HOMILY FOR INSTALLATION – Bishop Frank Nubuasah SVD
Dumelang bana le bagolo. Good Morning to everyone! I greet our Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Peter Wells, his Secretary Monsignor Roman Walczak, the dignitaries and other important guests. I also greet all our bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and the People of God here in Botswana…..Gape, ke dumedisa Mobishopo Frank Nubuasah, le baeng ba ba tswang mafelong a mangwe….Rona re tlile go tswa gaufi le kgakala, mme ke itumetse thata go amogela lona lotlhe mo leineng la Morena wa Rona Jesu Kreste. Amen!
Tota tota, ke letsatsi le le kgetigileng, ke letsatsi la tsholofelo le boitumelo. Moitshepi Paulo a re gompieno: “Re leboge Modimo mo dilong tsothe”……Amen….
A go bakwe Morena Jesu Kreste!
“Come to me……shoulder my yoke……and learn from me…….says the Lord in the Gospel today…….” Re reeditse Lefoko la Modimo: “Tlaang kwano go nna lotlhe….. Ipeleseng jokwe ya me, lo ithute mo go nna……” go bua Morena (Matt. 11: 28 -30)
The people in the time of Jesus would have known from their work in the fields and their daily lives the picture Jesus put before them……the yoke – a bar or frame placed across the shoulders of 2 oxen for working together; or a frame fitted to someone’s shoulders to carry a load in 2 portions in the left and right hand. And this image or picture used by Jesus can be applied to all of us who have responsibilities in life, or are facing difficult challenges, or who are asked to accept something which will not be easy…..which is what Bishop Frank is accepting today as Bishop of Gaborone.
Bishop Frank, you completed 20 years this year as Bishop of Francistown, and now you have turned 70…….your people can now call you Ntatemogolo……And after 20 years in Francistown, our Nuncio Archbishop Peter, is now placing on your shoulders the new yoke of the Diocese of Gaborone……Ke sono..
Bishop Frank, perhaps you are feeling a little like Jeremiah in today’s First Reading (Jer. 1: 4 – 9)….Called to be a prophet, Jeremiah knew all too well what this would mean…….he knew the way the prophets before him had been treated…..and so, searching perhaps for some way out, for some way to avoid this call from God, he says to God: “Ah no Lord, I do not know how to speak……” after all, the call of the prophet was to speak the word of God to the people!
But God says to Jeremiah, and says the same to you and me today and every day, Bishop Frank… “Do not be afraid…..I will protect you…..go now to those to whom I send you and speak my word to your people…….your people….”
My brother, Bishop Frank, Jesus calls and sends you every day to your ministry in the Church and the society here as a Bishop, that is as a Shepherd….again an image filled with meaning. The God who calls you is a faithful God, a God who promises that you will be given the words, the inspiration, the insights, the spirit of discernment, the inner spiritual strength you will need to be a Shepherd that brings hope and peace to your people, a Shepherd who will find the ways to reach out also to the lost sheep – the vulnerable, those who are suffering and struggling in many different ways…..to open a door for them to find the way towards healing, meaning and hope in their lives!
Batho ba ba rategang, re utlwile mo thutong ya ntlha ka moporofeta Jeremia, a re, “Ao, Morena Modimo! Kana ga ke itse go bua. Gonne ke sa le mosha.” O ne a na le dipelaelo go feta. O ne a tshaba, o ne a boifa. Modimo wa re, “Se re, ke sa le mosha. Gonne o na le go ya kwa go botlhe ba ke go romang kwa go bone, le go bua tsotlhe tse ke di go laelang. O seka wa ba boifa, gonne ke na nao gore ke go pholose.” (Jer. 1: 4 – 9).
