Reflection for Third Sunday of Advent B

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First Reading
Isaiah 61:1-2a,10-11
The Lord’s salvation will be made known to the poor and the oppressed.

Responsorial Psalm
Luke 1:46-50,53-54
Mary sings praise to God.

Second Reading
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Paul encourages the Thessalonians to rejoice and pray always.

Gospel Reading
John 1:6-8,19-28
John gives testimony that he is preaching and baptising in order to prepare for the coming of another.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This Sunday’s Gospel invites us to continue our reflection on the person and mission of John the Baptist. Today we depart from the Gospel of Mark and read a selection from the Gospel of John.

The Gospel for today combines a brief passage from the prologue to John’s Gospel with a report about John the Baptist. As in Mark’s Gospel, the Gospel of John contains no birth narrative. Instead, John’s Gospel begins with a theological reflection that has come to be called the “prologue.” This prologue places the story of Jesus in its cosmological framework. It speaks of Jesus’ existence with God since the beginning of time. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is presented as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the culmination of the Word, the light that is coming into the world’s darkness.

Following this prologue, John reports on the ministry of John the Baptist. We learn about the attention that John the Baptist received from the Jewish authorities. Messengers from the Jewish priests, the Levites and the Pharisees question John about his identity and the meaning of the baptisms that he is performing. John’s Gospel uses these questions to establish the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist. John the Baptist is not the Messiah, nor is he Elijah or the Prophet. In John’s denials, we hear echoes of the kind of messianic expectations that were common in first-century Palestine.

The only affirmative response that John the Baptist gives is when he quotes the prophet Isaiah. Upon answering the next question, John announces that the saviour they seek is already among them, but as yet unrecognised. John’s response highlights for us an important Advent theme: Jesus has already come into the world as our saviour. During Advent, we pray that we will be able to recognise Jesus’ presence in our midst. Advent also reminds us that Jesus will come again to fulfill the promise of salvation. We pray that we will continue to be watchful as we anticipate that great day.

The third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete SundayGaudete, a Latin word which means “rejoice,” is taken from the entrance antiphon for Sunday’s Mass. This theme is echoed in today’s second reading from the first Letter to the Thessalonians. It is a reminder that Advent is a season of joy because our salvation is already at hand. – loyolapress.com

Christmas Masses and Fourth Sunday of Advent

1. At the meeting of the Regional Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei in Majodi, Plentong from the 11-15  July 2016, it was confirmed that:

a)    The Fourth Sunday of Advent is observed on 24 December 2017 at the morning masses and the sunset masses (anticipated) on December 23;

b)    The Sunday evening Masses on  December  24 is to be treated as the Vigil or night masses for the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord.

2. It is strongly encouraged that the faithful attend masses on both days (Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas) unless there is a just reason that impedes them from doing so.

3. In the case of the faithful being unable to attend both days due to a just reason, they are to observe some special way to pray or perform works of piety and charity.

Church Christmas Eve

Sun Dec 24

Christmas Day

   Mon Dec 25

Sacred Heart Cathedral 6:00 pm Mass (BM)

8:30 pm Cantata

9:30 pm Mass (EN)

7:00 am (CH)

9:00 am (EN)

10:45 am (BM)

Church of Mary Immaculate 7:30 pm (CH) 9:00 am (EN)
Carmelite Chapel 7:30 pm (EN) 7:00 am (EN)
St Paul Dontozidon 7:30 pm (KD) 8:30 am (KD)
OLQP Kobusak 7:30 pm (KD) 10:30 am (KD)
St John Kopungit 9:30 pm (KD) 10:45 am (KD)
St Simon Likas 7:30 pm (EN) 8:30 am (EN)
Stella Maris Tg Aru 8 pm (EN) 7:30 am (EN)

10:00 am (BM)

St Peter Claver Ranau 7:15 pm (BM) 8:00 am (BM/EN)

 

Pope Francis’ 2017 Intentions

December 2017

The Elderly

That the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations.

