Nothing is Permanent on Earth

Sunday readings in brief 18 C

Eccl 1:2, 2:21-23; Ps 89(90); Col 3:1-5, 9-11; Lk 12:13-21

Nothing is Permanent on Earth

Dear friends, today is the eighteenth Sunday in ordinary time. The readings today, invite us to reflect upon the things that occupy our everyday life. Are they things that will eventually earn us eternal life? Even if one did not believe in life after death, everyone is very certain about the end of his or her life on earth one day. However, hardly do we think about this end instead, we are swamped decorating the present life sometimes even in crooked ways.

The first reading strikes directly to the point. “Vanity of vanities…all is vanity”. The word ‘Vanity’ here is means worthless, trivial, or pointless. The long and short of this reading is we need to ask ourselves often if what we are expending our time and energies on, is ultimately the most important thing in life.

Every morning, depending on various factors such as age, work/trade, status, environment, and weather conditions, all of us wake up the time we wake up and begin executing plans and programmes. Those who are independent execute their own plan and those who are dependent execute the plans of those on whom they depend. However, whether independent or dependent, every person with good judgment knows whether the enterprise that occupies his or her time is good or bad.

St. Paul in the second reading is urging us to look for the things that are in heaven where Christ, is because that is the only place where we will find permanence. While we need to strive to lead decent lives here on earth, we should not lose focus on the ultimate destiny. We are invited to utilize the things of this life to build on the life to come. Jesus came to teach us that eternity is twofold. He said, “Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.” (Jn 5:29) Our faith in Christ Jesus must help us to make the right choice and expend the right amount of effort to attain the desired eternity.

In the Gospel reading, as usual, Jesus uses a parable to describe the end of time when a man approached him to ask for help with a property dispute between him and his brother. Today, our world is experiencing a lot of devastation from the greed of one of its species, humans. You can read some amount of self-interest in almost all occupations including those that call themselves “charity”. In very few instances will you find men and women committed entirely to the interest of the community or the people they serve. The rest have different amounts of self-interests disguised in many ways.

Jesus reminds us that we are fools if we invest all our energies and efforts to amass things of this world that eventually will be left behind. This is not something meant to instill fear in anyone because we witness it during funerals. Even those who considered themselves the greatest on earth end up in a hole dug under the earth. Others are burnt to ashes or left to rot in the jungle just like all the living species. Death is the only equalizer of all on earth and the fact that no one knows his or her expiry date, is something that needs to call for the attention of every one of us.

Dear friends, as we begin another week today, I invite us to reflect upon the things that occupy our minutes, hours, days, months, and years and see if they are building up to the eternity we desire. The choice of eternity is purely personal.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

Feast of Pentecost by Jambo

Sunday Readings in brief Pentecost C
Acts 2:1-11; Ps 103 (104); Rm 8:8-17; Jn 20:19-23
Who is the Holy Spirit?

Dear friends, today is the feast of the Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples of Jesus in the upper room just as he had promised them. Pentecost comes from the Greek word pentēkostē meaning fifty days of the fiftieth day after Easter Sunday. The Jews called it Shavaut and it was celebrated 50 days after the Sabbath following the day of Passover when God delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians. For Christians, this is the day when the community of believers was born through the preaching of Peter and his colleagues. “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day” (Acts 2:41). This is what we have today as the Church built on the foundation of the apostles.
But who is the Holy Spirit? During the creation of the world, we read that the Holy Spirit who is also translated as “Wind” was hovering over the waters (Gen 1:2).

Throughout the Old Testament texts, we read how God inspired some people among communities by his spirit to do a certain task on his behalf. When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the image of a dove. Today Jesus send the Holy Spirit upon his disciples and they are filled with courage to preach to the same crowd they were afraid of a few days before. This same Holy Spirit continues to dwell in us through baptism and confirmation.

We know that God exists first because as St. Augustin of Hippo says, he made us for himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in him. God put in everyone a desire for him though many people spend all their life, denying his existence. Second, God has revealed himself to us through his spirit. God chose to reveal himself to us, not as a solitary person living somewhere very far from us and remote-controlling everything, but rather he reveals himself to us as a community that is known as the Holy Trinity. The entire history of salvation can be divided into three major phases. Phase 1 is the creation of the universe, the election of the nation of Israel as the bearers of the salvation of the world, and God’s intervention in the lives of his people through judges, prophets, and kings. It is the phase where God the Father is the major protagonist.

