath of Office or assure them of a possibility of rescuing those unfortunate daughters of a “non-existent” country? Yet they sit on a trillion naira, expecting hashtags to gather and venture into Sambisa Forest and touch the heart of the morally unconscious terrorists or even, by a twist of miracle, save the citizens they have vowed to protect!

I really wish I could sit down with my kids in the future, telling them, with painful nostalgia and perhaps pride, of a terrorist cult called “Boko Haram” that terrorized my youth, as our parents had told us of Maitatsine’s violent dissent – and the immediate subduing of Mohammed Marwa-indoctrinated Yan Tatsine by a militarily no-nonsense government of President Shehu Shagai, and also Major-General Muhammadu Buhari !

But our present counter-terrorism isn’t a guarantee for that hope. I fear that our kids may be similarly rattled by this evil creation of our time, a product of a dangerously built society. I fear. For us. How this literally frail Shekau who may not even stand me in a boxing bout managed to defy our security arrangements, outwitting the salary-earning, civilian-brutalising “sojas” there to defend the people, is a proof that ours is a structurally collapsing nation. May God save us from us!

By Gimba Kakanda
@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)

Sudan: Court gives Mariam Yahya until Thursday to abandon her Christian religion or face death sentence

From: Sam Muigai

A Sudanese court has given a 27-year-old woman until Thursday to abandon her newly adopted Christian faith or face a death sentence, judicial sources have said.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim was charged with apostasy, as well as adultery, for marrying a Christian man, something prohibited for Muslim women to do and which makes the marriage void. Read more here: http://aje.me/1mX2TeW

TEAM TO ADVISE POPE ON SEX ABUSE

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014

Judy from Westlands, Nairobi writes: “Fr Beste you are a real journalist. Imagine I was not aware that Pope Francis appointed commission team to look into sex abuse by priests. Honestly I must admit that I am very ignorant. I didn’t even know that in USA there is a seminary for widowers and divorcees. Your news blog in an aye opener to many of us-please Beste continue with this noble apostolate.

Fr Beste, what do you think, with this commission can Pope allow priests to marry since sex abuse is becoming too much? I think this abuse can only stop when priests will be allowed to marry. They are human beings and need to be with wives like other men.”

Thank you for your sentiments Judy. Yes, Pope Francis in March this year appointed a team of 8 commissioners to confront an issue that has shaken the church for decades now. The team includes Marie Collins, who was sexually abused by a cleric in the 1960s and is a leading campaigner on the issue in Ireland.

Others are Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who spearheaded that city’s response to the problem. Poland’s former prime minister, a prominent British psychologist and an expert in canon law. The panel has only advisory power and cannot dictate to the pope what he must do even though he has been speaking about reform in the Roman Catholic Church.

The sexual-abuse scandal has cost the church billions of dollars in settlements with victims and hurt church attendance, particularly in the U.S. and Ireland, where the largest number of cases have emerged. In many cases, priests found to have abused children were moved from parish to parish rather than turned over to civil authorities.

Last month, a United Nations committee issued a harsh report criticizing the Holy See for allowing such priests to escape punishment. It said that tens of thousands of children around the world had suffered sexual abuse by priests.

According to the Vatican, the new committee will only consider guidelines on disciplining priests who have abused children, training new clerics to prevent future cases and caring for the victims of abuse and has got nothing to do with allowing priests to marry. Pope Francis has made clear that the church must hold the protection of minors amongst her highest priorities.

Sheila Hollins, a professor of psychiatry in the U.K. who has studied the problem and has participated in church-sponsored panels on the questions of child abuse, is a member, as is Father Humberto Miguel Yanez, a Jesuit priest who is a longtime associate of Pope Francis in Argentina and is a prominent theologian there.

P. Hans Zollner, a German national who is a licensed psychologist and is vice rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome as well as Claudio Papale, an expert in canon law, are members, as is French child psychologist Catherine Bonnet. With the new group, the pope has made it clear that this issue is a priority for him.

Judy, I don’t think sex abuse by clergy should be reason for allowing priests to marry. You have heard cases where married pastors abuse women sexually. Engaging in sex abuse is because somebody goes out and does it. It’s far more subtle than that. The seeds of adultery or fornication are planted in the mind of individuals.

That is why it did not matter whether you are married or not. People have affairs with married women or children because they have allowed themselves to consider it that way. That’s all. Some do it because they are addicted to sex.

They are in the state of behavior outside the boundaries of social norms which reduces an individual’s ability to function efficiently in general routine aspects of life or develop healthy relationships.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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Twitter-@8000accomole

SHOCK AS MARRIED ANGLICANS BECOME CATHOLIC PRIESTS

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
TUESDAY, MAY 6, 2014

Rachel from Nyali, Mombasa writes: “Fr Beste you really shocked me. Since when did Catholic Church receive married Anglicans or other Protestants clergy to return to the full communion of the Catholic Church as priests? If this is the case then the Pope should just waive celibacy as a condition to become a priest or religious.

In fact I have a boy in form two who wants to become a priest after he completes school. I am afraid if I tell him about married Protestant clergy who return to catholic priests I am sure he will also be shocked. Otherwise I liked the way you answered Jerry. With his high sexual urges which he cannot be able to control better not to become a priest. My advice to him is that he should just forget about it and let him focus on other things.”

Thank you for this important question Rachel. Since according to long-standing Church discipline, Roman Catholic priests and religious are chosen from those who pledge to remain celibate, it is not a grantee that since married Anglicans become Catholic priests the Pope Francis should waive celibacy as a condition to priesthood.

I am of the opinion that you should just tell your son about it. This will help him make a mature decision. The Code of Canon Law reads: “Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity” (Canon 277).

According to this Canon, permanent deacons can be either celibate or married. The decision must be made prior to ordination. In Kenya and many parts of Africa we don’t have permanent deacons as yet.

What you should also know Rachel is that priestly celibacy isn’t a tradition in the major sense of a dogmatic teaching, but rather an ancient and honored discipline which can be changed. You should also be aware that just because the issue may become a topic of discussion within the Vatican does not mean change will happen anytime soon.

For any change in the Catholic Church it must be gradual and very carefully considered. If a change happens, it will be the result of careful deliberation, pastoral and prayerful contemplation. This may not occur during the tenure of Pope Francis as reformed catholic priests would wish. To their surprise it is unlikely to happen so soon.

Another point you should also know is that Pope Francis has not himself said there is possibility of waiving celibacy. This is just the mainstream media, which is all atwitter made by Pope Francis’s incoming secretary of state, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who is set to replace Cardinal Tarciscio Berone as the head of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State about the possibility of eliminating clerical celibacy.

He said this in Caracas, Venezuela, where he has been serving as papal nuncio (ambassador) to Venezuela. Apparently, it was an interview in anticipation of his leaving his role as the apostolic nuncio and going back to Rome to become Secretary of State.

In his discussion with the interviewer, following exchange occurred- Archbishop Pietro Parolin was quoted to have said: “Aren’t there two types of dogmas? Aren’t there unmovable dogmas that were instituted by Jesus and then there are those that came afterwards, during the course of the church’s history, created by men and therefore susceptible to change”?

In other words, it is not a church dogma and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition. According to Archbishop Pietro Parolin therefore, the work the church did to institute ecclesiastical celibacy must be considered.

This is a great challenge for the pope, because before he decides he must weigh the attitude of Catholic faithful, majority I believe would love to see priests and religious remain celibate. This is because pope is the one with the ministry of unity and all of those decisions must be made thinking of the unity of the church and not to divide it.