 

Liturgical Feasts / Anniversaries /Observances

Dec 01: World AIDS Day

Dec 03: First Sunday of Advent B

Dec 04: St John Damascene

Dec 06: St Nicholas

 Dec 07: St Ambrose

Dec 08: Immaculate Conception of Mary (Solemnity)

Dec 09: St John Diego Cuahtlatoatzin

Dec 10: Second Sunday of Advent B

Dec 11: St Damasus I

Dec 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Dec 13: St Lucy

Dec 14: St John of the Cross

Dec 17: Third Sunday of Advent B

Dec 21: St Peter Canisius

Dec 23: St John of Kanty

Dec 24: Fourth Sunday of Advent B

Dec 25: Christmas Day (Day of Obligation)

Dec 26: St Stephen Protomartyr

Dec 27: St John the Evangelist

Dec 28: Holy Innocents

Dec 29: St Thomas Becket

Dec 31: Holy Family 

MCYMC embarks on disseminating synod information on new website

KOTA KINABALU – The Malaysian Catholic Youth Ministers’ Committee (all the 9 dioceses in Malaysia), decided to embark in disseminating the Synod information together with the questionnaires together as single entity. For this, the website talk2francisMY.archkl.org was created. The questionnaires that are presented inside this website, both in English and Bahasa, for Catholics and Non-Catholics.

Questionnaires Results 
Results are captured through Google Form into Google Sheet. From here the information will be extracted out according to Arch/Diocese and pass it on to the Arch/Diocese Youth Coordinator. ASAYO KL who is the secretariat for this project, will ensure that the results are distributed to all the dioceses end of October.

Formation Sessions 

According to Ignatius Krishnan, head of KL Social Communication Ministry, if an Arch/Diocese Youth Ministry would like to conduct awareness programme /formation at various churches, it should communicate with him and he can add in this information inside the Formation Sessions column within the website. Sample (ASAYO KL) can be seen on the website itself.

Publicity 

Publicity materials are found through the link given below.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B4IvK8rhekTQcEtadFdkZm5ueEk?usp=sharing

Sharing (Case Study): What we did in Archdiocese of KL
Krishnan said the Social Comm assisted the ASAYO KL to disseminate talk2francisMY information.
“We ran it like a mini campaign. E.g.:
– we published basic information together with the banner at our archkl.org website
https://archkl.org/index.php/en/parish-resources/participate/979-2018-synod-for-youth
– from the website, we pushed the very same info via link into our social media.
– we created simple square social media images, which will be circulated for the next two months on a weekly basis.
– sent the information to all Parish Social Comm. In return, they will publish it at their website + distribute the very same info through their social media,” he said.

He expressed his hope that all the above information helps in disseminating the talk2francisMY campaign to all the youths both Catholics and Non-Catholics.   The youth office at parish and Arch/Diocese level should take ownership of this campaign in their own dioceses.

Krishnan can be contacted via email to ignatius@serantau.org.

Change of directors formally announced at IY Closing

The 21 aspirants (standing) and eight IY seminarians (front) pose with the concelebrants after the Mass marking the end of the Academic Year, 14 Dec 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – The change of directors of both initiation formation houses was formally announced at the closing of the Academic Year of Aspirants and Initiation Year (IY) on 14 Dec 2017.

Archbishop John Wong announced this in his speech at the fellowship after the Mass at the IY Formation House here.

Father Mattheus Luta takes over from Father Rayner Bisius as IY Director while Father Joshua Liew replaces Father Wilfred Atin as Aspirants Director with effect from 1 January 2018.

In his speech, Abp Wong thanked those who had helped in one way or another in the formative journey of the aspirants and seminarians.

He exhorted the students to appreciate the formation they had received in the course of the year and hoped it will be useful as they go on their formative journey.

In his final address to the formands,  Fr Atin told them to entrust their lives to God as “they cannot do it alone.”

Fr Rayner gave a similar message and said he enjoyed his time with them.

Abp Wong presided at the Mass concelebrated with the incoming and outgoing directors, as well as with Father Paul Lo (lecturer), and Father Thomas Madanan (spiritual director).

Dinner followed at the square but due to the rainy weather, it was moved to the dining hall.

The event closed with the formands serenading the guests with Christmas carols after the presentation of tokens to the teachers, lecturers, and benefactors.

