Thought for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time C

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First Reading
Amos 6:1,4-7
God will judge the complacency of the people and their leaders.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 146:7-10
Happy are those who find solace in God, the help of the poor.

Second Reading
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Paul exhorts Timothy to stay faithful to God in all things.

Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31
Jesus tells the parable of the reversal of fortunes between the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus.

Background on the Gospel Reading

A major theme in the Gospel of Luke is the importance of the care of the poor in the life of discipleship. In the parable found in today’s Gospel, Jesus contrasts the life of a rich man and the poor man, Lazarus, who lives in the shadow of the rich man and his wealth. Both die. Lazarus finds himself in heaven; the rich man in the netherworld. The rich man asks for assistance from Lazarus in his torment. But Abraham reminds the rich man of the good things he had in his life and describes the current situation as a reversal of fortunes. The rich man then asks that Lazarus be sent to warn his family, but this is denied with the reminder that Moses and the prophets have warned of judgment for those who neglect the care of the poor.

In the context of Luke’s Gospel, this parable, delivered in the presence of a crowd of listeners, is part of Jesus’ response to some Pharisees. These Pharisees are described in Luke’s Gospel as “loving money.” (Note: The Pharisees were followers of a sect of Judaism active before, during, and after Jesus’ lifetime. They taught an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses as the basis for popular Jewish piety. They put less emphasis on Temple worship and more on applying the law to everyday life. Though they are often portrayed negatively in the Gospels, they shared many of Jesus’ and the early Church’s concerns about the law.) Jesus observed that the actions of some Pharisees betrayed misplaced priorities: they spoke one way, but acted in another. The story of the rich man and Lazarus demonstrates the importance of the care of the poor and is a reminder to those who would follow Jesus of the unimportance of wealth in the eyes of God.

(c) The Fitzwilliam Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) The Fitzwilliam Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Pope Francis invites us to “show mercy to our common home”

show-mercy-to-our-common-homeVATICAN CITY – On the heels of his groundbreaking encyclical, “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis has declared Sept 1 to be the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. To mark this second World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the pope has issued a message, “Show Mercy to Our Common Home,” as well as recorded a video.

In his message, the pope writes: “…human beings are deeply connected with all of creation. When we mistreat nature, we also mistreat human beings.” He also suggests: “So let me propose a complement to the two traditional sets of seven: may the works of mercy also include care for our common home.”

Click the link below for a full text.

Show Mercy to Our Common Home

 

 

Maktab Nasional top IGCSE achiever shares success tips

maktab-nasionalKOTA KINABALU – Maktab Nasional’s  top  International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) achiever shared tips on how she made it to the top.

Claire Yong Pei Yii, a Catholic, scored 5 A* (above A) plus 1 A. Yong, who is also Head Prefect of the school, is viewed by teachers and her peers as a model student.

In a recent interview with Catholic Sabah,  in the presence of her principal, Yong shared her road to ‘glory,’ with all its struggle and sacrifices, its joys and sorrows, in a bid to challenge her peers to emulate and even outdo her in what she has achieved so far.

Maktab Nasional Principal Alexander Funk explained that the Cambridge exam is something that the school offers as an additional enrichment programme, taught outside the regular timetable.

Yong recommended consistency in studying each day.  Whenever she had free time, she would polish what she was weak in.  She took part in sports and exercise which help her to focus better.  She relaxed by taking up hobbies and cut down on television.

Yong believed that it is through God’s grace that she was able to balance school activities (competition, SPM, Cambridge), “the wisdom of the Holy Spirit who guides me the way to study.”  She credited her family for having a set time for prayer, goes to church regularly.  She is involved in the school’s Christian fellowship and helps out in her parish’s Sunday School.

Her advice for SPM students: don’t give up, work hard, do our part, offer it to God and He will do the rest. Whatever result that we get, He would know that we have done our best. We must be able to accept also what God has put for us. I just do my best. One of the things that really help me is support from my teachers, family and friends.

Yong said she prefers to study alone but discusses  a lot with supportive friends.  She also said that “study should feel like a journey, a discovery to see the bigger picture and to know who we are… to see how God has created it so well. The whole process of building up and learning, to discover the world so big and so wonderful… there’s just so much to know.”

She intends to be a veterinarian as she loves animals.