Phase 2 is the phase of God the Son, Jesus the Christ. This comprises the birth, ministry, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. Jesus, the Son of God was sent into the world to bring salvation to all who would believe in him. His mission was foretold by the prophets long before (see Is 61:1). God decided to send his own Son to save the world from eternal damnation. Phase 3 is that of the Holy Spirit from the day of Pentecost until the present day. It is the time of the New Testament and the time of the Church. God continues to create, sustain and save his people through the Holy Spirit. During baptism, we receive the Holy Spirit and the Sacrament of confirmation adds to us his gifts that help us to live according to the will of God.

However, not everyone understands who the Holy Spirit is just as many during the time of Jesus did not understand him. While the Scripture present to us the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Triune God, some regard him as a tool for preaching and performing miracles. The Holy Spirit is the owner and the protagonist in the mission of preaching the Good News of salvation brought to us by Jesus Christ. Those who are chosen to be ministers of the God news are only instruments of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspires us to preach, teach, heal and perform other signs to save the people. St. Paul reminds us that, it is the Holy Spirit who inspires us to call ‘Abba, father’.

Today, many misunderstand the gift of tongues given to the apostles. We read that when the Holy Spirit descended upon them, they began to speak in tongues such that all the people present could understand them each in their native language. This is very different from making strange noises and uttering words that no one can understand including those who utter them. The day of Pentecost is the opposite of the day of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9) when God confused the languages of men who tried to build a tower that would reach heaven.

The Holy Spirit works in us only when we keep the commandments that God gave us through his Christ. God the Father and the Son continue to live in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the advocate who defends us against the forces of evil and helps us to be and do what is good.

Dear friends, let us not be confused by the merchants of miracles who think that the Holy Spirit is their tool and at their disposal. Let us adore the Holy Spirit and ask him to continue to renew in us the message of the Gospel and help us to be good.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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Feast of Pentecost by Ilizwi

Sunday, 5 June 2022
Acts 2:1-11
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
Rom 8:8-17
John 20:19-23

“We will come to him and make our dwelling with him” Jn 20:23

As Catholics we have for a long time suffered from what I call “forgetfulness of the Spirit”. Less and less emphasis has been placed on the Third Person of the Trinity and many evangelicals will say, “Catholics do not have the spirit”. And sadly, some Catholics believe it.

The first reading describes in a dramatic way the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. It describes the promised “baptism by fire”.

Pentecost is a Jewish feast, 50 days after the Sabbath following the Passover. They called it Shavuot, originally, a thankgiving for the harvest, and later a celebration of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, the covenant – remember the Jews arrived on mount Sinai in the 3rd month after leaving Egypt (i.e after Passover).

At the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, there was wind, noise, fire. The same accompanies the giving of the Spirit in the upper room, in the first reading. The Holy Spirit is for Christians the New law. Law which is not written on tablets of stone but in the heart. Jer 31:31-33 ““The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel … I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts…”

The giving of the law on mount Sinai was the foundation of the nation of Israel. The giving of the Spirit on Pentecost day, was the founding day of the Church. Today, is the Church’s birthday. As the spirit was there at creation (Gen 1:2), the spirit is present today as God recreates, creates a new people for himself – the Church.

In this new Church, the first gift of the spirit is the “gift of tongues”. This is not the gift of glossolalia (ecstatic speech as we experience in the Charismatic movement), but it is xenologia – speaking in foreign languages. With this gift, the apostles could preach to everyone.

This is a reverse of what happen at the tower of Babel, Gen 11, where human beings were divided by many languages. The gift of the spirit means that all the people now become one, they now understand each other.

The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost is what explains how a terrified group of disciples locked behind locked doors in fear could all of a sudden go out and preach in boldness. They had received the promised power from on high.

Just as the disciples and mother Mary received the outpouring of the Spirit, so have we also received this spirit. Through the sacraments we continue to receive the sprit in the Church.

What is sad however, is the forgetfulness of the Spirit. Forgetting the power we have within us. Paul in the second reading says “the spirit of God has made a home in you” (v.9). Beloved, we have the Spirit within us. Just as God made Adam and breathed his breath in him (Gen 2:7), so does God who recreates us anew breath his spirit in us.

Most of us Catholics are like a beggar who sat on a particular box daily asking for coins from people who passed by. One day a stranger asked, what is in the box you are siting on, and he said “I don’t know”. Only to find out that there was gold inside! Imagine sitting on gold begging for coins – we suffer from “forgetfulness of the Spirit”.

The Holy Spirit is the power of God working in us. It is the presence of the risen Lord in our midst. It is the same power which raised Jesus from the dead, it is the resurrection power.