Vatican communications department will unveil new website soon

Msgr Dario Vigano, secretariat for communications, 5 Apr 2016. Credit: Daniel Ibanez, CNA

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals met at the Vatican here on 11-13 Dec 2017 to continue discussions on reform of the Roman Curia and unveiled a new communications system for the Secretariat for Communications.

All members were present for the meetings, apart from Cardinal George Pell. Pope Francis was present except for Wednesday morning during the general audience, as is ordinary.

Father Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, presented the new communications system, including a new website and logos, during the 22nd round of meetings.

According to a Dec 13 statement, the “the Vatican media system adopts a new production model based on integration and unified management, in full harmony with the reform desired by Pope Francis.”

The center of the communications system will be new multimedia publishing centre, which will present a unified structure for the daily production of content, including audio, text, video, and graphics, in multiple languages.

This system is the result of consolidation on both an economic and technical level, and will be available soon (in a beta version) at vaticannews.va, the press release stated. This replaces the previously used informational websites and aims to streamline the image and channels of communication.

Starting 1 Jan 2018, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s photo service, and the Vatican Typography will merge with the secretariat.

It will start with a team of 70 people divided into six language divisions – English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese – in four thematic areas: Pope, Vatican, Church, and world. It will all be overseen by an editorial directorate in coordination with other support groups.

The new system draws its inspiration from the words of Pope Francis to the Secretariat for Communication during their first plenary earlier this year: that “reform is not ‘whitewashing’ things: reform is to give another form to things, organise them in another way.”

Viganò also reported on the final stretch of the reform of Holy See communications, including the achievement of goals to reduce costs and consolidate personnel.

The meetings also included an update from Cardinal Kevin Farrell on the work of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, which is preparing for the 2018 synod on youth.

The cardinals also listened to presentations by Father Michael Czerny and Father Fabio Baggio, the under-secretaries of the Migrant and Refugee section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

The section is developing a global strategy to implement in cooperation with the Secretariat of State, bishops’ conferences, NGOs, and religious congregations.

As usual, Cardinal Sean O’Malley also provided an update on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Members of the commission are appointed for a term of three years, which may be reconfirmed. The terms of the present 15 members of the commission end Dec 17. Pope Francis will decide whether to reconfirm current members and whom to appoint as new members.

Peter Saunders, founder and former Chief Executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood and a member of the commission since Dec 2014, told the Tablet Dec 13 he plans to step down from the commission at the end of the week. He has been on a leave of absence from the advisory body since early 2016.

Established by Pope Francis shortly after his pontificate began in 2013, the Council of Cardinals – also known as the “C9” – serves as an advisory body on Church governance and reform, with special emphasis on the reform of Pastor bonus, the apostolic constitution which governs the Roman Curia.

The council’s next round of meetings will take place Feb 27-29. – CNA/EWTN News

Groundbreaking ceremony marks commencement of new Catholic Centre construction

Archbishop John Wong (with stole), assisted by Fr Cosmas Lee, officiates the rite of blessing before the groundbreaking ceremony on site of new Catholic Centre Karamunsing, 13 Dec 2017, witnessed by representatives of the clergy, religious, parishes, consultants, building and fundraising committees.

KOTA KINABALU – The groundbreaking ceremony marking the commencement of the construction of the new Catholic Centre here took place on 13 Dec 2017.

Archbishop John Wong officiated the rite of blessing of the site, assisted by Father Cosmas Lee, the project supervisor.

After the blessing, the archbishop proceeded to do the groundbreaking by using an excavator, assisted by John Voo, the contractor for the demolition and site preparation works.

On hand to witness the ceremony were some 35 representatives from the clergy, religious, parishes, consultants, and the building and fundraising committees.

The demolition began on Nov 29 and is scheduled to be completed by 9 Jan 2018.

An open tender for the piling works has been called for and the piling will begin sometime in January 2018.

The building project is scheduled to be completed within 16 months, probably by mid-2019.

At the press conference held after the ceremony,  Fr Lee as well as Willie Wong, head of the fundraising committee, said funding for the project is from the Catholic Community organised into 21 parishes, from state and federal grants, and from generous individuals.