 

 

First Sabahan Jesuit dies at 73

kim-sjPETALING jAYA – Father Peter Kim Se Mang, the first Jesuit from Sabah, died of a bleeding tumour in the lung on 23 Sept 2016.  He was 73.

This was posted on the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocesan Website.

Born on 14 Sept 1943 in Tawau, Kim was the youngest in a brood of three boys and two girls born to Kim Hock Chu (Kim Se Kong) and Marie Lim Sui Neo.  He had his primary education at Holy Trinity Tawau, secondary at St Mary Sandakan and Sabah College Kota Kinabalu.  He had a degree in agriculture from the Adelaide University Australia.

He entered the Society of Jesuit (SJ) on 14 Aug 1968 and was ordained priest on 10 Dec 1978 at St Francis Xavier Petaling Jaya.

He served as a pastor for that parish for six years  (1979 to 1985).  From the SFX parish website:

He became parish priest at a time when the [Peninsular] Church was calling for greater participation by the Lay.  A programme to renew the parish along these lines was initiated by Kim, making SFX the leading model for the building up of basic Christian community.

He walked, prayed, planned and grew with lay leaders from these communities.  He would visit homes and encourage BEC members to meet regularly in order to understand their role as the domestic church.  Under his care BECs flourished and more lay people became involved in parish activities.  The first Parish Assembly was conducted in which the Lay had a voice and parishioners began to understand the meaning of “We are the Church.”

After his term as pastor, he took his doctorate in sociology at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.  He also took up doctoral studies at the San Francisco Theological Seminary in Berkeley California.

In 1991 he wrote Parish Councils on Mission, Bernih Publishers KL.

He helped set up the Catholic Pastoral Centre in Taman Hiburan, Penampang in 1993 and was its director from 1993-1997.

On 21 Sept 2008 he became the superior of the Jesuits in Yangon Myanmar.  He taught pastoral theology at the St Joseph Catholic Major Seminary there as well as conducted various courses on spirituality.

He returned to Petaling Jaya recently and was a member of the Xavier Hall Community when he passed away suddenly on Friday.  His funeral will be on Tuesday Sept 27 at 10:30 am at SFX and will be buried at the Holy Family Catholic Cemetery Kajang.

KK Prelate designates Queenship of Mary as feast day of OLQP Kobusak

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DONTOZIDON – August 22 marked a memorable and day of rejoicing for the parish of St Paul here. In conjunction with the feast of the Queenship of Mary, and in the presence of the faithful, Archbishop John Wong crowned the icon of Our Lady Queen of Peace and designated the feast as the feast day of the sub-parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace Kobusak.

For the past four years since 2013, St Paul Dontozidon has been crowning the Blessed Virgin Mother and commemorating her Queenship with Triduum and Holy Mass, initiated by the Legion of Mary praesidium of Our Lady Queen of All Saints Dontozidon, in thanksgiving for the revival of the apostolate after a number of years of dormancy. Blessings continued with a newly formed praesidium of Our Lady of Grace in the sub-parish of St John the Baptist Kopungit and currently undergoing formalisation.

Appropriately in this Jubilee of Mercy, Abp Wong directed the faithful to a personal reflection and appreciation on the role of Mary in God’s plan of salvation and in bringing peace to the world, and seeking her intercession in the wake of the many challenges faced by the church.

The event began with the recitation of rosary in front of the church grotto in the presence of the  clergy, Kota Kinabalu Comitium, Praesidia of Our Lady Queen of All Saints Dontozidon, Our Lady of Grace Kopungit, and Our Lady of Sorrow Kg Kolopis, and 350 parishioners from St Paul Church Dontozidon, Our Lady Queen of Peace Kobusak and St John the Baptist Kopungit.

After the rosary, the congregation processed along the candle-lighted path paving the way for the Queen, followed by 20 neatly dressed girls and boys in white scattering rose petals along the way. In a solemn procession led by two candle bearers, the statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace, beautifully decorated with multi-coloured roses, was carried from the grotto to the entrance of the church by four bearers escorted by the altar servers, communion ministers, reader, concelebrants and the presider.