It is just the way you have been shocked that married Anglican clergy can cross to Catholic and become a priest in the Catholic Church with his family. This asserts what the archbishop stated that clerical celibacy is not a dogma but a matter of discipline- otherwise married Anglicans clergy would have not allowed crossing over to the Catholic.

Even though in the book Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio (an interview book done before he was pope), Cardinal Bergoglio said: Let’s see . . . I’ll begin with the last question: whether or not the Church is ever going to change its position with regard to celibacy, we cannot rush to the conclusion that this is what he meant exactly.

Conversation continues: “First, let me say I don’t like to play mind-reader. But assuming that the Church did change its position, I don’t believe it would be because of a lack of priests. Nor do I think celibacy would be a requirement for all who wanted to embrace priesthood.

If it did, hypothetically, do so, it would be for cultural reasons, as is the case in the East, where married men can be ordained. There, at a particular time and in that particular culture, it was so, and it continues to be so today.

I can’t stress enough that if the Church were to change its position at some point, it would be to confront a cultural problem in a particular place; it would not be a global issue or an issue of personal choice. That is my belief. . . .Right now I stand by Benedict XVI, who said that celibacy should be maintained.

Now, what kind of effect will this have on the number of those called to the priesthood? I am not convinced that eliminating celibacy would cause such an increase in those called to the priesthood as to make up for the shortage”.

The Eastern Catholic Church, like the Orthodox Church, has allowed either married or celibate men to be considered for ordination to either the diaconate in Christ or priesthood. Celibacy or marriage as a state in life is determined before the first ordination to the Diaconate. Bishops are chosen from the ranks of the celibate clergy.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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CHALLENGES OF CELIBATE LIFE

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
MONDAY, MAY 5, 2014

Jerry (not his real name) writes: “Father thank you for the article on prayer for vocations. I am a second year student majoring in engineering. Since I was in primary up to now I have desired to become a priest. My problem is that my libido is so high and I just know I cannot keep celibate lifestyle.

My question is, do you know of a way one can reduce sex urge? I find that some days the desire peaks, causing terrible psychological and physical stress on me, to the extent that sometimes I am forced to masturbate.

I wonder Father why this happens to me, despite the fact that my desire to become a priest is still high. If there is a way you can help me to overcome this then I will apply to join the seminary”.

Jerry I wish I could help you but I am not. May be you can try to discuss it with a sex therapists. I feel that you should come to terms with your body, and accept it for the remarkable creation that it is.

When Ireland’s Cardinal Keith O’Brien issued a press conference in February last year why he resigned, he cited high libido. He said he could not pretend any more, his libido could not allow him to continue administering to the vineyard of the Lord.

He went as far asking Pope Francis to allow his priests to choose whether or not to marry because he knows them better. He was suggesting that he was not the only the one with the problem of high libido but also many of his priests.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien said it was clear many priests struggled to cope with their libido in vain. The cardinal would be part of the conclave that chooses the next Pope. He was the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

Just last week German priest Stefan Hartmann sent a personal petition to Pope Francis asking him to waive his vow of celibacy, which he posted on his Facebook page, saying his libido could not allow him any more to cop up with celibacy.

Hartmann secretly fathered a daughter in 1989, eight years after he took his vow of celibacy. He revealed her existence on a televised talk show in January of this year, causing his superiors to ask him to step down from his position. However, he seeks a path which will allow him to remain a priest while raising his daughter in a family.

In the letter, Hartmann asked to be released from the traditional oath in acknowledgement of his weaknesses and failures, with all due humility and after long consideration of his conscience and personal situation.

Francis reportedly addressed the issue last week during a conversation with a bishop from Brazil, Austrian-born Erwin Krautler. Krautler’s diocese faces a shortage of priests, with just 27 meeting the needs of 700,000 Catholics.

According to Krautler, “The pope explained that he could not take everything in hand personally from Rome. We local bishops, who are best acquainted with the needs of our faithful, should be ‘corajudos,’ that is ‘courageous’ in Spanish, and make concrete suggestions.”

These examples are just to demonstrate how celibacy is a challenge, yet there are many priests and religious men and women who have remained faithful to their vows. In fact many of them are faithful indeed.

This brings us yet to another question as to why some people have high libido. Sigmund Freud defined libido as “the energy, regarded as a quantitative magnitude … of those instincts which have to do with all that may be comprised under the word ‘love.’

It is the instinct energy or force, contained in what Freud called the id, the strictly unconscious structure of the psyche. According to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, the libido is identified as psychic energy. “It is the energy that manifests itself in the life process and is perceived subjectively as striving and desire” (Ellenberger, 697).

Unlike men, a woman’s desire for sex is correlated to her menstrual cycle, with many women experiencing a heightened sexual desire in the several days immediately before ovulation. This is the period where some religious women have difficulties to cop up with their celibate life.

This cycle has been associated with changes in a woman’s testosterone levels during the menstrual cycle. According to Gabrielle Lichterman, testosterone levels have a direct impact on a woman’s interest in sex. According to her, testosterone levels rise gradually from about the 24th day of a woman’s menstrual cycle until ovulation on about the 14th day of the next cycle, and during this period the woman’s desire for sex increases consistently.

The 13th day is generally the day with the highest testosterone levels. In the week following ovulation, the testosterone level is the lowest and as a result women will experience less interest in sex. The energy level may also be linked to neurotransmitters and how well your brain chemistry is balanced.

A new journal article suggests that evolutionary forces also push women to be more sexual, although in unexpected ways. Women in their 30s and early 40s are significantly more sexual than younger women.

Women ages 27 through 45 report not only having more sexual fantasies (and more intense sexual fantasies) than women ages 18 through 26 but also having more sex, period. And they are more willing than younger women to have casual sex, even one-night stands.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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The “Tentmakers”: You and Your Skills (Part 1)

From: Tracy John

By Strive Masiyiwa

The Apostle Paul had a remarkable revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and accounts for nearly two thirds of the New Testament. He is by far my favourite bible character, after The Lord Jesus Himself….. I just love Paul!!! Paul had remarkable intellect, and was passionate about reading and learning. He was one of the most educated men, in his day. Just his writing style alone, has had more influence on the structure of language, than any man in history.

He was passionate about evangelism, and traveled through many parts of Europe and Asia, on foot! He was a man of boundless energy!

He was also a very successful entrepreneur! He even entered into joint ventures, with business partners. He made a lot of money, and although he received money from partners, who wanted to help him in his missionary trips, he never needed “aid or support from anyone”. He graciously received the money, because he knew it would bless those who gave him the money.

Through Paul, we learn that God’s concern is not that we have money,but rather how we make the money, and how we use it. Paul and his colleagues worked hard, made money, and used it to mount missionary trips, plant churches, and give to the poor; they kept nothing for themselves, and did not care for the trappings of wealth themselves. They did not beg anyone,or demand anything from anyone; they were as he put it, “self sufficient, and requiring no aid from anyone. And fully able to meet any need that confronted them.” They saw the “love” of money, as evil, and not money, as evil.

Paul was a highly skilled professional man, and his skills were highly sought after. He was just like some of you, who might be computer programmers, architects, engineers, technicians, or farmers.

Where did I learn all this, you might ask? It is all right there in the bible; I do not use any other source other than the bible itself; and I do not read commentaries, about the bible.

The life of Paul as shown in the scriptures, shows us that even if you see yourself, as highly educated, it is important to always see your education, in terms of how it translates into skills; this is because to put food on the table, to send children to school, to be able to help those in need, to be able to partner in the work of ministry; we need to be PAID for our skills. We are paid for our skills, even if those skills derive from education.

In the next few posts, I intend to examine the issue of skills, and skills development.

Are you a “Tentmaker”?

