What is it going to be? Bacon or eggs?

The new deacon: Wiseman Nkomo
with Fr Ncamiso Vilakati (left) and Fr Zweli Ngwenya (right) ordained priests last year

On Saturday 28 November we gathered at the Cathedral for the ordination to the diaconate of Wiseman Nkomo. Below, "the English part" of the homily
* * *
What is it going to be…?
This is the question I have been carrying in my heart these days. There is a similar one in the gospel of Luke at the birth of John the Baptist. People seeing the wonders surrounding his birth asked themselves: ‘What will this child turn out to be? ... And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.' (Lk 1:66)
Mine is slightly different. I certainly believe the hand of the Lord is and will be with you. But in each one of us there is always a dimension of “choice”. We choose to do or not to do something. We choose to be in one way or another.
What is it going to be…?
On your journey towards priesthood you are today ordained deacon. Hopefully you won't remain a deacon. You are not being ordained to remain as a “permanent deacon” which is another call in our Church. Yours is a step towards priesthood. One could even say, this time as a deacon will be the foundation of your priesthood.
It is interesting to know that in the past a bishop would wear the signs of the three ordinations he had received: diaconate, priesthood and the episcopal one. We do not that anymore.
What is it going to be…?
Deacons are particularly associated with “service”: service of the table, service of the word, service of the poor.
There are two types of service and I thought of reminding you about them with a familiar story. You (and all) will probably forget everything I have said and will say but the story, I guess, will remain.
A pig and a chicken decide to travel together around the world. They then arrived at a very poor village. They are struck by the hunger of the children and the pig says: 'this is so terrible, we must do something for them'. The chicken immediately agreed and said: 'You are right my friend, why don't we offer them bacon and eggs?'. The pig froze and replied: 'Wait a moment because what for you is an act of generosity, for me is the sacrifice of my life'
Now, what is it going to be? Eggs or bacon?

Not long ago on Sunday and again this past week on Monday we came across the text of the widow who put just a few cents in the collection but that was all she had to live on. It was not “leftovers”. It was not just a few eggs from her basket. It was bacon. Literally.

What is it going to be? Bacon or eggs?
I trust you want to "offer bacon". At least that is what I seem to understand from the readings you chose. Particularly the gospel. In Christian terms it is good to offer eggs but true life comes out of bacon. In other words, you need "to die".
In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies it yields a rich harvest.”
The sacrament of Holy Orders puts you and me not as professionals who go to work for some or many hours and go back home to do something else. We are like that type of people who never take distance from who he/she is.
Think of a doctor! He goes to a party and someone comes to know he is a doctor and will say… “can you help me? I have some pain here...”.
A friend of mine took me out for supper at a pub/restaurant in South Africa and introduced me to the people (who by the time we arrived had already had “one or two”) saying: “this is the bishop”. They all started: “bishop we want to go to church...”.
We are like parents who are parents 24 hours' a day. No mater the time, no mater the day, no mater the age of their children!!!

That is why, giving some eggs is good but it is only bacon, that gives true life, particularly in our case as we are called to witness the one who died for us.

Click HERE for photos of the ordination

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Bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland)

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