SOUTH AFRICA: Bishop Sipuka Calls upon Faithful to Uphold Spirituality during Ordinary Time

By Odiwuor Opiyo

MTHATHA, JULY 12, 2022 (CISA) – “Now that we have come to the ordinary time, St Paul invites us to continue living in the spirit and not by the desires of the flesh. He is calling us not to drop the ball,” urged Rt Rev Sithembele Sipuka, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Mthatha in his July newsletter.

He said that according to readings, “after the ‘hype’ of Lent and Easter, which encourages us to engage more intensely in our spiritual life, we must avoid dropping the standard because we have come to ordinary time.”

The President of the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC), explained that a return to an ordinary time in the liturgical year is after Easter and other solemn feasts of the Lord, and is symbolized by the green colour during the Eucharistic celebration.

Bishop Sipuka spoke of the indecisiveness of some people whose intentions to follow Jesus are hindered by the ways of this world. One who enthusiastically offers to “follow him wherever,” is set back when Jesus reminds him of the material and spiritual implications associated with being his follower.

“It is very easy for us to dream beautiful dreams, it is something else to accept the sacrifice that goes with the dreams to make them come true,” writes Bishop Sipuka.

He adds that “to follow Jesus sometime in the future is not to follow him at all because, in this life, we will never reach a perfect situation; the setting will never be exactly right.”

“Jesus calls us to follow him now in the midst of other things that we must do during this ordinary time,” he urges.

Bishop Sipuka concludes; “The last temptation is to keep looking back from the plough! Looking back means that we are half-hearted in our commitment. We want to follow Jesus but we still want to hold to our old ways of life. During this period of ordinary time, let us remain steadfast in our Christian commitment.”