It is the same power through which God wants to dwell in you, transform you and give you fulfilment in life.

Paul in the 2nd reading tells us that forgetfulness of the Spirit leads to living according to the flesh, following our natural inclinations. This results in sadness, loneliness, addictions, violence in the family, fear etc. You feel sad and are enslaved, because of lack of the Spirit.

However, those with the indwelling power of the Spirit, have a deep sense of peace and joy. The Spirit brings out the best in you and makes you the best version of yourself.

Like the dead bones in Ezekiel 37, the Spirit wants to give you a new life today. Allow the Spirit to touch the dry bones of your relationships, anger, hurt, addiction and receive new life.

Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

Fr. Ncube, SVD

The AFRAM Zonal Dimensions Coordinators meetingMaputo May 22-29, 2022

At the Hospitalelas Sisters Conference Centre

The AFRAM Zonal Dimensions Coordinators meeting is a gathering of all the Coordinators of the Four main areas of missionary work of the Divine Word Missionaries in all Provinces, Regions, and Missions (PRMs) in Africa and Madagascar. This meeting is organized every three years. The main aim is to
Evaluate the missionary activities in all the PRMs, strategize and plan the way forward for the following three years. Apart from the various PRMs Dimension Coordinators, there are also coordinators for each dimension at the zonal level and then at the Generalate level.

Welcome Note by Regional Superior Fr. Johnson Ippinkumar

The meeting has two main sessions: The first is a joint session, where all the participants meet to give reports, evaluate matters arising from the reports, and input on selected topics. The second is a separate session for each dimension to evaluate their previous action plan and prepare one for the following three years. At the end of the meeting, the participants meet to prepare a common action plan for collaboration between the four dimensions.

Input session on Synodality by Fr. Fabian Kalaluka

This year’s meeting took place at the Hospitalelas Sisters Conference Centre in Memo location of Marracuene district in Maputo, Mozambique. The meeting took an extraordinary twist because many participants were not able to be physically present in Maputo due to Visa complications. Those who managed to enter Mozambique were warmly received by the confreres in Mozambique led by the Regional SUperion Fr. Johnson Ippinkumar. Ten participants were refused entry at Maputo Airport and had to return to their respective PRMS. One confrere had to stay for two days at the airport because the return plane was already full. Others had to wait in Addis Ababa for their connecting flight back home.

At Formation House

However, with the help of the technical expertise of Fr, Giang Tien Nguyen, we arranged a zoom meeting. Though the first day there were some difficulties, the zoom meetings went on well and many of those who could not be physically present participated. The AFRAM Coordinator Fr. Willibrord Kamion Bhia, SVD, who also did not manage to enter Mozambique participated on zoom. Only two AFRAM Zone Dimension Coordinators were able to attend the meeting physically in Maputo, that is Fr. Dennis Pereira, SVD of Mission Animation, and Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD. The two present Coordinators help to moderate the meeting on the ground.

Coordinators participating on Zoom

Prominent among all the discussions was the Covid-19 Pandemic that broke just 6 months after the AFRAM Zonal Meeting in June 2019 in Kara, Togo. This rendered difficult or impossible the implementation of many items in Action Plans for all Dimensions. However, many PRMs coordinators reported that they were able to do some via digital platforms such as Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook, Blog pages, TV, Radio, among others. There was a general feeling among participants that though Covid-19 Pandemic brought with it many challenges and negative effects on our missionary activities, it also opened our eyes to innovation, especially as per as the use of virtual platforms is concerned.

With Philosophy Students

The meeting ended on Thursday and on Friday all the participants went on a tour of Maputo City. We also visited the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSPS) convent in Maputo. The sisters were very happy to receive us. On Saturday participants began to return to their PRMS. We thank God for the successful
meeting and ask him to help us implement the strategies and plans we have put in place for the next three years.

At the SSPS Sisters house

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

AFRAM Zonal Communication Coordinator



This year’s Congregational Dimensions CDs meeting will take place in Maputo – Mozambique from 22nd May to 29th May 2022. All the coordinators of the four CDs will meet to discuss matters concerning these Congregational Areas of evangelization.

What are Congregational Dimensions or Areas

The Divine Word Missionaries have organized their apostolates in four main Areas of focus.

  1. Mission Animation: To promote activities that makes our apostolates alive and uplifting for the people. These includes promotion of the laity, vocation promotion, mission mindedness, lay missionaries, lay associates, etc.
  2. Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation: This focus on justice for all people in all aspects as well as care for the environment.
  3. Bible Apostolate: This involves the spreading of the The Good News through dissemination of the Holy Scriptures in different ways in order to break the Word of God to all.
  4. Communication: This focuses on facilitating the conveying of our missionary agenda to the people, by use various medium of communication.