To be continued…

CONDITIONS OF MARRIAGE IN CATHOLIC CHURCH

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
SATURDAY, MAY 3, 2014

Yuvinalis from Kisii writes: “Hallo, the issue of divorced people receiving Holy Communion is something I have heard for the first time. While I know it is common to have divorced people in the Catholic Church, it has never come to my mind that one day they would be allowed to receive Communion.

So why does Pope Francis want to change the official teaching of the church which has been there for years that divorced people are remarried are not allowed to receive the Communion? Can you officially marry in the Catholic Church and also divorce officially and remarry?”

Maurice from Kisumu writes: “Fr. Beste now that the government has legalized the polygamy do you think Catholic Church can consider polygamous to receive Holy Communion?”

Virginia from Mombasa writes: “Fr Beste I read your article on marriage bill 2014 President Uhuru assented into law. You Father Beste you so genius you know almost everything under this earth. My question is a little bit outside your article. I just wanted to know why marriage banns are read in Catholic Church and not in Protestant Churches. I would also like if you can enlighten me on mix marriage, what are the requirements? Thank you”.

Yuvinalis has raised very important concern. The issue here is that official teaching of the Catholic Church has not changed. These are just proposals to be discussed in a special synod taking place in October. Let us wait until after then.

Concerning your second concern, yes there are some cases where marriage can be null and void. In such a case you can be allowed to remarry and receive Holy Communion. The Church follows Christ’s teaching that marriage is a covenant that cannot be dissolved, so it does not recognize divorce as “dissolving” the previous marriage.

At the same time the Church has a legal process for determining whether the previous marriage was valid—that is, that the couple freely gave themselves to one another in a way that brought about a valid marriage between them. If the Church determines that the previous marriage was not valid, it is said to be annulled. An annulment removes the impediment to marriage.

In order to enter a valid marriage, each person must freely choose to give his or her entire self to the other- and to accept the gift of the other, irrevocably (forever). Church law presumes that the words and actions of the couple during the wedding accurately reflect their intention to do this.

It explains why, in order to ensure that couples fully understand what it means to give oneself in marriage, the Church requires a period of preparation before marriage. Usually, the marriage cannot take place until this happens.

Question by Maurice is equally important. Maurice this law does not affect Christian marriage. It is only under customary, Islam and other laws. For that reason it does not allow polygamous to receive Holy Communion.

First of all thank you very much for this good compliments Virginia. In the Catholic Church the banns of marriage is very important. The purpose of banns is to enable anyone to raise any canonical or civil legal impediment to the marriage, so as to prevent marriages that are invalid. Impediments vary between legal jurisdictions, but would normally include a pre-existing marriage that has been neither dissolved nor annulled, a vow of celibacy, lack of consent, or the couple’s being related within the prohibited degree of kinship.

Your second question concerning mixed marriage is a concern often asked question. The Code of Canon Law states: “A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it, and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid (CIC 1086) also (CIC 1124).

That is to say the Church does allow bishops to grant permission for such marriages provided the following conditions are met: The Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church.

The other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises that the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party.

Both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude (CIC 1125).

What Virginia and the rest of Catholics should know is that marriage in the Catholic Church, also called matrimony, is the “covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring”, and which “has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptised. So a thorough observation must be made prior to the sacrament.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church further describes marriage as: “The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws.

God himself is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes.

The Sacrament has been described by St. Pope John Paul II as “an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family – a domestic church.”

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

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SIGNIFICANCE NUMBER 3 IN THE BIBLE

from: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014

Elizabeth Awuor, form three student from Masosa Secondary School, Miruka, Masamaro, Nyamira County writes via text message: “Hi Fr, what does number 3 represent in the Bible? Jesus was tempted 3 times, he fell on the cross 3 time, rose from the 3 times, we make the sign of the cross 3 times, the cock crew 3 times”.

Thank you for asking this important question Elizabeth. Literally we can say that the number 3 is the numerical signature of God. It is the number of personal completeness. It is the number of the Godhead, it stands for the triune.

The number 3 is used 467 times in the Bible. There are 27 books in the New Testament, which is 3x3x3, or completeness to the third power. Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest.

He was placed on the cross at the 3rd hour of the day (9 a.m.) and died at the 9th hour (3 p.m.). There were 3 hours of darkness that covered the land while Jesus was suffering on the cross from the 6th hour to the 9th hour. Three is the number of resurrection. Christ was dead for three full days and three full nights, a total of 72 hours, before being resurrected just before sunset.

Jesus commissioned his twelve Apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)” We know this concept as the Trinity even though the word “trinity” is not in the Bible.

Some examples of three being the number of spiritual fullness: Jonah was in the belly of the big fish three days. Samuel heard his name called three times before Eli confirmed that it was God calling Samuel (I Samuel 3:8).

When something happens three times, it gains emphasis such as when Peter denied Jesus three times. Three times Pilate wanted to release Jesus, but three times the chief priests and rulers rejected him. This repetition represents the emphasis placed on the rejection (Luke 23:13-25).

Man is a trifold being: body, spirit and soul. The Bible only mentions the name of three angels (Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer). There are three places in the New Testament where sex sins are specially referenced.

The first is in Romans 1:20 – 32, where certain people who reject God are given over to defile themselves in a variety of ways that includes homosexuality (male and female) and overall sexual immorality.

The second mention of sex-related sins is in 1Corinthians 5:1 – 13, where the apostle Paul must handle the problem of the local church allowing a member to openly commit incest. The third sex issue dealt with in the New Testament is in Revelation 2:19 – 25. A female who considers herself a prophetess within the Thyatira church, in the spirit of Jezebel, was teaching believers to commit sexual immorality and spiritual adultery.

An angel is charged to cry three woe’s to those who live on earth to warn them of more trials to come (Revelation 8:13). The murdered bodies of the Two Witnesses will not be allowed to be buried but rather will lie openly in Jerusalem for three days before they are resurrected.

Three unclean spirits will be allowed to deceive the whole world to fight the returning Jesus Christ in what is called the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13 – 16). The New Jerusalem, created by God for placement on a new earth, will be shaped like a square with three gates on each side (Revelation 21:13).

God is described, in the very beginning of the book of Revelation, as a Being “which is, and which was, and which is to come” (Revelation 1:4). There are 3 great periods of God’s annual Feast days of worship. They are the Spring festivals (Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread), the summer festival (Pentecost) and the Fall festivals (Feast of Trumpets, Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles).

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

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KENYA: TWO SDA PASTORS WET ON THEIR TROUSERS AFTER BEING FISHED OUT OF LODGING WITH TWO MARRIED WOMEN

Reports Our investigative reporter.

REPORTS reaching us say there is a total moral decay at Kendu-Bay SDA mission. This follows the rumors and speculations that two senior pastors who hold coveted and plum jobs at the oldest SDA mission in Southern Nyanza were recently fished out of a lodging with their pants down while making love to two married women. The incident, according to an impechable source occurred at Nyakoe Market, 26 miles away in Kisii district. The two senior pastors are said to have driven their vehicles all along from Gendia SDA mission, which is located near Kendu-Bay town in Karachuonyo constituency to Nyakoe Market in kitutu Chache constituency, central KISII district in Kisii county.

Apparently unaware that their enemies had set a trap and hired several boda boda motorbike riders for their hot pursuit, the senior clergymen are said to have booked themselves rooms in several lodging outlets at Nyajkoe which is about 10 kilometers to the northwest of Kisii town on the main Kisii-Oyugis road.

Same reports say that local residents of Gendia Mission and its environs have been writing letters to the Lake Conference headquarters of the SDA complaining about the immorality perpetuated by senior pastors, directors and others. But no action has been taken.