Inside the church, the congregation remained standing while witnessing the statue of Our Lady being brought to the designated area on the sanctuary. The commentator invited all present to kneel and the choir led the congregation in singing the hymn “Ave Maria, Ave Maria” while the presider stepped forward to receive the tiara of red roses from six-year old Marie Gracelle and placed the tiara onto the head of the Blessed Mother.  He then proceeded to celebrate  Mass.

The festivity ended with the congregation coming forward to place roses in vases placed in front of the crowned statue of the Our Lady Queen of Peace and enjoying the evening together in fellowship and solidarity. – Social & Publicity Com, St Paul Dontozidon  

Tawau FLM initiates seminar for married couples

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TAWAU – In conjunction with the Extraordinary Year of Mercy, the Family Life Ministry (FLM) of Holy Trinity Parish here initiated a meaningful seminar for all married couples, themed “Love and Forgiveness in Marriage” at the Parish Catechetical Hall on 12-14 Aug 2016. A total of 115 participants consisting of 54 couples and 7 singles attended the seminar.

The objectives of the seminar were: 1) To provide opportunities for couples to be more merciful to each other; 2) To create awareness among couples that without forgiveness and mercy in their relationship there will be no peace in the family, and 3) To encourage couples to live the culture of “forgiveness” and to practise it in their journey.

The seminar commenced with Fr Phillip Muji who, in his topic on “Vows of Marriage’ on the first evening, emphasised that the sanctity of marriage requires determination, perseverance, patience and the need to uphold the beauty of marriage. He said, “The relationship between husband and wife is a bond instituted by God himself. This institution should be protected, respected and valued so that everyone who is born of this institution becomes the ‘light’ to others. Hence, the couple too becomes the witness and symbol of Christ’s love for the Church. The Vows of Marriage enable a couple to respect, love and be compassionate to one another.”

The participating couples then renewed their marriage vows, followed by a special prayer by Fr Muji. As each couple recited the vows they declared and pledged when they first got married many years ago, it was a moment filled with grace and meaning.

The next day,  spiritual adviser for Family Life Ministry, Sr Liza Augustine touched on ‘Year of Mercy and Family,’ where she stressed that ‘Mercy is the key to happiness, peace and a way to strengthen the bond in the family, especially between husband and wife.”

She added, “Being compassionate and merciful can change a person to be more loving and more open to accept other people’s mistakes.”

Julita Kantod, through her topic ‘Love and Forgiveness in Marriage,’ highlighted that “The ability to forgive is an act of love that comes from a sincere heart… an internal action involving acceptance, sacrifice, humility and unconditional love.”

Further reflections on the fatherhood of St Joseph and motherhood of Mary prepared the couples for the activity of writing love letters to each other, which was followed by another reflection on the Holy Family of Nazareth as the model family for all families. The day concluded with testimonies from five couples on their marriages, and the participants reading their love letters from their spouses!

In the evening, reconciliation and consecration of the couples were carried out in front of the Cross of Jesus. During the reconciliation session, couples asked for forgiveness and were assured of being forgiven through the grace of God. In so doing, they were empowered to continue their journey as married couples in love and mercy.

The seminar concluded with an Agape Night, a fitting celebration of joy, love and peace, as well as thanksgiving to God for the renewal of their marriages, and for the inspirations received to strengthen them. – Julita Kantod

Sandakan cathedral parish celebrates feast day with missionary fervour

skan-parish-daySANDAKAN – Sandakan cathedral parish celebrated its feast day with missionary fervour.

The weekend of 13-14 Aug 2016 saw the entire parish of St Mary’s Cathedral here coming together as one to celebrate its 133rd anniversary on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with much fervour.

This year, in addition to the traditional celebration, the cathedral parish embarked on a ‘holy ambition’ to move the parish to rally to a common cause.

In response to a pastoral letter issued to all parishes in the diocese by Bishop Julius Gitom sometime in November last year to support the Paitan Mission financially, the cathedral parish, under the leadership of Bishop Julius himself, decided to hold a fundraising  bazaar in conjunction with the parish’s 133rd anniversary.

The task fell on John Pang, who took his team through a painstaking six-month long planning and laying of groundwork to realise the event as part of the celebration on the parish feast day.

The event was preceded by a nine-day novena which saw an encouraging turnout of parishioners.

The celebration began with an opening Mass on Saturday Aug 13 at the Chapel of St Mary’s Convent, which also marked the beginning of the Rosary Rally, a spiritual preparation for the event.

