"And you, Bethlehem, you are by no means the least among the leaders of Judah"

I remembered this biblical text on Sunday at the end of the first Mass. We read it during Christmas' time in the Gospel of Matthew when King Herod asks the chief priests and the scribes of the people, where the Christ was to be born: "And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least among the leaders of Judah, for from you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel.’ (Mt 2:6) (quoting Micheas 5:1)

Being free from appointments, I continued the visit to the outstations of the different parishes. I asked Fr Mahazule (priest-in-charge of Mbabane) to indicate two or three I could visit. As usual, I arrived everywhere "unannounced". 

The first Mass was at St Sarah's. The small church was packed and the celebration lively. This small church is "inside" a bigger one which is being built. "We have been building for a year and now we have to do the roof but the money is finished" they told me.

"This is the community where the late Bishop Zwane comes from (he was the first Swazi bishop of this diocese) together with the present Superior General of the Swazi Sisters and deacon Zweli Ngwenya (who will be ordained priest at the end of September)".

A bishop, a sister, a priest... three shepherds to God's people from this outstation of Mbabane. That is why the text came to my mind... you are by no means the least among them.

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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