Afram Zone


The Society of the Divine Word (Latin: Societas Verbi Divini, abbreviated SVD), popularly called Verbites or the Divine Word Missionaries, and sometimes the Steyler Missionaries, is a missionary religious congregation in the Latin Church, one of the 24 sui iuris churches which make up the Catholic Church. As of 2015 it consisted of 6,023 members composed o priests and brothers. It is the largest missionary congregation in the Catholic Church.

The Society was founded in Steyl in the Netherlands in 1875 by St Arnold Janssen, a diocesan priest, and drawn mostly from German priests and religious exiles in the Netherlands during the church-state conflict called the Kulturkampf, which had resulted in many religious groups being expelled and seminaries being closed in Germany.

In 1882, the Society started sending missionaries into China’s Shandong Province, where their aggressive methods were part of the chain of events that led to the Boxer Uprising in the late 1890s. In 1892, missionaries were sent to Togo, a small country in West Africa. The Togo mission was particularly fruitful for by 15 years later the Holy See had appointed an Apostolic prefect. The Society’s third mission was to German New Guinea (the northern half of present-day Papua New Guinea). In 1898 a fourth mission to be opened was in Argentina, an historically Catholic country where the Society quickly assumed responsibility for several parishes, schools and also seminaries in four dioceses: Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, La Plata and Paraná all of which are now archdioceses.

At present there are 575 SVD’s working in 16 African countries.

AFRAM none updates bl .               AFRAM PhotoVideo block

AFRAM grp 2019Group photo of participants of the 11th SVD AFRAM Zonal Assembly



Many religious orders and congregations have certain characteristics or traits that make them known. The Divine Word Missionaries are recognised by what are called the four characteristic dimensions:

With regards to the missions, what makes the SVD unique from many missionary institutes is that mission areas or regions are not the sole responsibility of individual provinces, but of the whole Society. The SVD generalate may appoint members from any country to any other country with priority given to those places which are most in need. This also explains why many SVD communities are international in character.

The SVD has two sister congregations, also founded by Saint Arnold Janssen. They are the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS), otherwise known as the “Blue Sisters” and a contemplative branch called the Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration (SSpSAP) or better known as the “Pink Sisters”; the nicknames allude to the colour of the respective religious habits.

SVD Novitiate opens in Kabwe, Zambia

Zambia Novitiate

The SVD Novitiate in Kabwe, Zambia was opened on, Wednesday, 25th July 2018, on the feast of St James the Apostle. It is the fourth Novitiate in AFRAM. The need was felt due to the steadily increasing number of candidates in the formation houses in AFRAM. On 9 May 2017 Superior General officially erected the Novitiate in Kabwe, Zambia and appointed Fr Martin Kawana SVD the Novice Master. The occasion was blessed by the presence of Rt. Rev. Clement Mulenga SDB, Bishop of Kabwe, Fr. John Asiedu SVD, Afram Zonal Area Coordinator for Formation, Fr Biju George SVD Mission Superior Zambia, invited guests from Kabwe and our own confreres. The Afram Coordinator Fr Joseph Kallanchira SVD could not be present due to visa issues. In his homily Fr Asiedu stressed the purpose of this Novitiate House to be a house that “..shall seek to provide similar kind of environment and opportunities to our Novices to mature and clarify their vocation just as the Apostles had in the company of Jesus” He further said that “…the young men who stay in this Novitiate House shall be helped to experience a personal living union with the Divine Word and be led to follow him in an ever deeper way.” In his remark Rt Rev Clement Mulenga SDB expressed his happiness of the first male Novitiate House in the diocese and promised all the support. He invited the Novices to be courageously open to the ways that the Lord is calling them to. Fr Alberto Saco SVD the North District Superior thanked all present. The Novices were accepted by the Novice Master in a private ceremony, after supper, attended only by the SVD confreres. A total of six Novices, 3- MAD, 1 KEN, 1 ZIM, 1 ZAM make an international community. Opening of the Novitiate in Zambia is a blessing and a challenge to the young Mission. The Novitiate House will operate in SVD formation house in Kabwe, as progress is being made to purchase land and build a Novitiate House in Lusaka.

Names of the novices as follows;


ExeCom Meeting
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AFRAM Matters 9

AFRAM Matters 8


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Area – 238.535 km2
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