On this particular occasion, the two errand pastors were caught red-handed while in action at their usual sexual hideouts, the hired boda boda motorbike riders are reported to have patiently waited for the pastors to finish their sexual mission and escapades with the married women before they struck. In a big panick while heavily sweating the two pastors are reported to have coughed out a colossal amount of money totaling Khs 60,000 to bribe the boda boda men in order to regain their freedom.

Other reports note the decaying immorality at this, one of the oldest SDA mission in the region, which is reported to have been established by the white American missionaries way back to 1902. Of late there are reports of protracted confrontation and witch-huntw pitting pastors working at the Mission, but who hail from the neighboring locations outside Karachuonyo constituency with local priests. This witch-hunt has intensified and recently saw one pastor from the locality being summarily sacked following allegation that he had swindled and misappropriated the mission of millions of shillings.

The names of the two senior pastors caught red-handed while making love to two married women from within the villages around Gendia mission are withheld and could not be quoted for legal reasons. However, the news about the Nyakoe incident has spread within the locality like bush-fire and has become the common knowledge after reaching the public domain. One of the pastors allegedly involved in the sexual escapade when reached by phone, dismissed the reports as part of the blackmailing effort being spreading against him ad his colleague by the fired pastor who has ganged up with his kins within the locality, and now hell-bent to tarnish their names He said he suspected the disgruntled pastor as the one who had hired the boda boda to motorbike riders to follow them in the hope that once the two are dismissed from the plum mission jobs, and the new directors appointed he might stand a slim chance of being reinstated back on his job. The whole affairs at Gendia Mission is now portraying a picture of total confusion and moral decay.

The locals have also put their weight behind those accusing pastors working at the Mission as promoting immorality instead of giving the church members spiritual nourishment. Instead they are said to be involved in sexual escapade with no respect to married women.

Reached the two boda boda motorbike taxis riders confirmed how they followed the two pastors and their secret lovers for close to26 miles and caught up with them at Nytakoe Market which is located a few miles from Kisii town and while watching from a safe distance saw the pastors booking the hotel rooms. They idled themselves around the market and gave the two something like 40 minutes before they struck and surprised the two as they were just about to leave their hideout. They, however, denied that they were hired by someone to follow the pastors saying they did so on their own volition following numerous complaints about the misconduct of the two priests which has become common in the public knowledge. Within the villages around Gebduia Mission.

Ends

Father Omolo Beste’s Homily on Divine Mercy Sunday

From: joachim omolo ouko
Sunday, April 27, 2014

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, a Roman Catholic solemnity celebrated on the Sunday after Easter Sunday, the Octave of Easter. It is originally based on the Catholic devotion to the Divine Mercy that St Faustina Kowalska reported as part of her encounter with Jesus, and is associated with special promises from Jesus and indulgences issued by the Church.

We are also privileged to celebrate St. Mark’s Obambo Catholic Church for the first time since Obambo became a Parish. The day would have been celebrated on April 25, the feast day of St Mark, but because it has coincided with our mini harambee we decided to push it for today.

It is quite encouraging that St Mark, the patron saint of Obambo Church was a native of the North Africa county of Libya. He was born in the city of Cyrene in Pentapolis, The western part of Libya, west of the border of Egypt by Jews parents, Aristopolos and Mar three years after the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He was the preacher of the Christian faith in Africa.

He was martyred in 68 AD when pagans of Serapis (the Serapion-Abbis Greek Egyptian god) tied him to a horse’s tail and dragged him through the streets of Alexandria’s district of Bokalia for two days until his body was torn to pieces. His feast takes place on April 25.

The Gospel today taken from JN 20:19-31 is indeed a challenge to us all. It is talking of doubting Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve. He was not with the rest of disciples when Jesus came in the house. When the disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord,” he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

This skeptical has become almost universal in our daily usages: A doubting Thomas, a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience. This is a person who has doubts about the accuracy of a statement or claim. These are people who try not to accept ideas or assertions automatically but on the basis of testable, consistent, rational evidence.

Doubts can cause people many problems. They lead to a host of feelings including insecurity, reduced self esteem, frustration, depression and despair. Doubts can make life more complicated, such as worrying about the integrity of other people, the reality of our personal beliefs and whether or not we’ve made the right choices.

Many young people today doubt whether they have made right choices in their relationships. Even those with faith in God struggle with doubt on many occasions. Married couples doubt whether their partners are faithful.

Satan introduced doubt into Eve’s mind when he asked, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” He wanted her to lack confidence in God’s command. When she affirmed God’s command, including the consequences, Satan replied with a denial, which is a stronger statement of doubt: “You will not surely die.” Doubt is a tool of Satan to make us lack confidence in God’s Word and consider His judgment unlikely.

The first reading is taken from ACTS 2:42-47. It talks of how the Christian communities devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

The second reading is taken from 1 PT 1:3-9: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.

In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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Republic Of The Mind And Thralldom Of Fear By Wole Soyinka

From: Yona Maro

I have a cloud of sadness within me as I speak. It has to do with an absence, a non-event which, both as a product in itself and as the product’s fate, could easily stand – among similar testimonies – as symbolic of the mission of this gathering, and a number of others like it, at least in all societies which value the exertion of the mind and products of the imagination.

Before I state what that non-event is, I wish to emphasize very strongly that this is not meant as an indictment of this Book Fair of which I consider myself a part, having been with it – albeit marginally – from its very inception. That would be grossly misleading. My remarks represent a personal wish, generated by the nation’s current crisis of existence, and extend beyond this present location and time, even though they do take off from there. They are a continuation of a discourse on which I embarked years ago – and formed part of my BBC Reith Lecture series – CLIMATE OF FEAR. That discourse was nudged awake quite fortuitously when I visited the London Book Fair three to four weeks ago, where the issue of censorship resurfaced. In any case, this absence I speak of, paradoxically, constitutes an integral part of the story of the Book, narrating the predicament of much of humanity in scattered parts of the world – and on so many levels, both specific and general.

For us in this nation, that predicament is hideously current and specific. We are undergoing an affliction that many could not have imagined possible perhaps up to a decade ago. In a way, both that product, and its absence are simultaneously instruction and consolation. On the one hand it brings home to us the price that others have paid – and still pay – for complacency, timidity, evasion, and/or failure to grasp the nature, and multiple guises of the Power drive. The obsession to dictate, dominate, and subjugate. On the other hand, it consoles us, in that painfully ironic way, that others have been there before, and many more are yet lined up to undergo – if I may utilize an apt seasonal metaphor, this being the Easter season – many more unsuspecting nations and communities, currently insulated from a near incurable scourge, are lined up to undergo the same Calvary.

To the product then: It’s just a book, but then, more than ‘just a book’ – written by Professor Karima Bennoune, an Algerian presently teaching at Berkeley University, California. And the title? YOUR FATWA DOES NOT APPLY HERE. It is not a work of fiction. It is a compilation – with commentary and analysis of course – of experiences of individuals – men, women, young, old, professionals, academics, entire families and others – among them her own father. It is a record of unbelievable courage and defiance, yes, also of timorousness and surrender, of self-sacrifice and betrayals, of arrogance and restraint, intelligence and stupidity, fanaticism and tolerance – in short, a document of Truth at its most forthright and near unbearable, the eternal narrative of humanity that illustrates, the axial relation between the twin polarities called Power and Freedom which, I persist in pointing out, stand out as the most common denominator of human history.