Analysis: What is the context of Pope Francis’ words on the Lord’s Prayer?

Pope Francis’ remarks on the “wrong” translation of the Lord’s Prayer in a TV show hosted by the Italian Bishops’ Conference’s TV2000 network are part of a wider debate that has taken place in Italy for over two decades.

The Pope said that the words “non ci indurre in tentazione” – “Do not lead us into temptation,” in the English version – are not correct, because, he said, God does not actively lead us into temptation.

The Pope also praised a new translation operated by the French Bishops’ conference.

The new French translation is “et ne nous laisse pas entrer in tentationI” – “let us not enter into temptation.” It replaces the previous translation “ne nous soumets pas à la tentation” – “do not submit us to temptation.”

It is worth noting that St. Thomas Aquinas considered the question of whether God leads men “into temptation” in a commentary he wrote on the Our Father. The saint, and Doctor of the Church, concluded that “God is said to lead a person into evil by permitting him to the extent that, because of his many sins, He withdraws His grace from man, and as a result of this withdrawal man does fall into sin.”

The Pope’s intent seems to be to emphasise that God’s active will does not “tempt” men, that, instead, the permissive will of God allows people to be tempted because of their sinfulness. This is the emphasis of the French translation. The theological context is complex, but certainly the Pope has not intended to deny the theological and scriptural sense in which God allows, or permits, temptation.

However, the Pope was talking in Italian, on an Italian television show, and his remarks dealt with the Italian translation of the Lord’s Prayer. It would be a mistake to assign his remarks significance beyond the Italian context, in which they would be well understood.

And, in fact, a new Italian translation of that very sentence of the Lord’s Prayer has already been done.

The new translation of the Bible issued by the Italian Bishops Conference says “do not abandon us to the temptation,” and the rephrasing of that sentence was the fruit of a long process, aimed at being more faithful to the Latin text of the prayer – the so-called editio typica – and at the same time more fit to the current language.

Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence and a well known scripture scholar, who has also served as undersecretary and secretary of the Italian Bishops Conference, recounted to the Italian newspaper Avvenire how the process for a new translation took place.

“The work,” he said, “dates back to 1988, when the decision was made to review the old 1971 translation of the Bible.”

At that time, a working group of 15 scripture scholars was established, coordinated by a bishop – the first was Bishop Giuseppe Costanzo, then Bishop Wilhelm Egger, and finally Bishop Franco Festorazzi.

This working group collected the opinions of 60 more experts on scripture. The group was overseen by the Bishops Commission for the Liturgy, and the Italian Bishops’ Conference Permanent Council, a group composed of the presidents of regional bishops conference, and the presidents of the commissions established within the Bishops’ Conference itself.

Cardinal Betori said that “within the Permanent Council, a restricted committee for the translation was established,” was composed of Cardinals Giacomo Biffi and Carlo Maria Martini, and of Archbishops Benigno Luigi Papa, Giovanni Saldarini and Andrea Magrassi.

“This committee,” Cardinal Betori said, “also received and considered the proposal for the new translation of the Our Father.”

The formula “do not abandon us to temptation” was adopted because it met the approval of both Cardinal Martini and Biffi, who “were not, as is known, from the same schools of thought,” Cardinal Betori explained.

Cardinal Betori said that the formula was chosen because it had a wider meaning, as “do not abandon us to temptation” can both mean “do not abandon us, so that we will not fall into temptation” and “do not abandon… when we are already facing temptation,” Cardinal Betori explained.

The new translation was approved by the Italian bishops in 2000. In 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued Liturgiam Authenticam, a set of new provisions for the translation of liturgical texts.

After Liturgiam Authenticam, the whole work of translation was reviewed by a group of experts, led by bishops Adriano Caprioli, Luciano Monari and Mansueto Bianchi. Cardinal Betori was part of this group.

The revision, which suggested many amendments, was forwarded to the bishops. However, these amendments “did not change the proposal for the new translation of the Lord’s Prayer.”

