Thought for 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time C


First Reading
1 Kings 19:16b,19-21
Elijah anoints Elisha as his successor.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-11
I set the Lord ever before me.

Second Reading
Galatians 5:1,13-18
Christ has set us free.

Gospel Reading
Luke 9:51-62
Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today’s Gospel reading begins a long section unique to Luke’s Gospel. Jesus begins his journey to Jerusalem, which will end with his ministry in Jerusalem. We read that Jesus’ days for being “taken up” were fulfilled. The Greek word that Luke uses for “taken up” is the same word he uses to describe the Ascension. We also read that Jesus is determined to journey to Jerusalem. For Luke, Jesus ministry begins in Galilee and then is one long journey to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem he will meet his death but also enter into his glory. Only in Luke does Jesus then spend 40 days in Jerusalem instructing his disciples. It is in Jerusalem that his disciples wait after his Ascension to be sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. And it is from Jerusalem, in Luke’s second volume, the Acts of the Apostles, that the Good News is spread to Rome and the ends of the earth.

Immediately Jesus is met with rejection, as a Samaritan village will not receive him because he is going to Jerusalem. There was animosity between Samaritans who worshiped on Mount Gerazim and Jews who worshiped in Jerusalem. Jesus was also rejected as he began his ministry in Galilee in Chapter 4. And he will be rejected for the last time when he reaches Jerusalem. James and John want to call down fire from heaven to destroy the people in the village, but Jesus rebukes them and moves on. There is often the temptation to use violence to achieve right. Jesus has come to break this temptation. He is aware that he must undergo violence himself before he can enter his glory.

The rest of today’s reading is about the radical demands of discipleship. The three people who volunteer to become disciples on this journey show that they do not understand the demands Jesus will make of them. Neither care of self, care for the dead, nor care of one’s family (as required by the Fourth Commandment) can come before the demands of discipleship. Jesus reminds the first volunteer, who would go wherever Jesus goes, that animals in the wild have more security than do Jesus and his followers. The second, who wants to bury a parent, is reminded that the demands of proclaiming the Kingdom of God take precedence. And the third, who wants to say farewell to his family, is reminded that once you put your hand to the plow you cannot look back or the furrow will be crooked. Such a person is not ready for the Kingdom of God.

Jesus seems harsh here, but he is only asking of his disciples what he asks of himself. Jesus’ unconditional commitment to God’s saving work will demand of him his life. He knows this, but the disciples do not understand. Jesus does not want anyone to rush into discipleship, because the demands of discipleship require everyone considering it to be aware of the cost, make Jesus and his mission central to his life, and then go forward without looking back. –

following jesus


KK cathedral parish holds mini-pax sequel

mini-pax 2 shc

KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here held a sequel to its mini-PAX on 25 June 2016, three months after the first gathering, at the parish centre.  Twenty-nine groups out of a total of over 70 responded to the call of its pastor for this sequel.

In the sequel, each of the groups/ministries – English, Chinese, BM – serving in the cathedral parish or the subparish of Church of Mary Immaculate – presented its discussions and sharings on five questions thrown to them at the first meeting.

It was clear that some groups/ministries have a clear sense of their own identity and objectives while others are not so clear.  So far none of the groups/ministries was able to present long term concrete plans on how to tackle the three pressing issues of Islamisation, secularisation and apathy.

Head of organising committee Dr Jeffrey Soon summarised the participation of the groups as one that seems to indicate that there is a “lack of the sense of belongingness” by the different groups/ministries.

In his closing remarks, parish priest Abp John Wong thanked the participants for their presence and service in the parish.  He recapitulated briefly the pastoral thrusts of the archdiocese that came out of the 2015 PAX Assembly.  He said their participation is a good sign of their journeying together as a parish family.  However, he pointed out that many of the groups/ministries lack the awareness of the looming sense of crisis indicated by the three critical issues.

The pastor also informed them that the next move is for the organising committee to compile their reports for analysis and review before sending them to the archdiocese.  The next gathering, he said, will be next year.

