By Sam Kalimba
Fr. Vincent Mwakhwawa the National Director for the Pontifical Missionary Society in the country preached against hypocrisy among some leaders in the country during the launch of the 2022 Bible Month at St. Patrick’s Area 18 Parish on 4 September.
Present at the Mass was the country’s State Vice President Dr. Saulos Claus Chilima who usually congregates at the Parish.
“It is surprising that most leaders in the country are Christians but less Christianity is being practiced. It is common sense that if one reads the Bible it is expected of them to be transformed but to the contrary, our leaders who portray being Christians are not being transformed and are failing to transform the nation. Is it that they do not read the Bible? Then, let the Bible month be an advantage for all of us including our leaders to read the word of God and be transformed before transforming the society,” said Mwakhwawa.
He however said that despite having no general transformation observed, it is encouraging to note that more and more Catholics are getting into the practice of reading the Bible as observed in the number of lay groups that engage in Bible studies at small christian communities.
He said that the Church in Malawi has chosen the book of Amos to be read in the month of September because it resonates well with the current situation in the country where social injustices are rampant.
Fr. Henry Chinkanda, Pastoral Coordinator for the Episcopal Conference of Malawi commented after Mass on the reason of the choice of the book of Amos.
“At every level there are social injustices taking place in this country. Our society is full of people that are grabbing land for the voiceless, grabbing property from widows and orphans and people who have no mercy to human dignity and life. These and those we do not see because they do them in the dark form the basis for this year’s theme of ‘Listening and discerning the word of God together’ in the spirit of the Synodal process by Pope Francis and 100 years of the translation of Chichewa Bible in Malawi. The book of Amos will help us look back at the 100 years of having a vernacular Bible and see if our society is changing for the better,” said Chinkanda.
Fr. Chinkanda also said that it is important for the faithful and all people to participate in the activities of the Bible month because the word of God is the center of their lives and that of the Church.
“The centrality of the word of God in our Christian life is very crucial. All the sacraments the Church confers are based on the scripture and therefore we are challenged to lead our lives based on the scripture. We cannot do that if we do not read the Bible. The Bible is inseparable from our faith. It is high time Catholics begun owning bibles in their homes and offices. They must carry a Bible with them where ever they go. Psalms 119: 105 is very clear as it says the word of God is the light of my life,” said Chinkanda.
He said that if the world was being governed by the word of God it could have transformed in the manner that it reflected the will of God.
Dr. Matthews Mtumbuka Laity Council Chairperson for the Parish that hosted the national launch of the Bible Month urged his fellow Catholics to exercise a duty of owning the Bible, read the word of God and discern it with the help of others in their families, small Christian communities and consulting priests and the religious where it is not clear to them.
The Church in Malawi started observing the Bible month after the African Synod some decades ago but it was in 2009 when the continuous count of the events rejuvenated.