The new translation of the Bible was finally approved during the 2002 General Assembly of the Italian Bishops Conference, with 202 out of 203 bishops voting favourably. The text of the Lord’s Prayer was approved separately, to be certain there were no doubts from bishops. The Holy See gave its recognitio in 2007, and the Italian Bishops Conference Bible was finally published in 2008 with the new translation.

The new translation of the Lord’s Prayer was ‘transferred’ to the Missal. However, the new translation, in order to be part of liturgical use, must be approved by the Holy See, and the text has not been approved because there are other issues of concern in the Missal’s translation.

This is the reason why the formula for the Lord’s Prayer in Italian is still “non ci indurre in tentazione.”

Ultimately, speaking about the translation of the Lord’s Prayer, Pope Francis did not say anything really new. Italian theologians and scripture scholars have already provided their solution for the translation.

However, there is another story to be told. There is a question regarding what will happen to translations that once needed a “recognitio” from the Holy See, which is now simply called to “confirm” the new translation.

Will this lead to a general change in translations in languages other than Italian? – CNA

Sandakan covenant community brings early Christmas joy to the less fortunate

SANDAKAN – Members of the Star of Yahweh Covenant Community brought early Christmas joy to the less fortunate on 10 Dec 2017.

“It also helps us to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus Christ by showing our charity to people in genuine need. Though this advent action is just a small act of kindness, it adds up a great difference for vulnerable people,” said SYCC elder Philip Mosinoh.

As the members came bringing the goodies and some clothing donations to their homes,  the joy and happiness clearly shown on the children’s faces. When they were asked why they are so happy, spontaneously and joyfully they said in Malay, “Sebab Hari Krismas” (Because it is Christmas). – S Cordova, sandakan newsupdate

Pope renews appeal for wisdom and prudence over Jerusalem

VATICAN CITY – The Holy See is following with great attention the developing situation in the Middle East, with special reference to Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims all over the world.

In a press statement released on 10 Dec 2017, the Holy See Press Office reiterated the Pope’s concerns regarding the volatile situation in and around Jerusalem. [This came about after US President Donald Trump announced on Dec 6 that US formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the city.]

In expressing sorrow for the clashes of the past few days that have left people dead, the Holy Father renews his appeal for wisdom and prudence and prays earnestly that leaders of Nations, in this moment of particular gravity, may do everything to avert a new spiral of violence, and may respond, with words and deeds, to the longing for peace, justice and security felt by the people of that suffering land.

Concerns about peace prospects in the region are the subject of various initiatives over these days, including urgent meetings convened by the Arab League and the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation. The Holy See is sensitive to these concerns and, recalling the heartfelt words of Pope Francis, reiterates its well-known position regarding the unique nature of the Holy City and the indispensability of respecting the status quo, in accordance with the agreements of the international community and repeated requests of the hierarchies of the Churches and Christian communities of the Holy Land.

At the same time, the Holy See reiterates its conviction that only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians can lead to a stable and lasting peace and guarantee the peaceful coexistence of two states within internationally recognised borders. – vatican radio

 

Parishioners mark Fr Lo’s 12th anniversary as priest

Abp Wong (L) affirms the honouree Fr Lo (R) on his 12th anniversary breakfast at Sacred Heart Parish Canteen, 7 Dec 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – Parishioners here marked the 12th priestly anniversary of Father Paul Lo at different times.

While morning Massgoers at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here organised a breakfast for him on Thursday, 7 Dec 2017, those in the Church of Mary Immaculate gave him an early lunch on Sunday, Dec 10, the actual day of his anniversary.

On both occasions, Fr Lo thanked the organisers for their kind gestures and asked them to continue to pray for him and his ministry.

Archbishop John Wong was present on both occasions to affirm the 44-year-old priest who took up his post as assistant pastor at the cathedral parish on Sept 1 this year.

Kota Belud flooded

Let us pray for all affected by the flood in Kota Belud and for the rain to cease. It has been raining non-stop since 11 Dec 2017.  Kota Belud is located roughly at the midpoint of the federal highway connecting Kota Kinabalu and Kudat.  The parish is St Edmund Parish under the pastoral care of Father Ambrose Atang and Father Florian Marcus.

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