I feel sad that through this absence, Africa north of the Sahara could not meet and speak to Africa South on Nigerian soil, console and instruct us through a shared experience, one from whose darkness one nation recently emerged and into which the other is being dragged by the sheer deadweight of human mindlessness. It is such an important book, one that has a sobering relevance – does one have to reiterate? – for this nation. It is not quite over yet for Algeria by the way. Only yesterday I read in the papers that eleven soldiers were ambushed and killed by forces of identical mental conditioning to the ones that are currently traumatizing this nation. We can only hope that Karima Bennoune does not have to drastically update her account through a resurgence of a traumatic past. So much on the product itself.

Now comes the question: what would have been the effect of that title on most of us, seeing it displayed in one of the bookstalls of a participating publisher? Let’s begin from there. Even before we have opened the cover, what impact does it have on us, the local consumers? This is not a rhetorical question – what is it in the title itself that guarantees in advance that the average viewer would instinctively approach it with some trepidation? This is a familiar battle ground for thousands of affected writers, and constitutes the phenomenon that I wish to drag into this specific context, seeing that the book is available through all the normal sales channels elsewhere, and has been reviewed extensively in numerous media. It leads inevitably to the question: have we been shortchanged, albeit through circumstances too convoluted to go into here – in an environment to which such a history is excruciatingly pertinent?

One should not cry over spilt milk, yet one should never let an opportunity go to waste to recoup one’s losses wherever possible – even in divergent directions. In this case, as I hinted earlier, the very absence forms part of our literary mission. I consider this work of such relevance that I am persuaded that it should be made compulsive reading for everyone in leadership position in this nation, beginning from the President all the way down to local councilors, irrespective of religion, and community leaders. I intend to adopt Professor Bennoune’s book as entry point into the interrogatories for the very contestation that is summed up in the title of this address – “The Republic of the Mind and the Thralldom of Fear”. I intend to pose questions such as: should such a work constitute a contentious issue in the first place? Is our world now in a condition where a work that may – repeat – may – explore and narrate unpleasant histories is approached as an instant minefield for its handlers? Is any interest group, as long as it is sufficiently vociferous, reckless and dangerous, entitled to bestride and menace our world once such a minority decrees even factual history unpalatable or unflattering? Do we now instinctively make assumptions of negative responses on behalf of such a minority? Does anyone possess a right of imposition in the first place? What does that mean for any community?

I pose these questions because my increasing conviction is that our space of volition and equality of choice is rapidly collapsing under internal relationships based on fear and domination, on dictation and imposition. This is not the view of this speaker alone. Both Egypt and Tunisia, one after the other, are solid proofs that this shrinkage of space is an obsessive project by the assiduous cultivators of the realm of thralldom, and we have seen how it is answered in both instances. My business here is not to urge the adoption of the solutions pursued in either nation, or indeed Somalia, but to point out an existing agenda of control, manifested in different ways and degrees, and consequently drawing unpredictable responses.

But quickly, that question, are the people themselves sometimes collaborators in the shrinkage of that space of choice, that space of freedom? This, indeed, was the disquieting issue that triggered off the London discussion, catapulting the Nigerian predicament to the fore. We must be honest in our answers. When we look into the demands and impositions by one section of society upon another, coldly and analytically, we find that, very often, our instinctive assumptions are totally divergent from the actuality of relationships between such groups. We find that we have conceded what was never at issue, or else can be argued and clarified through mutual exchange. We find that sensitivities are often exaggerated, or else unnecessarily indulged. It is a lazy intellectual habit, one that is born of a timorous attitude for frank and honest dialogue. Mutual respect is built by clarification, not by avoidance or unjustifiable concessions, which is an attitude of condescension, a patronizing approach that is not only disrespectful but unhealthy.

To begin with our immediate community here in Nigeria as testing ground, let us consider the ‘People versus Boko Haram.’ Boko Haram represents the ultimate fatwa, of our time. It has placed a fatwa on our very raison d’etre, the mission, and justification of our productive existence. I do not think that this claim is in contention. The next question is: does the Boko Haram fatwa remotely represent the articulated position of the majority of moslems in this nation? My reading over the past few years is an unambiguous NO! Again and again the declaration that those words represent in Bennoune’s title is the very manifesto with which the nation has been inundated by moslem intellectuals, politicians, community leaders quite openly in their pronouncements on Boko Haram. ‘They are not true moslems’ has become the persistent mantra from North East to West, all the way southwards across the Niger. Grasping the nearest such declaration to hand, only two days old, the governor of Osun state, a moslem, declared in categorical terms:

“A visibly angry Osun State Governor called on Moslems to rise against atrocities perpetrated by the fundamentalist group in the name of religion”. In his own words,

We must protest seriously against the sycophants who hide under religion to perpetrate evils in our land; it must be done nationwide. We reject everything that Boko Haram represents. Our religion rejects everything these evil characters project in the name of islam. We must not be silent, because Boko Harm represents evil.”

Now what does that mean, this exhortation that has been echoed by Emirs, islamic scholars, islamic councils, politicians and lawgivers etc. The least that the intimately connected people of the book – publishers, teachers, thinkers of all faiths can contribute, is to exploit opportunities such as this market of ideas – to spread the word in all possible forms, most especially where an example is provided through the histories of those who failed to rally the mind when encroachment on the space of ideas was still in infancy. What these voices now proclaim, somewhat belatedly, is simply that the edicts of Boko Haram – in short, its fatwa’s – are worthless and unacceptable to the rest of society. Bennoune’s book, the string of words that makes up the title, is the charter of rejection that the Algerians, as a people, flung at the murderous fundamentalists as they battled for over ten years for their freedom. It represents a collective challenge for the rest of us: to go beyond even the contents of the work and actualize its lessons in our lives. To do less is to concede that the will of Boko Haram is the will of all humanity.

Why else are we gathered here? Boko Haram anathemizes books, destroys books and destroys their institutions, but we are here, in a surrounding of, and celebration of books. Yes, indeed, a Book Fair is itself a statement of rejection of Boko Harm’s fatwa. It is an implicit yet overt gesture of contempt for the delusions of grandeur of that movement and its homicidal avocation. But then, a Book Fair owes itself the full complement of what renders it – itself . Its mission, as an instrument of enlightenment, must not be compromised by the diktat – implicit or overt – of whatever makes no disguise of its contrary mission and manifests itself as an enemy of enlightenment.

An army that remains in the barracks even when assailed by enemy forces is clearly no army at all, but a sitting duck. We cannot recommend that we all sign up and join the uniformed corps as they make their rescue sorties into caves and swamps in the forest, not only to destroy the enemy but now, primarily, to rescue our children who were violently abducted from their learning institutions to become – let’s not beat about the bush, let us face the ultimate horror that confronts us, so we know the evil that hangs over us as a people – to become sex slaves of any unwashed dog. Those children will need massive help whenever they are returned to their homes. To remain in denial at this moment is to betray our own offspring and to consolidate the ongoing crimes against our humanity. There is no alternative: we must take the battle to the enemy. And this is no idle rhetoric – the battlefield stretches beyond the physical terrain. We are engaged in the battle for the mind – which is where it all begins, and where it will eventually be concluded. And that battlefield is not simply one of imagination, it is one of memory and history – our histories, what we were, and a consciousness of the histories of others – what happened to them in the past, how they responded, and with what results.

My dear colleagues, there may be hundreds of soldiers out in the forests of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, but this battle is very much our own., primarily ours, and we should display as much courage as those who are dying in defence of what we value most, as writers, and consumers of literature. At least I like to believe so, to believe that nothing quite comes quite that close to our self-fulfillment as the liberation of the mind wherever the mind is threatened with closure. This is what is at stake. At the core of this affliction, it is this that is central to the predicament of our school pupils wondering through dangerous forests at this moment through no crime that they have committed.We sent them to school. We must bring them back to school.

