“Stand for something or fall for anything,” Southern African Catholic Bishop to Youth

Bishop Victor Hlolo Phalana of South Africa's Klerkdorp Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese Klerkdorp in South Africa has counseled the youth in Southern Africa to stick to their values and principles following the example of Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego (in Hebrew: Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael) recorded in the book of Daniel.

In a Wednesday, March 29 reflection, which was based on the First Reading of the day, Bishop Victor Hlolo Phalana urged young people to always strive to shun evil, including corruption.

“Stand for something or fall for everything. When you stand, you become visible. Refuse to bow down like these three men (Shadrack Meshack and Abednego). Refuse to compromise your values, beliefs, and convictions,” Bishop Phalana said.

He added in reference to the youth in the three countries covered by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), “It is important especially for young men and women today in South Africa to stand against evil, corruption, or wrongdoing. That way, you become visible. It is also important for us in Botswana, South Africa, and Eswatini, to put into practice the words of Jesus like these three young men.”

“Let your light shine before people, so that they can see your deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven,” the South African Catholic Bishop said.


He went on to call on the youth in the three countries to guard against swimming with the current, saying, “I urge our youth in Botswana, South Africa, and Eswatini, stand for the good, go against the current, and stand for your values and principles. This is the way to go.”

“Stand for something in your schools and in your universities,” Bishop Phalana said, and added, “Let the position you take make you stand and shine. Be a light to others. If you don't take a stand, you will just fall for everything.”

The Catholic Bishop urged the people of God to persevere in hardships just like Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego who eventually saw God’s intervention in their hour of need.

“Going through the fire allows you to get through the fire,” he said, and continued, “The determination of Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego proved their dedication to God. Their faith did not yield to pressure, compromise, or social acceptance. They were willing to obey.”

From the encounter of the three young men in the furnace, Christians learn that God is present in the middle of their struggles, Bishop Phalana said.

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He explained, “When the three men, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego were thrown inside a fire furnace, the king sees the fourth man in the fire. God is always present in the middle of the fire. Call unto him.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.