All Night Prayer Vigil

HOMILY for the Holy Mass of the Vigil for Benedict Daswa Cause 16 Feb 2014

Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Let us listen again to the words of the Lord Jesus in verse 24 (Luke 4, 24).

“Truly I say to you: no prophet is acceptable in his own country.”  

 “Ngiqinisile ngithi kini: Akukho –mprofethi owamukelwa ezweni lakubo.”

 “Ruri, ke a le botsa, moporofeta ga a ke a thabelwa motseng wa gabo.”

The Lord Jesus was not only prophesying about himself in this verse but about the experience of the genuine prophets in the history of Israel (and he gives some examples of this in the Gospel account). Jesus was also anticipating what would happen to his followers after his death and resurrection. And again we read in the Acts of the Apostles and in many later church accounts, how Christians were often persecuted and even killed because of their faith in the Lord Jesus. This is still happening today in some parts of Africa and the world.

Why does this happen? The Lord Jesus gives us an insight to this question in verse 24 saying. ”Truly I say to you: no prophet is acceptable in his own country.”  A prophet is a person who has been inspired in a special way by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enlightens the person in his mind and heart and a new vision and understanding about life opens up which is directed by God. He or she is urged by the Holy Spirit to speak for God, for God’s truth and revelation and to live accordingly. The prophet’s most important point of reference is no longer my people, or my culture or my friends or my nation but first and foremost – God. Everything the prophet says and does begins and ends in prayer and worship of God.

That is what a prophet is – one who speaks for God, who makes known God’s will for humanity and witnesses to this revelation in his or her personal life. And you know what? Anyone can become a prophet because everyone is called to become a prophet in Jesus Christ. And Benedict Daswa was one of those “anyones”!

Benedict Daswa heard the prophetic call and answered by being baptised in Christ in the Catholic Church. He responded generously to God’s call and never looked back. He embraced the truths of revelation and lived accordingly with joy in the Holy Spirit. And he boldly made known to others – including his wife, his children, is friends, his co-workers, the learners at his school, his community and all – the saving loving power and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Truly, I say to you: no prophet is acceptable in his own country.”

People familiar with a prophet think they know him or her but in reality they don’t! People say: We know him. He is one of us. We grew up with him. He is from our village and speaks like us. We went to the same schools together. He is not special or unique. Who does he think he is? Does he think he is better than us? Does he think he knows more than us? The people do not understand that he is special and unique, that he is no longer simply one of them but first and foremost a child of God who can discern the difference between right from wrong, truth from lies, justice from injustice, peace from violence; who has been given the courage in God’s grace to speak out against injustice and lies and to resist the temptations that the “blind and slaves” put on him to give up on God’s way.

Indeed the people who criticise the prophet are the very people whom God is calling to listen to the prophet! These people are blind because they are devoid of the light of the Holy Spirit in their lives and they are slaves of sin because they are ignorant and deny that all people are called to follow the way of God. Those people who are still enslaved to a witchcraft mentality and live with superstitious fears, who are still ignorant of the laws of nature, who are still living with a fatalistic attitude to life blaming everyone else except themselves for the difficulties of life are “the blind and the slaves” who need to be liberated by Christ. Those people who thought that Benedict Daswa was simply one of them and one like them were gravely mistaken. Benedict Daswa was a prophet of God following the footsteps of Jesus Christ. That is why he was killed by them.

Today we rejoice in God’s grace for and with the Servant of God Benedict Daswa. We rejoice and are glad for Benedict Daswa’s reward is great in the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, we do not mourn or cry in sadness but give glory to God for having given us such a wonderful prophet. “Yes, rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4, 13).

“Truly, I say to you: no prophet is acceptable in his own country.”

 “Ngiqinisile ngithi kini: Akukho –mprofethi owamukelwa ezweni lakubo.”

 “Ruri, ke a le botsa, moporofeta ga a ke a thabelwa motseng wa gabo.”


(Homily by Bishop Joao Rodrigues, Bishop of the Diocese of Tzaneen)