My name is Elizabeth Ngami. Greetings from Nairobi, Kenya in East Africa!
I am glad to join the women of the world as we commemorate this very important day in our Christian faith. The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ is the final act of our redemption that Christ began on Good Friday.
Now and forever, our Lord Jesus Christ reigns, let us rejoice in the glorified King of all nations. God raised him from the dead “and seated Him at His right hand in heaven, far from all principality, power, might, and dominion.” As we see in the Psalm of today, “God mounts His throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.”
Let us live confidently, boldly, and as wise servants of the exalted King of heaven. As Paul prays for the Ephesians, may we pray that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ will give us a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. The eyes of our hearts be enlightened, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to his call.” As we reflect on these readings, let us ask ourselves these questions: What is my purpose here on earth? Do my actions have a positive impact on somebody's life? What influence do I have in the society as a Christian using the skills and opportunities God has given me? I'm encouraged daily by Christian Professionals who are members of the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum where I serve, who have come together to provide social and legal support to the church. We testify that God is our origin and the source of all Life, which is nurtured in families, the families forms communities which need good governance and social justice for a cohesive and harmonious existence. By focusing on these thematic areas, we look into laws and policies that affect these issues (Religion, Life, Family and Governance) and provide a Christian Perspective in formulation and implementation processes. This is done through research and advocacy and stakeholder engagement.
The scriptures of today give us hope in our daily lives, for we are to remain and abide by Him, He who is mightier and all powerful. This glorious Jesus, who we celebrate today, went through a lot -- passion and death on the cross. Jesus Christ calls us to have peace in Him, in the world, we will have tribulations; but to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world. As the apostles asked Jesus to “increase their faith,” let it be our prayer too, that our actions be a manifestation of our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, for “if our faith does not have works, it is dead."
In today's Gospel, the book of Mark reminds us of our mission that the Lord Jesus left to us, to go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. This is our role, as His followers who were baptized in His Holy name, to continue with His ministry here on earth.
The story of St. Josephine Bakhita, is an encouragement to many, in her last years, despite her painful memories of her slavery, when asked “how are you” she says, “I am so happy”. The slavers named her Bakhita which means “Lucky,” and indeed she was, despite the lamentation behind the pain and anguish she went through, she would still love her captors, as she said “if these things had not happened, I would not have been a Christian and a religious today.” We are challenged to grow stronger and closer to God always, no matter the challenges or attacks we face in our belief in Him. They should actually increase our faith in God who will save us and guard us. In this world, we encounter difficulties and sometimes even hurt or rejected by the people who are so dear to us or we love.
In our contemporary society, filled with vices such as poverty, rape cases, sexual immorality, domestic violence, cultural practices that undermine the dignity of a human person, such as female genital mutilation (FGM), inequality, and other vices, we are called to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and even our enemies; by this we will be expressing the love that we find in Christ that is so immeasurable, for he died on the cross so that my sins and yours may be forgiven and that we may have eternal life.
Jesus commissions us this day to be His witnesses; we shall receive the Holy Spirit and we shall be His witnesses for all the nations. As His children, let us not be bound by the fear, bondage of sin, injustices, pleasures of this world, sin of ignorance and ommission, but that we may be responsible people, fearful of God, helping the needy and be holy in every aspect of our conduct, for it is written “be Holy because He is Holy.” Let us learn to uphold the dignity of all human beings, respect and be promoters of peace and justice as Jesus taught us and be messengers of the truth.
Jesus has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us, let us be ready as we await His return. In the first reading, we see Him telling his apostles that “It is not for them to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.” As Jesus prays for His disciples to be kept from evil, let us strive to live a righteous life and that we may be consecrated in truth.
Let us pray this day, that Our Lord Jesus, will send the Holy Spirit to our hearts, to our families, our nation and the whole world. May we practice the theological virtues in our daily lives; Love, Hope and Faith. As St. Bakhita, whose strong missionary drive animated her entire life, that “her mind was always on God, and her heart in Africa"; may we always be drawn to love others as the Lord Jesus Christ loved us, that he accepted to die for our sins, even death on a cross.
Elizabeth Ngami is a member of St. Paul’s Catholic University Chapel, where she is also a member of the Lectors group. She is a committed member where she has served and participated in different social activities of the church since she was a student from 2011 including Charity Visits to the less privileged in the society, Environmental Walk, Mission Walk to parishes in Kenya with limited mission reach, Free Medical Camps and many others.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Sociology from the University of Nairobi, Kenya in 2015, Diploma in Project Management from Alison Courses (Online), Certificates in Focus on Understanding the Rights of Women and Girls, and Understanding Human Rights from YALI Network Online Courses. She was born in Kitui County, Kenya in 1990.
She joined KCPF as an intern where she was later employed as a Communications Officer then later promoted to her current role of a Programmes Officer. This has placed her at a strategic place of decision making and interacting with prominent men and women and other organizations. She is working with the major church bodies of the church in Kenya that represents the Catholics, Evangelicals, Methodists, Presbyterian and Anglicans. She manages and coordinates the programmes of the organization in close collaboration with the relevant stakeholders.
She is committed to humanitarian service delivery for social impact and social justice of all members of the society.
The second of three volumes from the Catholic Women Preach project of FutureChurch offers homilies for each Sunday and holy days of the liturgical year by Catholic women from around the world. The first volume for Cycle A received awards for best book on Liturgy from both the Association of Catholic Publishers and the Catholic Media Association.
“Catholic Women Preach is one of the more inspiring collection of homilies available today. Based on the deep spirituality and insights of the various women authors, the homilies are solidly based on the scriptures and offer refreshing and engaging insights for homilists and listeners. The feminine perspective has long been absent in the preached word, and its inclusion in this work offers a long overdue and pastorally necessary resource for the liturgical life of the Church.” - Catholic Media Association
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