Why did this nation move out of its borders to join other West African nations to stop the maniacs whose boastful agenda is to cut a bloody swathe through communities of learning, of tolerance and peaceful cohabitation? What does a united world say to the agents of heartbreak and dismay when religion powered mayhem is unleashed against innocent workers gathered at prime time in a motor park to resume their foraging for daily livelihood? It has happened before – let us not forget that, by the way! What, in short, do Book Fairs say as we learn of the steady, remorseless assault on the seminal places of culture, ancient spiritualities and book learning. We have not so soon forgotten the destruction of the monumental statues of Buddha, the historic monuments and tombs of Timbuktoo, her ancient manuscripts – repositories of islamic scholarship that pre-date the masterpieces of Europe’s medieval age? The true moslems, the authentic strain of the descendants of the Prophet Mohammed, pride themselves as people of the book, hence those lovingly preserved manuscripts of Timbuktoo, treasured and tended through generations of moslems. In such circumstances, whose side do we take, when children are blown up and slaughtered in their school dormitories, their teachers and parents hunted down for daring to disobey that phillistinic fatwa that forbids learning? Do we remain in our barracks? And I am not speaking of military barracks!

For it has not just begun, you know. We are speaking of the prosecution of a war that, four years ago already, was already galloping to its present blatant intensity. That it has attained the present staggering figures that numb our humanity with the abduction of female pupils to serve as beasts of burden for the enemy, does not disguise past failures, self-inculpating silences, and even tacit collaboration in places. Try as we might, we cannot insulate ourselves from the horrors to which our children are daily exposed through a fear to undergo, even for our own instruction, the vicarious anguish of others. First, it is futile, the ill wind currently rattling our windows will shortly blow down the flimsy structures we erect around our heads. Symbolism is all very well and – yes indeed – no one should underestimate the value of this symbolic enclave whose mandate we shall be acting out over the next seven days. The palpable products – albeit of words only – that emerge from within this symbol however is what constitutes the durable product, reinforcing morale and conveying to the maimed, the traumatized, the widowed and the orphaned, the suddenly impoverished, displaced, the bereaved and other categories of victims a sliver of reassurance that they are not abandoned.

And why should they feel abandoned in the first place? Why not indeed? Permit me to impose on the leadership of this nation a simple, straightforward exercise in empathy. I want you to imagine yourself in a hospital ward, one among many of the over a thousand victims of the latest carnage in Nyanya – do remember that the actual dead and wounded are not the only casualties – I could refer you to JP Clark’s Casualties for a penetrating expression of the reality of the walking wounded – however, let us take it step by step, let us retain within the territory of physical casualties – imagine that you are one of them, on that hospital bed. You find yourself in the role of playing host to the high and mighty. You are immobilized, speechless, incapable of motion except perhaps through your eyelids. The guests stream in one by one, faces swathed in concern – local government councillors, ministers, legislators, governors, prelates, all the way up the very pinnacle of power – the nation’s president. They even make promises – free medical treatment, habilitation, etc etc. They take their leave. Your spirits are uplifted, you no longer feel depressed and alone.

Considerately mounted eye level on the opposite wall is a television set, turned on to take your mind off your traumatized state and provide some escape for the mind in your otherwise deactivated condition. A few hours after the departure of your august visitors, you open your eyes and there, beamed live, are your erstwhile visitors participating in chieftaincy jollifications a few hundred miles away, red-hot from your sick-bed. A few hours later, the same leadership is at a campaign rally, where the chief custodian of a people’s welfare is complaining publicly about an ‘inside job’ – that is, someone had allegedly diverted his campaign funds to unauthorized use. That national leader then rounds up his outing with a virtuoso set of dance steps that would put Michael Jackson to shame.

That is all I ask of you: to undertake a simple exercise in human empathy, asking the question – as that victim, what would you think? How would you feel? That is all. Would you, playing back in your mind the reel of that august visitation, would you feel perhaps that the visit itself was all a sham, that those sorrowing visitors were merely posing for political photo shots, that the faces were studiously composed, their impatient minds already on their next engagement on the political dance floor? Or would you feel that this was a time that a nation, led by her president, should be in sackcloth and ashes – figuratively speaking of course? That there is something called a sense of timing, of a decent gap between the enormity of a people’s anguish and ‘business as usual’? And do let us bear in mind that that dismal day in Nyanya went beyond a harvest of body parts, of which yours could very easily have been part, there was also the dilemma of two hundred school children, some of whom could very easily have been your own – vanishing under violent conditions. Would you think that perhaps, in place of the dance floor, a national leader should have been holding round-the-clock emergency meetings on the recovery of those girl children, mobilizing the ENTIRE nation – and by entire, I mean, entire, including the encouragement of volunteers, for back-up duties to the military, demonstrating the complete rout of the prolonged season of denial, the total transformation of leadership mentality in the nature of responses to abnormalities that are never absent, even in the most developed societies.

If anyone requires contrasting models of simple, commonsense responses – not even the responses of experts, just leadership – then look towards South Korea. That tragic ferry disaster that overcame schoolchildren on an outing was not even a case of deliberate, criminal assault on our humanity. It was a human failing, probably of culpable negligence, but not part of a deliberate act of human destabilization. It was a frontal, in-your-face assault. Study the nature of leadership response in that nation! Today’s media carry headline banners that nearly two hundred children remain missing. Even if it were twenty, ten, one, is this the time for dancing? Or for silent grieving? What is the urgency of a re-election campaign that could not be postponed in such circumstances? Will the yardstick of eligibility for public office be the ability to dance to Sunny Ade or Dan Marya? The entire world regards us with eyes brimful with tears; we however look in the mirror and break into a dance routine. What has this thing, this blotched, mottled space become anyway? It is a marvel that some still wave a green-white-green rag called a flag and belt out one of the most unimaginative tunes that aspires to call itself a nation anthem. It has become a dirge – that is what it is – a dirge, and what we call a flag is the shroud that now hovers over a people that are even incapable of the dignity of self-examination, self-indictment, and remorse, which would then be a prelude to self-correction and self-restitution, if leadership were indeed attuned to the responsibilities of leadership.

To sum up, one would rationally expect that the leadership mind, belatedly applied to cautionary histories such as YOUR FATWA DOES NOT APPLY HERE, will courageously attune itself to an altered imperative that now reads: YOUR FATWA WILL NOT APPLY HERE. This would be manifested in a clear response to the enormity of the task in which the nation is embroiled. Not all national leaders can be Fujimori of Peru who personally directed his security forces during a crisis of hostage-taking – no one demands bravura acts of presidents. However, any aspiring leader cannot be anything less than a rallying point for public morale in times of crisis and example for extraordinary exertion. Speaking personally now, my mind goes to the lead role played by President Jonathan in this nation in the erstwhile campaign to ‘BRING BACK THE BOOK’ an event at which we both read to hundreds of children. So where are the successors to those children? The reality stares us in the face: Among the walking wounded. Among the walking dead. In crude holdings of fear and terror. Today, we shall not even be so demanding as to resurrect the slogan BRING BACK THE BOOK – leave that to us. It will be quite sufficient to see a demonstrable dedication that answers the agonizing cry of: BRING BACK THE PUPILS!

Emperor Nero only fiddled while Rome burned. There is no record of him dancing to his own tune. There is, nonetheless, an expression for that kind of dance – it is known as danse macabre, and we all know what that portends.

Yona Fares Maro
Institut d’études de sécurité – SA

WHY WE SHOULDN’T WORRY ABOUT DIGITAL GENERATION

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2014

Responding to my article where Wilfred from Mujwa, Meru, Kenya wanted to know whether Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, and whether Jesus had sexual relationship with her, John Robert writes via Facebook:

“In one of the recent sermons in church, the pastor talked of Post Modernity, that is, the tendency of the modern generation to think beyond the limits as provided in the Holy Bible and effort to try and provide certain answers to unclear and controversial circumstances.