Regional SOCCOM meeting in KL bears fruit in form of five-point ‘Plan of Action’

rcsc 2016 report

KUALA LUMPUR: One of the fruits of the three-day Annual Meeting of the Regional Commission for Social Communications (RCSC) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, that concluded here on  23 June 2016 has come in the form of a five-point plan of action for the coming year.

The 11 representatives of social communications (SOCCOM) organisations from the Archdioceses of Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, the Vicariate of Brunei, and Dioceses of Penang, Malacca-Johor, Miri and Sandakan recommended for the implementation of the plans stated below:

  1. Media Literacy Education (MLE) for parents, catechists, youth and seminarians;
  2. Programmes to restore Christian values in families which are affected by worldly influences;
  3. To share resources among dioceses on digital materials, publications, video productions and positive stories;
  4. Upgrading contents of diocesan websites such as the inclusion of stories for children, church teachings and traditions.
  5. To have solid programmes aimed at strengthening marriages and the family institution, and firmly inculcating Christian values in young children.

These plans were conceived by RCSC delegates after studying the many issues of grave concern related to Christian family life in the region. They had earlier received valuable inputs from a number of invited speakers.

Fr Raymond Michael, a Capuchin priest, an experienced counsellor and adviser for intellectually-challenged children and their families, was among the speakers. His focus was on matters related to families arising from the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2015.

He said that the family, being the “domestic church,” is in reality weakening and that there are signs of its “fragile nature,”  adding that the culture of individualism has crept so much into our life.

Commenting on the present situation in the global scene, Fr Michael said the emergence of religious fanatics and fundamentalists bring instability and chaos, ending in misery and violence.

Another speaker, Raymund NC Jagan, a former civil servant with long experience in counselling and guidance for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, gave his views on the current situation of families in Malaysia.

He highlighted, among other matters, the dangers of computer games that have given rise to serious addictions and harm to children and the youth. At the same time, he recognised the need to maintain strong bonds within the family institution despite the many challenges.

There was also a panel discussion at which speakers gave their life experiences in bringing up their children in the light of widespread use of communication media.

The panel speakers were: a couple, Andrew and Andrene Teoh, who have four children; a young mother Fiona Biggs with a 9-year old daughter; and Frank Saing, present Secretary of RCSC, an Iban from Miri, Sarawak, with four children.

They shared their experience on how they managed to inculcate Christian values in their families in the face of the strong influence of media. One of the panelists said his approach in dealing with his children was not to impose but to inspire.

RCSC representatives, at a workshop session that followed, then reflected on how they, as Catholic communicators, could formulate plans and programmes that would address these pressing current needs of families.

Bishop Cornelius Sim from the Vicariate of Brunei, who is the President of the Regional Commission for Social Communications (RCSC) of the Conference, described the RCSC action plan for the coming years as “modest proposals.”

However, he told this writer at the close of the conference that he was happy to see that media practitioners in the region have come to a better understanding of the subject matters relating to how the media are influencing the family at this age and time.

“They, at the same time, have been able to come up with several modest proposals that they hope would increase awareness of the social media’s influence on the family,” he said.

“May our encounter and joint efforts these few days bear good fruit in the time to come,” he added. – Joseph Leong


RCSC members have fruitful encounter at annual meeting in KL


rcsc 2016a

KUALA LUMPUR – The three-day annual meeting of the Regional Commission for Social Communications (RCSC) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, (20-23 June 2016) ended with participants feeling they have had a fruitful encounter that would bear good fruit in time to come.

The meeting, held at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, was attended by a group of 11 representatives from the Archdioceses of Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching and the Dioceses of Brunei, Penang, Malacca-Johor, Miri and Sandakan.

Bishop Cornelius Sim from the Vicariate of Brunei, the President of the Regional Episcopal Commission for Social Communications (SOCCOM) of the Conference, was in attendance throughout the meeting.

Among other priests and religious present were Fr Robert Leong (Brunei), Fr Thomas Madanan (Kota Kinabalu), Fr Clarence Devadas (Kuala Lumpur) and Sr Rosalie Lojiu, from the Daughters of St Paul (fsp), the chairperson of RCSC and chief organiser of the meeting.

