5th Sunday of Easter 2014
The first reading from Acts 6 became a defining passage of Scripture at a defining moment in my life as a priest. I had already been in Tanzania a couple of years when I was appointed Parish Priest of Galapo and over those years it became increasingly clear that I wasn’t fitting in to the model of the missionary church that I found there.
From the 1960’s it was understood that you couldn’t preach the gospel to empty stomachs and so it was necessary to feed the hungry before preaching to them. This is in keeping with the concern that Jesus had for the hungry when he multiplied the loaves and fish, though I think He fed them after they had listened to Him preach. The problem in Tanzania was that the hunger never went away and the material development of the people seemed to become the dominant feature of missionary life – not that the spiritual ministry didn’t exist but it seemed to have become less central.