I always think religion is all about unquestionable belief whose practicability can never be found in the modern world. It therefore my opinion that as Christians, we take everything as it is in the Bible lest the religion loses its meaning to us and we get lost into this world. Thank you Father”.

John Robert has raised a very important issue. This is the worry of some preachers today. Rev Fr Gabriel Atieno Okinyo from Homa Bay Catholic Diocese raised the concern recently during the home coming mass of Rev Fr Collins Omondi Odiero at Ng’owu sub parish, Ojolla parish.

In his homily based on holiness and holy things, Fr Okinyo said that digital era is almost over powering religious faith. He argued that in digital era people are slowly losing the meaning of Holy Mass and church in general, saying that instead of participating in mass some people are busy twiting and charting on Facebook.

What must not be denied however, is that social media is now part and parcel of everyone’s life. Social media has made people come together. Today, most young age people right form the age 12 are socializing getting away from there studies. Young generation prefer to socializing than going out to have some physical exercises.

Pollster and researcher George Barna writes that those born between 1984 and 2002 constitute the millennial generation. They are called millennials because they came of age at the beginning of the new millennium. They are “digital natives” who have always had access to cable or satellite TV and cellphones.

They have no memory of life without the Internet. A recent publication notes that “‘for Millennials, everything begins and ends with social connections’” and that “80-90 percent . . . uses social media.”

Millennials enjoy working collaboratively and 75 percent say they would like to have a mentor! They are open to new experiences and have transcended some of the barriers of previous generations. They have a great appreciation for diversity, and among them, interracial friendships, dating, and marriage are unexceptional.

The good news is that most young people still maintain their faith and like going to church. A Gallup poll in 2000 found that about one-quarter of people ages 18 through 29 read the Bible weekly — about half the rate of those 65 or older.

Over the past three years, the percentage of those who are skeptics or agnostics toward the Bible has almost doubled, up from 10 percent in 2011 to 19 percent in 2014. Skeptics are defined as those believing that the Bible is just another book of stories and teachings written by men.

From the adults who say they increased their Bible reading, 26 percent said it was because they downloaded the Bible onto their smartphone or tablet. Another 10 percent said that watching The Bible TV miniseries spurred them to read their Bibles.

Although for some the use of social media in every waking hour is considered a time waster or an ‘on the side’ business tool, for the younger generations social media has been easily adopted as a multi tasking communication time saver.

We must also accept that in history methods of communication have shifted from the quill to the biro pen, from telegram to phone calls, from letter to email. Now social media is the foundation of communication for the next generation. In order to do business with them you will need to join them.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

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WAS MARY MAGDALENE A PROSTITUTE?

From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014

Wilfred from Mujwa, Meru, Kenya writes: “Dear Fr Omolo Beste, Happy Easter. I read all your homilies from Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. You are a greater preacher Father, may God continue giving you abundant blessings and good health.

I have 2 questions on your homily on Mary Magdalene. My first question is that there is no where in the Bible written that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, only that Jesus removed seven demons. My second question is, it is true that Jesus had sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene, got married and had children? Thank you Father”.

Thank you for these important questions and your best wishes Wilfred. You are absolutely right. Mary Magdalene is mentioned in each of the four gospels in the New Testament, but not once does it mention that she was a prostitute. The Bible provides no personal details of her age, status or family. Only her name, Mary Magdalene, gives us the first real clue about her.

It suggests that she came from a town called Magdala. There is a place today called Magdala, 120 miles north of Jerusalem on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The name occurs in the New Testament, and also in Jewish texts. Its full name is Magdala Tarichaea. Magdala seems to mean tower, and Tarichaea means salted fish.

The idea of Mary Magdalene being a prostitute might have come from one Jewish text which mentions Magdala, called Lamentations Raba, which says that Magdala is judged by God and destroyed because of its fornication. It is possible that the description of Magdala as a place of fornication is the origin of the idea that arose in western Christianity that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.

Your second question whether Jesus had sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene and whether they got married is quite interesting. Yale Divinity School dean Harold Attridge asked this question in 2006 in a short piece prepared in response to The Da Vinci Code. He concludes that such a relationship was improbable based on his interpretation of the Gospel of Philip, one of the codices discovered in the 1940’s in Upper Egypt near the town of Nag Hammadi.

The Gospel of Philip has caused quite a stir for several reasons. It says Jesus’ companion (also translated as “consort”) was Mary Magdalen, and that he “loved Mary more than the rest of us because he used to kiss her.

Philip also speaks of a “stainless physical union” which has great power. Early scholars translated the ‘union’ phrase as “undefiled intercourse,” which would mean that the text advises, “Understand/seek the undefiled intercourse, for it has great power.”

However, in recent years orthodox scholars have tended to translate the phrase as “pure embrace” or “marriage.” Attridge claims that it is a reference to an early Christian practice of offering one’s fellow worshipers a kiss, known in some circles as “passing the peace.”

Some scholars have interpreted the kiss in a more spiritual sense and see kissing as a symbol for an intimate reception of teaching of the word of God, of learning. The image of Jesus and Mary as engaged in mouth-to-mouth closeness suggests not necessarily sexuality, but the transmission of divine knowledge.

Those who claim that she was the wife of Jesus rely on some apocryphal gospels. All of them, with the possible exception of part of the Gospel of Thomas, were written after the canonical Gospels and are not historical in character, but were written to transmit Gnostic teachings.

The huge misunderstanding is the fact that these writings are used to make them say exactly the opposite of what they intended. The Gnostic vision – a mixture of Platonic dualism and Eastern doctrines, cloaked in biblical ideas – holds that the material world is an illusion, the work of the God of the Old Testament, who is an evil god, or at least inferior.

This idea has been stipulated in the popularity of Dan Brown’s controversial novel, The Da Vinci Code. This novel advocates the thesis that Jesus was in fact married to the woman we know as Mary Magdalene, that they had a child together.

Many readers of The Da Vinci Code, believing the fictional history of the novel to be true, have been buzzing about the possibility of Jesus’ having been married. In a recent survey conducted by the online religious website Beliefnet, 19 percent of respondents said they believe that Mary Magdalene was in fact Jesus’ wife.

The New Testament contains no explicit answer to the question of Jesus’ marital state. It never mentions his wife, nor that he was unmarried. In fact, whenever the New Testament gospels refer to Jesus’ natural relatives, they speak only of his father, mother, and siblings, but never of a wife.

Two prominent Jewish writers from the first-century A.D., Philo and Josephus, mention that some Jewish men in the time of Jesus were single by choice. Philo, a contemporary of Jesus, was a Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, and who wrote many volumes in the first half of the century.

Josephus was a Jewish historian who wrote near the end of the century. Both Philo and Josephus mention that the Essenes, a group of apocalyptic Jews who eagerly awaited God’s intervention in history, did not marry by choice.

What we actually know about Mary Magdalene is from the biblical gospels. Something else is not is not correct.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

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Father Omolo Beste’s Homily on Easter Sunday

From: joachim omolo ouko
Sunday, April 20, 2014

The main focus in today’s Gospel taken from JN 20:1-9 is on Mary of Magdala, also known as Mary Magdalene, who on the first day of the week came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark. She was disturbed as she saw the stone removed and the tomb was empty.

All four Gospel accounts note the empty tomb was first discovered by women. This is significant in two ways. One way it is significant is that it highlights the fear of the male disciples. Rather than visiting the tomb, they were gathered together in a locked home.