The theme for the meeting ‘Media, a Fruitful Encounter and its Influence in the Family’ became the focal point that guided the conference proceedings.

Archbishop Julian Leow who presided over the opening Mass on June 20, urged the RCSC delegates to ensure that their actions to build the family and society would radiate the tenderness of God.

He also expressed the hope that the media that they use would influence Catholic families to reflect the meekness and mercy of Jesus Christ.

Representatives from various dioceses in the region had the opportunity to present a report on the implementation of plans, programmes and activities in their respective dioceses in the past year. It was from these reports that they saw the need for the sharing of resources.

Due to the unexpected reassignment of Sr Rosalie fsp, from Kuala Lumpur to Manila by end of July 2016, there was a need to elect an interim chairman for the 2016-2017 term of office.

Fr Thomas Madanan, the Spiritual Advisor of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu SOCCOM was elected to fill the post. The vacant post of deputy chairman was filled by Clement Josos from the Malacca-Johor Diocese SOCCOM. Frank Saing will continue to serve as Secretary of RCSC.

When asked to comment on the outcome of the three-day RCSC meeting, Bishop Cornelius Sim said the message from Pope Francis for this year’s World Communications Day (WCD) provided very relevant material for the Commission’s sharing and planning this year.

He said the Pope’s focus on the family was providential, as social communications has had a major influence on this critical area of our society at this moment in history.

He expressed the hope that the RCSC encounter and joint efforts at its annual meeting in KL would bear good fruit in time to come.

Delegates who attended the RCSC meeting were: Dalius Lucius Lobinjang (Sandakan), Joseph Leong (Kota Kinabalu), Audrey Yu (Kuching), Frank Saing (Miri), Catherine Tan (Penang), Vincent Joseph (Penang) and Clement Josos (Malacca-Johor).

Also present at this year’s RCSC meeting were two representatives of SIGNIS Malaysia – Majella Gomes and Adeline James.

The meeting decided to invite SOCCOM of the Archdiocese of Kuching to host the RCSC annual meeting next year and the latest news is that they have accepted this proposal. The last time Kuching hosted such a meeting was in 2008.

Venues for the annual RCSC meeting in the last two years were, Penang in 2015 and Kota Kinabalu (Pace Bene) 2014. – Joseph Leong

Founder of PUSKAT Keningau dies at 84

bauerPENAMPANG – Mill Hill Missionary Father Georg Bauer, founder of PUSKAT Keningau in October 1966, died in Haus fur Senioren in Absam Germany. He was 84.

Born in 1932 in Gaindorf/Vilsbiburg (Bavaria), Georg was the son of Joseph and Maria Zehenbauer.  He had five brothers and seven sisters.  He did his secondary studies in the diocesan minor seminary at Straubing near Regensburg and his philosophy in Brixen.  He entered St Joseph’s College Mill Hill in September 1951.  He took his perpetual oath on 5 May 1954 and was ordained a missionary priest on 10 July 1955.  He celebrated his diamond jubilee in 2015.

Almost immediately after his ordination he was sent to Jesselton North Borneo (now Kota Kinabalu Sabah).  He was a pastoral priest with a great interest in the catechists.  In October 1966, Georg inaugurated a three-month catechetical course in PUSKAT Keningau with four participants: Stephen Titing (Tulid), Aloysius Angkabun (Pensiangan), Josue Kating (Keningau), and Blasius Gahim (Toboh Laut).  This course has been modified through the years but is still going strong under the Keningau Diocese.  He left Sabah in the 1970s.

From 1981 to 1983 he worked in the Diocese of St Louis in the North American Region.  In 1983 he was sent to Kenya where he served for ten years in the parish of Oriang.  In 1993 he was sent to the German Speaking Region but returned to Kenya in 1994.  Ill-health forced him to return to the German Speaking Region in 1996.  For the next twelve years he served the people of Pleiskirchen including the small parishes of Wald and Nonnberg in the Diocese of Passau.  In 2008 he retired to St Josefs Missionshaus in Absam.  He was admitted to the “Haus fur Senioren” in Absam in January 2015.  In the last three weeks his health deteriorated rapidly and he died peacefully on 15 June 2016 at 1:00 pm.  He was buried in Absam on June 18.