Jaaka Jeremia, MoBishopo wa rona Frank o romilwe. O romilwe go dula mo go lona, o romilwe go thusa lona go aga Puso ya Modimo mo go lona, go aga batho ba rona mo dioceseng. Gongwe Mobishopo wa rona……o na le dipelaelo mo pelong ya gagwe, mme Morena Modimo wa re go ene kajeno, ‘o seka wa boifa, ke na nao.’ Modimo o tla tsamaya le ene jaaka a tsamaya le Jeremia. O tla mo thusa ka Lefoko.
Mme, gape batho ba me, go na le seane se se reng, “Mafura a ngwana ke go romiwa.” Re bana ba Modimo – kajalo, rona rotlhe re romilwe! Nako le nako Modimo o tsamaya le rona. Gape, O tla tsamaya le Mobishopo wa rona kagale.
But, as you take up this new calling, Bishop Frank, as you accept the yoke that is laid on your shoulders today, I sense that Jesus asks you to be quiet within your spirit and to listen for his voice as he says: “Come to me, shoulder my yoke, and learn from me because I am gentle and humble in heart……” “Lo ithute mo go nna, gonne ke bonolo le boikokobetso mo pelong…….”
Gentle…….Reflecting on these words I feel that Jesus asks us as Bishops, firstly, to be gentle with ourselves…to be gentle with yourself……..the Diocese that you are called to serve as a caring Shepherd will lay upon your shoulders a multitude of needs, and sometimes real issues and problems – sometimes, perhaps, it may feel a bit too much for you. I remember Jesus looking at his tired apostles…..and he invites them to come away with him to a lonely place….to find rest for their souls….
In your prayer time each day, as you encounter Jesus in that lonely place, the word from Jesus I feel in my own spirit is that He invites us to find a balance in our life, a fruitful balance…..do not try to respond immediately to all the expectations of us, but to find that personal space in life to remain and be wholesome as a person……wholesome! Even though this balance is not easy to achieve in life, as I know from my own journey, I hear the call to listen to those words of Jesus in my prayer….. “learn from me because I am gentle and humble…”…learn to be gentle with yourself, as you strive to be gentle and humble with your people and your Diocese……and then you will find rest for your soul, Jesus promises….. mme lo tla bonela mewa ya lona tapologo, go bua Morena.
But today, I feel these words of Jesus are also a call to the whole Diocese – priests, deacons, religious, and all the people of God – Jesus says to all of us…. “learn from me because I am gentle and humble in heart.” My dear people, ask yourself now!, how can I, how can we be gentle, humble people to help our bishop carry this yoke, the call of being our Shepherd, so that his call can truly be fruitful and life giving for him and the whole Diocese, the People of God………..because Jesus said: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light…..” “Gonne jokwe ya me e bonolo, morwalo wa me o botlhofo.”
Yes, my dear people, we are the ones who can make the responsibilities of Bishop Frank a little easier, a little lighter, by sharing in his call, so that his ministry can be a blessing from God, and bring the word and life of Jesus to us, all of us!……and that is especially the responsibility of his closest co-workers, the priests of this Diocese, the priests – to share the many pastoral responsibilities and needs in truly collaborative ministry with your Bishop, and to care for him in truly human and personal ways.
Bagaetsho, gopolang seane se se rang, “Phokojwe go ja yo o diretsenyana.” Ke gore, yo o itseng go dira ka mabogo a sa tshabe go tsena leswe, ga a kake a bolawa ke tlala. ….A ga ke re? ……..Jaanong Mobishopo wa rona….ga a na matsogo fa ese a lona, ga a na matlho fa ese a lona, ga a na maoto fa ese a lona, jalo jalo… ke gore…Lo thusane, “Letsogo le tlhapisa le lengwe” A ga ke re?
Jesus is, in fact, calling and inviting our new Bishop to a way of life, a way of living day by day ……walking the journey of daily life, and serving in a humble, listening, caring spirit together with Jesus and with his people.