This stone, as was typical of ancient tombs, had covered the entrance. Mary Magdalene found the tomb to be empty, the body gone, and a young man within the tomb tells her that Jesus has risen. The empty tomb points to the revelation of Jesus’ resurrection.

Mary Magdalene was indeed a very courageous woman. When Jesus was crucified by the Romans, she was there supporting him in his final moments and mourning his death. She was a witness to the events that took place leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus.

The courage of Mary Magdalene to follow Jesus until his death and resurrection is not only because of what Jesus did to her by removing seven demons from her, but more so because of the respect Jesus had for women.

Apart from Mary Magdalene there are also some unnoticeable women associated with Jesus. The Gospels record several instances where Jesus reaches out to “unnoticeable” women Jesus notices them, recognizes their need.

In the three synoptic gospels, Jesus heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, the woman with a flow of blood, and Jairus’ daughter who had been very ill and was now at the point of death. She was an only daughter, and was twelve years of age.

Then there was a widow in a remote small town on a hillside in Galilee. Only she and her son were left of her family. He died and they were taking him to the same place where her husband was buried. Jesus noticed the grieving woman in the funeral procession. Jesus gave the command “Arise!” and gave the bewildered son back to his mother.

And when Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been “crippled by a spirit for eighteen years.” She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. He called to the woman, said “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity, then laid his hands on her body, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Jesus presented women as models of faith to his listeners. In the culture of the day, women were neither to be seen nor heard since they were considered “corrupting influences to be shunned and disdained.

I am particularly pleased that Pope Francis is doing exactly this. His decision to break with the long-standing papal tradition of washing only priests’ feet is indeed a big challenge to us. He included women and non-Christians in the symbolic ceremony that took place on Holy Thursday.

This surprise began on Holy Thursday last year when he washed the feet of two women and two Muslims at a juvenile detention center in Rome. Before this, modern Popes had only ever washed the feet of 12 priests at the Vatican, during the Mass for the Last Supper.

Pope Francis is trying his level best to minister according to Jesus’ vision and mission. That is why, while marking Palm Sunday in a packed St. Peter’s Square he ignored his prepared homily and spoke entirely off-the-cuff in a remarkable departure from practice.

He did not read the homily because those who prepared for him omitted recognition of women dignity and their participation in the pastoral ministry. In his unprepared homily, Francis called on people, himself included, to look into their own hearts to see how they are living their lives.

“Has my life fallen asleep?” Francis asked after listening to a Gospel account of how Jesus’ disciples fell asleep shortly before he was betrayed by Judas before his crucifixion. “Am I like Pontius Pilate, who, when he sees the situation is difficult, washes my hands?”

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

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Father Omolo Beste’s Homily on Good Friday

From: joachim omolo ouko
Friday, April 18, 2014

This afternoon we have gathered here my fellow Christians to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, the act that brought salvation to all who believe. It is the culmination of Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, and it takes place two days before Easter Sunday.

You have walked with heavy crosses for almost 3 hours from your various centres, that is, Olua, Osiri Pala, Lisuka and Obambo for the reception of 14th station. You are so tired of course, but your tiredness is not in vain.

The cross of Jesus is where we receive divine forgiveness, mercy, and peace. Your longer walk with heavy crosses demonstrates exactly this fact. Jesus willingly took our divine punishment, the result of God’s righteousness against sin.

You may wonder why the day is called Good Friday when as a matter of fact it would have been called sorrowful as Germs refer to it. The day is called good because Christ, by his death, “showed his great love for mankind.

Even though no Mass is celebrated on this day, the service of Good Friday is called the Mass of the Pre-sanctified because Communion (in the species of bread) which had already been consecrated on Holy Thursday is given to the people.

Readings are just like normal days of masses. First reading is taken from Isaiah 52:13 — 53:12, Psalms from Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25, second Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9, the narrative Gospel is taken from John 18:1 — 19:42.

Traditionally, the organ is silent from Holy Thursday until the Alleluia at the Easter Vigil, as are all bells or other instruments, the only music during this period being unaccompanied chant. We can see that the parts of the Good Friday service correspond to the divisions of Mass:

Some none Catholics have wondered why we adore the cross during Good Friday. Adoration or veneration of an image or representation of Christ’s cross does not mean that we actually adore the material image, of course, but rather what it represents.

In kneeling before the crucifix and kissing it we are paying the highest honor to our Lord’s cross as the instrument of our salvation. We look at Jesus on that cross. That is why we affirm: ‘We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross Thou has Redeemed the World.’

Looking at the Cross in prayer helps us to truly see it. Most Christians have crosses in their homes. Many wear a cross around their necks. Some of these are very beautiful, perhaps made of precious metal and embellished with jewels.

That is why parents are motivated to encourage their children to wear crucifix, learn to make the sign of the cross, and try to imitate what they see family members doing at the blessing before meals even before they can talk or before going to bed.

Crucifixes are always found in Catholic churches and chapels over the altar and are always carried in liturgical processions, they are found in Catholic institutions, hospitals, schools and on the walls in our homes. The Pope’s ceremonial staff has a crucifix attached to it as well.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
E-mail obolobeste@gmail.com

Omolo_ouko@outlook.com
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Kenya: KISUMU CLERGY TO EXPEL “A BLACK SHEEP” AMONGST THEM.

By Our Reporter

Members of the Clergy drawn from the entire Kisumum County are up in arms against a former Kanu party operative within the region for destabilizing the work of God within the Lakeside County.

According to the men of the frock, they have vowed to organize a public prayer day and curse the man who during former President Moi’s time acted as his blue eyed boy under the auspice of an amorphous organization whose main aim was to get hand outs from the President under the guise of bringing members of the luo community to him who by then were really hostile to his regime.

Presently the former Kanu operative is operating a church situated a long Kisumu-Nyamasaria road where we have authoritatively established that it’s attended by members of his immediate family members as many have taken off from the church because of his conish and unchristian ways which are contrary to the biblical teachings.

“This man is a sheep in a wolf skin, when we settled on the name of the fellowship which we were to register he connived with elements like him and registered the said fellowship behind our back and he has done that twice, should we still continue having him as one of our own?”the agitated clergy wondered.

They also accused the man who masquerades himself as a Bishop together with his wife as the force behind the fragmentation of the once one and all powerful fellowship which brought together all the clergy from the entire luo land.

He is also blamed for the recently conducted elections for Nyalenda,Bandani and Otonglo areas with a view of weakening the Kisumu Clergy Fellowship which is lead by Bishop Winnie Owiti wife of the head of Voice of Salvation and Healing Churches which spreads across the entire East Africa.

They also accuse the man of constantly issuing press releases and illegally signs their names without informing nor involving them and those concerned have so far recorded the statement with the police.

It can be recalled that during his joyous moments during KANU reigns he had a former clergy who is now deceased locked in police cells after defeating him in Kisumu Pastors Fellowship Network and it took the intervention of the current East Africa Law Society President James Aggrey Mwamu to have the said clergy released.

On most occasions Prime Minister Raila Odinga had to order his body guards to physically eject him from both his Karen and Bondo home when he used to frequent the two homes ostensibly to give Raila propaganda which Raila never needed.

“This man thinks people are fools, while he was with Moi he used to say so many bad things to Moi about Raila and now he thinks Raila could still buy those propaganda, we used to wonder why he would go to Raila’s homes as early as 3 am or 4am under the guise of praying for them” one luo Senator lamented.

The man who for a long time fooled donors to send money to his many church projects which were all ghosts elephants is said to be undergoing very difficult moments in life as the American Embassy has for the past ten years denied him a visa to gewtb into the country of opportunity in what they say was his “unforgiving conduct” the last time he was there.

He is always seen in most hotels within Kisumu idling and reading newspapers.