Tanjung Aru son to be ordained Redemptorist priest

lomangkokKOTA KINABALU – On August 1 another son of Stella Maris Parish, Tanjung Aru, will be ordained priest for the Redemptorist Order by Archbishop John Wong at 6:30 pm.

Born on 29 Nov 1977, Robin is the seventh child in a brood of five boys and five girls born to George Lomangkok Mojinung and the late Nonong Thakar Singh.  He had his primary education at Stella Maris Primary and secondary at Maktab Sabah Kota Kinabalu.  He held a diploma in Banking from UiTM Menggatal and BSc Business Administration major in Finance (Hon) from UiTM Shah Alam.

He worked for eight years before entering the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorist) in Singapore in 2008 and continued his formation in the Philippines in 2010.  He made his first profession on 27 May 2011 in his home parish of Stella Maris Tg Aru.  He took his final vows on 15 May 2015 in Singapore.

On women deacons

So what about the concept of female permanent deacons? Is this a viable idea? Many will say that it is not, based on the historical perspective outlined above.

However, the practice of the church has changed in many ways over the centuries. Times change, cultures change, circumstances change and the needs of the church change over time. It was the apostles who decided to ordain deacons to fulfill the needs of the church of the first century. Would it be possible for the bishops to decide to ordain women as permanent deacons to fulfill its needs today? If they do, they will certainly break from tradition, but the church has broken from tradition before.

Though the deacon is a part of Holy Orders, he is not a part of the ministerial priesthood, and he does not stand “in persona Christi,” as do priests and bishops. The deacon is instead ordained for service to the church under the direction of the bishop. He assists at Mass and preaches on occasion, he celebrates the sacrament of baptism, witnesses the sacrament of marriage, officiates at Christian funerals, leads other liturgies, teaches the faithful and performs works of charity.

The deacon is given certain sacramental graces, and the Holy Spirit works through him in a special way to affect the work of his ministry for the good of the people of God. Could the ordination of women to the permanent diaconate serve to enhance this ministry though the unique gifts that women can offer?

When I studied the philosophy of gender, I learned that men typically value and build things, while women value and build relationships. The church is all about relationships. The mission of the church is to help people everywhere develop and grow in an intimate loving relationship with God that spills out and over onto everyone they know and meet. Who better to nurture this relationship than women in the ministry of the permanent deacon?

This is a very intriguing and compelling question that the commission, the bishops and Pope Francis will hopefully consider in the months and years ahead. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide the bishops and Pope Francis for the ultimate good of souls. – Gregory Ollick, NCR

KK Archdiocese organises local jubilee for priests

kk clergy

KOTA KINABALU –  The clergy of the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese organised a local version of “Jubilee for Priests” in conjunction with the World Day of Sanctification for Priests (Sacred Heart of Jesus) on 2 June 2016 while the Jubilee for Priests in Rome was held  from June 1-3.

Twenty-seven priests joined  Abp John Wong and Abp Emeritus John Lee to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests with an evening Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral as part of the week-long parish feastday celebration.

Earlier the clergy held a half-day reflection as preparation to celebrate this day of sanctification at the parish centre.

Fr Rhobby Mojolou, who facilitated for the recollection, briefly introduced Pope John Paul II’s exhortation on the Formation of Priest in four areas: human, spiritual, academic, and pastoral; noting that the first two areas are the most important in the build-up of a priest.

Next Mojolou introduced two testimonies from priests entitled His Legitmate Duty is the Word of God and Prayer, and  Mercy and A Priest’s Examen for the Year of Mercy.

These articles were meant to help the priests to reflect that their ministry is first of all to proclaim the Word of God, and to celebrate the Sacraments especially the Sacrament of the Eucharist. As they return to  their primary roles, they will experience the mercy of God in their ministry firsthand.