This way of life, Bishop Frank, this daily journey and pilgrimage which can be demanding at times for you and me, is founded on a spirituality which is beautifully captured by St. Paul in today’s Second Reading (Romans 5: 1 – 5): He speaks of afflictions/difficulties which all of us will experience…….but then challenges and difficulties open us to important core Gospel values: patience, perseverance, a hope that is not deceptive…why? Because God’s love is poured into our hearts every day by the Holy Spirit…..That is our faith!
Mothutong ya bobedi kajeno re utlwile Moitshepi Paulo o bua le rona ka tsholofelo le boitshoko. A re, “Ebile re ipoka ka ditlalelo, ka re itse gore tlalelo e dira boitshoko, boitshoko bo dira boikanyego, boikanyego bo dira tsholofelo, mme tsholofelo ga e tlhapise ditlhong, gonne lorato lwa Modimo lo tshetswe mo dipelong tsa rona ka Moya o o Boitshepo o re o neilweng…” Amen!
O tla re, dipogiso di go thusang? Pogiso e a itshokisa. Pogiso e go ruta gore, se segolo mo go wena ke Moya eseng mmele. Gape Jesu o re boleletse gore, ‘re sikare sefapaano sa rona letsatsi le letsatsi.’ A ga ke re? Re seka ra leba mmele fela, re lebe Moya…. A ga ke re? Fa re kopana le mathata re seka ra fela pelo, re tshwanetse go rapela le go dira. “Tumelo e e senang tiro, e sule.” A ga ke re?
Go itshoka gase gore re dule fela. Re dire! Ke gore…go direla, eseng go direlwa…….Mobishopo wa rona……..o itshoke, jaaka le lona lo itshoke.
My dear people, I am coming to the end of my reflections. All of us today congratulate and pray for God’s great blessings on our Bishop. Our prayers and encouragement is our gift to him today and every day. Today, as Bishop Frank takes up his calling, service and ministry as a Bishop/Shepherd among us, let us all remember that Jesus is calling each of us today to serve with him……After all the Diocese of Gaborone has developed here in the past years, we are called to continue building our Diocese with Bishop Frank to truly be the People of God, the Family of God, where everyone feels yes!……this Church is my home, this Church is my family, and all of us …..all of us are precious, special people.
We all have gifts, talents and time to make our Church a real home, to reach out to those who are suffering in any way, or feel rejected, or that life is too difficult…..the lost sheep, and bring them to our home – our Church, our parishes, our Diocese where they can find Jesus with us…. Jesus who promises that we will find rest for our souls……
Batho ba me, ke tla fetsa….Mobishopo wa rona…o tlo lapa ka go amogela mathata a batho. Mme a seka a lebala gore rona re a mo tlhoka jaaka dinku di tlhoka Modisa, a ga ke re? Ke Modisa wa lona jaanong. Lona lo mo sale morago jaaka le rona re sale Jesu morago. Gopolang mafoko a ga Paulo, “Legae la rona le kwa legodimong” Re bafeti-ka-tsela. Rona rotlhe re mo tseleng. Mo tseleng re tlhoka mosireletsi….. ebong Mobishopo Frank…..
Mobishopo wa lona o na le maikarabelo a mantsi. Lona lo tshwanetse go mo tlhokomela nako le nako. Mobishopo wa lona o tla lo tlhoka letsatsi le letsatsi….. Dithapelo le tlhotlhoetso tsa gago di mo naya maatla…..
Kajalo, batho ba me, a re nneng batho ba lesedi le barutwa ba ga Jesu…..Amen!
A re saleng Kreste morago……Amen!
A re rataneng jaaka Jesu a re ratileng….Amen!
A re tlogeleng maaka le tsietso ya rona……Amen!
A re direng kagiso le batho botlhe…….Amen!
A re lweleng tshiamo le tsholofelo……Amen!
A re saleng le Modimo……Amen!
A re PULA!!! …………………………..
By Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg Diocese during the installation of Bishop Frank Nubuasah SVD