Homilies and teaching
The feast of Our Lady of Kibeho November 28th, 2011
The summary of the Homely
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, there are 30 years since the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Word appeared here at this Holy land of Kibeho in the extraordinary manner. The Mother of the Word came to tell people of the world the Good News inviting them to change and to come back to God. It is a great blessing for us. It is a sign of the Lord’s mercy. This anniversary coincides with the 10th anniversary of the official recognition of the Kibeho apparitions.
The recognition is the official declaration that there is something new in the Mary’s message here at Kibeho, something which is worthy to be believed in and trusted in. The message is for everybody and not only for Rwandan people. The message consists in this: God sent his only begotten Son not to condemn but to redeem, to give life and forgiveness to the world. So Mary did not come to us so that we may fear; she came to remind us the Good News of his Son, the Good News of salvation and forgiveness.
According to the Ezekiel’s message, God do not want the death of sinner but his conversion and change of his conducts in order to live. God is asking us: why are you choosing your own condemnation? The message of Kibeho invites us to change and to sincerely convert ourselves from sin by practicing God’s commandments. The Virgin Mary said “the world is in trouble”, “the world is reaching at its doom”; “the world is full of sins, hatred, ignorance, wickedness and killings; there is no true love, no peace”. “so, Mary said to us, convert you from sins, convert you and change your conduct. Do that now, as it is still yet time. “If not, you will fall into an abyss, meaning many terrible things and hardships.
The Mother of the Word’s message is very strong and urgent. But we act as if we are not concerned. We do not do like the people of Nineveh who welcomed the message of Jonas. We are continually tempted by the world’s goods and richness. We do not give time to God and to God’s grace. This is why many times Mary came here full of sufferings and she cried often because of our indifference towards our salvation. She said “I opened but you refused to enter”. “I am grieved because I came to you with love but you, you went away from me; you refused to welcome the message I brought to you; I am grieved because your sins are now increasing”.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, tears of the Virgin Mary are also the message to us. She is still suffering because of our indifference and lack of sensibility towards her message. She is suffering because we do not want to change from our bad behavior; we continue to do evil and to be happy in that bad situation. We live in lies and we do not do anything to put an end to unjust situations. The Mother of the Word is asking why we are ready to do what is against God’s will and we resist to God’s love. She is telling us the same message to change, to change now as it is still yet time.
Since the official recognition of Kibeho apparition, dear brothers and sisters, there are many realizations in order to build up the Sanctuary Our Lady of Kibeho. Kibeho is now a place of prayer and pilgrimage. We are happy to see many people coming from every corner of the world to pray and to hear to the message of Kibeho. Religious communities are also increasing their activities here. But there are still many things to be improved. I hope the Mother of the Word will be with us in our daily initiatives and will help us.
The message of Kibeho could be, for us, the reference in the new evangelization which we need for our time; according to the message of our pope Benedict XVI. We have to go forward: to continue and to increase our pilgrimages here; to pray for diocesan initiatives in this way. I would invite you to give to your pilgrimage its specific aim, either doing it alone, as group, as family or as a community. The theme of your pilgrimage could lead your prayers, instructions, and others activities here.
I hope that the Mother of the Word, our Lady of Kibeho, will help us and will be happy because of our conversion. She said to us: “Anybody who comes to me, I welcome him/her”. She is asking us now to listen to her message and to put it into practice. She is opened to our demands and supplications and she sees our efforts.
I wish you all a Happy Feast of Our Lady of Kibeho
Bishop of Gikongoro Diocese