As they experience that mercy of God they will in turn be more merciful to others.

Touching on the line in the pope’s prayer for the Jubilee of Mercy which reveals priests as God’s ministers who have their weaknesses and limitations, Mojolou explained,  “In your struggles you will always experience the mercy of God, and that’s what you share with others”.

Some of the questions given for reflection were: “If I had never been born, what difference would that make? if I were to stand before God tonight what would the Lord say about my life and my ministry? Have I been a priest for myself and not for Christ? Have I led a selfish life, serving only myself? Have I catered to popular opinion, not being faithful to my commitment to preach the truth? Have I used the priesthood for personal gain? Have I prayed as often as I ought? Is my life making a positive difference? If not, isn’t it time to get on with God’s programme for my life? Is this Holy Year not the time to recognise the rebel within each one of us and return to the Lord?”

After the group sharing, the recollection continued in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel where the priests spent the Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, and went to confession.  – Fr Rhobby Mojolou

SHC organises Mass for the Sick as part of its weeklong festive celebration

shc corporal works of mercyKOTA KINABALU  – Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here organised a Mass for the Sick as part of its weeklong celebration of its patronal feast day recently.

Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up!” (CCC, no. 1513).

Archbishop John Wong explained the meaning of the above prayer said during the Anointing of the Sick  to a good number of parishioners who turned up for the Mass for the Sick on 3 June 2016.

The Mass for the Sick was an initiative of the SHC parish to launch at parish level the corporal works of mercy in conjunction with the week-long celebration of the parish feast of the Sacred Heart from May 30-June 5.

The prelate said that many have expressed to him of being unsure of how to receive the Anointing of the Sick.

The prayer, he said, is indicative of the Lord’s desire to ‘free us from sin, save us, and raise us up’ and heal us from both our physical, and especially spiritual ailment.

Referring to the Gospel on the love of the Shepherd for his lost sheep, Abp Wong encouraged the faithful, whether sick physically or spiritually, to approach the Lord confidently “through Jesus, so as to find the Father’s love towards us is unconditional, full of mercy, and full of compassion.”

The Mass for the Sick was also seen as a response to Pope Francis’ call to “go out of ourselves and our comfort zones, to address the misery of others – those who are suffering spiritually, morally and materially.”

At other levels, individuals and groups have carried out corporal works of mercy of feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and the imprisoned, and burying the dead.

441 candidates receive Confirmation at SHC

shc confirmation

KOTA KINABALU  – Four hundred and forty-one candidates, the largest-ever recorded in the history of the Cathedral parish, were conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation by Archbishop John Wong at Sacred Heart Cathedral during the 4 pm Pentecost Mass on 15 May 2016.

The confirmands, with the exception of BM RCIA, were Sunday School students of age 16 and above, and have come from the three main language groups of English, Bahasa Melayu, and Chinese. This year also saw the inclusion of the Indonesian language group K3IKA, who sent 69 candidates.

Speaking not only to the confirmands but also to the congregation, comprising of godparents/sponsors, family members and well-wishers, the presider recalled the event of the first Pentecost “God reveals His Presence with loud noise and tongues of fire, and the infilling of the Holy spirit.”

Today, the prelate continued,  God continues to reveal Himself and uses signs to tell us that He is with us. God always opens our ears to hear His voice, opens our eyes to see His Presence, and opens our hearts to be filled by His Holy Spirit.

However, he added, Pentecost is not only about celebrating the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, but is also a celebration of the love and life of the Risen Lord which the Father wants to share with us.

In closing his reflection, he urged all, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit, love one another, love God especially.”

After Mass, all adjourned to the parish hall for a fellowship meal. The dinner also saw the neophytes being presented with their certificates of baptism by Archbishop Wong.

In a few words directed to the neophytes and confirmands, Archbishop Wong encouraged and reminded them to read the Word of God daily, to receive the Sacraments regularly, and to abide by the commandments of the Lord

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