The Rosary Rally, a 12-hour recitation of the Holy Rosary by the various groups, communities and ministries in the parish, has been organised for four consecutive years. For this year, the non-stop recitation was conducted outdoors at the Rosary Corridor on the Marian Mount. Those who could not make it for the outdoors recited the rosary at the rosary tower or at the chapel of St Mary’s Convent.

The rally concluded with a recital of the Rosary at the compound of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, with the blessing of the statue of Mother Mary by the bishop. After the blessing, the Solemnity of the Assumption commenced with the crowning of Mother Mary,  followed by a procession to the cathedral. The Mass was celebrated outdoors at 6:00 pm.

In his homily, the bishop expressed his delight at the presence of the faithful.  He remarked that their faithful participation of the nine-day novena  has brought unity, solidarity and communion in the parish community. He encouraged them to continue to seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the parish’s Patroness, for the spiritual and physical development of the entire parish.

The bazaar was held on Sunday Aug 14.   Seventy stalls ranging from games to food were put up by the various church groups, communities and ministries. The bishop was seen mingling with the faithful and visiting the stalls, accompanied by PPC Chairman Pilis Malim, John Pang and other members of the organising team.

The bazaar was an opportunity for the entire parish to work closely together.  The event provided a favourable platform to strengthen the bond among the faithful.

The organising team was pleased to report that the bazaar was able to nett RM242,094, above its  target of RM200,000. – Adapted from DOSPO

ADHC official explains pastoral care for migrants in parishes

dom-limKOTA KINABALU: A local official explained what pastoral care for migrants has been taken in the parishes.

Dominic Lim, Coordinator of the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese Human Development Commission (AHDC) said in a recent interview with Catholic Sabah, being in a foreign land, migrants would need to be assisted in such process as there are socio-economic and cultural elements that could take time to adjust and adopted by both sides.

“Our local faithful too would need to be made aware of the stand of the Church towards migrants and how her social teachings could be lived out despite the negative biases and prejudices propagated by our society towards foreigners.

“Public opinion also needs to be correctly formed, not least to prevent unwarranted fears and speculations detrimental to migrants,” he said echoing the Pope’s message  for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) 2016.

Along with such concerns, Lim said the Human Development Commissions of the three dioceses in Sabah came together in February 2011 in Bundu Tuhan for the first AMOS programme which opened up debates and discussions about pastoral care for migrants in Sabah.

Subsequently,  AMOS-2 was organised in Keningau in 2013 and AMOS-3 is being scheduled next year in Sandakan.

This programme, inspired by Prophet Amos, is aimed to help participants in their prophetic mission in speaking up for the marginalised and vulnerable, among whom are migrants.

Meanwhile, he said, an effort to bring pastoral workers for migrant ministry from the Sending Church (Flores, Indonesia), Transit Church (Tanjong Selor), and Receiving Church (Sabah dioceses) has also been initiated.

The first Tripartite gathering was held in Tarakan (Indonesia) in 2011, followed by Tawau in 2012, Larantuka (Indonesia) in 2013, and Sandakan in 2015.

These gatherings were participated by bishops, clergy, religious and lay workers involved in migrant ministry, where they shared reports about the situations faced by migrants leaving their homeland and the challenges they faced while working in Sabah.

He said that exchanges of information have brought about closer understanding and collaboration among the churches in the region for pastoral care of migrants.

A Migrant Desk under the purview of the AHDC  was established in February 2014. Another concrete action was in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between KK Archdiocese and Larantuka Diocese in Flores in October 2014 to improve the existing pastoral care to migrants.

Though efforts have been made for greater awareness, collaboration and networking at the diocesan level towards pastoral care for migrants, parish communities have not been left out too.

Through seminars on Catholic Social Teachings, more and more faithful are beginning to appreciate the need to respond to the plights of our migrant brothers and sisters, he said.

“The works of religious congregations too have helped many parishioners to see migrant ministry as part and parcel of the church mission.

“However, to concretise the integration and acceptance process, pastoral structures should be in place where migrants can take up responsibilities to help build the local Church. Some parishes have set up committees (such as Filipino Pastoral Committee and Komiti Keluarga Katolik Indonesia) for them to channel their concerns and struggles,” he said while adding that the education of migrant children needs to be looked into as well.

Pope Francis said, “Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s resources which are meant to be equitably shared by all” (2016 WDMR message).

In response to the Gospel of Mercy, EMI President Bishop Bernard Paul said that we should still ask ourselves “Who is my neighbour?” and call all parishes to “share ourselves and our Samaritan response to these new neighbours in our midst!”

The experience of God and Silence affirms my calling

mary-alberta-pkarmSr Mary Alberta made her final profession as a Putri Karmel Sister on 16 July 2016 at Kaingaran.  Below is her story.

The longing to be with God in prayer and silence has been in my spirit since I was a child, although at that time I haven’t thought about being a religious.

I expressed my longing to be a religious when I was 12 years old. I saw the Sisters serving in our parish and my heart said, ‘I want to be just like them.’ This longing was further strengthened when I joined the Life in the Spirit Retreat in my parish, organised by the Putri Karmel Sisters and CSE Brothers.

In the retreat, I was touched by the prayers held throughout the days. After the retreat, I wanted to know more about prayers and faith. One of the Sisters suggested that I should come down to Carmel[Kaingaran] myself and join other retreats. So I did.

In 2005, I stepped into the Putri Karmel Monastery for the first time and joined the youth camp themed, ‘You are precious in My eyes.’ The experience of God and the silence in this place affirmed my calling. I was confident that this was my calling. I joined the Vocation Retreat in Putri Karmel in 2006 and was given a chance to see the place further. I discerned for two years and finally in 2007, I took the courage to say ‘Yes’ to God.

I was accepted as a postulant at Putri Karmel on 28 April 2007. On 15 July 2008, I received my religious habit and entered the novitiate. During my second year novitiate, I was privileged to be sent to Indonesia, with others, for formation for six months.

With God’s grace and strength, I made my first profession on 16 July 2010. Since then, I have experienced the faithful presence of God. By God’s grace, I made my perpetual profession on 16 July 2016.

With this, a new chapter of my life has begun. My ‘Yes’ does not stop here as I continue to say ‘Yes’ every day until I breathe my last. In all this, I surrender myself to God because I believe He is working in everything to bring goodness to those who love Him (cf Rom 8:28).

Local thoughts on new saint Mother Teresa

paul-loFr Paul Lo: I came to know Mother Teresa of Calcutta through a book titled “Let the high wall fall down” by a Taiwanese Professor Li Jia Tong. Mother Teresa was truly a saint even when she was still alive, because of her exemplary service to the poorest of the poor on the streets of the crowded Indian city. No one can give his or her life like the way Mother Teresa did unless he or she was graced by God. Personally, her words help me a lot to be a pastor, “We are called not to be successful, but to be faithful.”

Br Peter Foo fsc: When I look at Mother Teresa and what she did, she challenges all religious to relook at their ministries and evaluate them in the light of the realities today. As religious we can be in our comfort zone and not be able to see how the Spirit moves us to new ways of serving him today. It is not easy both for the religious as well as for the order to update and evaluate our ministries. Mother Teresa shows us that it is possible provided we dare to make the move.

teresa-albertoTeresa Alberto:  She is an inspiration. Her life, her words, her faith. How she trusts God fully. How she has a special relationship with God. How she devotes her life to God. To be aware of such a saintly being living during my time, and to know that God is so real, and with HIM all is possible…makes my life even more meaningful!

joe-leongJoseph Leong: I had always looked up to Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II as living saints while they were alive. Their ways of life inspired me tremendously and helped me see things in a totally different light. For instance, by human logic, it is quite pointless to worry and give too much care and attention to the dying. Yet, she opened a Home for the Dying, allowing those near death to spend their last days with dignity and surrounded by compassion. Moreover, she showed such love without any distinction on race or religion, allowing those who followed other faiths to receive burial rites and rituals appropriate to their beliefs. I learnt from her that love transcends all barriers.

Jason Joenoi: Reflecting on the life of Mother Teresa, she truly lived her calling, true to Jesus’ desire for His followers, to serve the poor, the destitute, the sick and the homeless, with a big heart despite the hardship and challenges, never giving up. She is a real modern day saint of the poor, sick, homeless and the destitute. She inspires me to give my all!

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