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

Over 300 catechists receive awards for their service

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KOTA KINABALU – Over 300 catechists received certificates of appreciation for their service in Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese at the Jubilee for Catechists on 24 Sept 2016 at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here.

The event, organised by the Catechetical Commission, was held in conjunction with the Extraordinary Year of Mercy.

Some 1,200 participants including the organisers took part in the various programmes featured.

After the speeches by organising head Sr Dariah Ajap, Spiritual Adviser Fr Nicholas Stephen and Archbishop John Wong, the prelate opened the Jubilee of Mercy for Catechists.

The prelate proceeded to present the certificates to 327 catechists who have served 15 years and above, the longest being 41 years: Maria Sainim Rongkom of Kota Belud and Julian Matinggu Siong of Kiulu.

After a short break, Fr Nicholas presented a catechesis on the theme The Merciful Gaze of Jesus, followed by group sharing based on the theme and the pastoral message of Abp Wong.

Two participants, Rebecca Chew of Kota Kinabalu  and Felicia Mojilon of Labuan, shared their experiences in handing on the faith to the younger generations.

Later, time was given to all the participants to contemplate mercy by reflecting on Caravaggio’s painting on the Calling of St Matthew.

After lunch, the participants prepared themselves to enter the Door of Mercy at the Sacred Heart Cathedral followed by Mass presided by Abp Wong, concelebrated with Frs Nicholas Stephen, Joshua Liew, Johnny Raju, Rayner Bisius and Mitchelly Kiun.

The event ended with stage presentations by the participants at the parish centre.

More youth share their WYD experiences

timothyTimothy Fong, KK Archdiocese: In his closing Mass homily, Pope Francis mentioned something which struck me.  He said “In his eyes the clothes you wear or the kind of cell phone you use are of absolutely no concern. He doesn’t care whether you are stylish or not; he cares about you! In his eyes, you are precious, and your value is inestimable…People may laugh at you because you believe in the gentle and unassuming power of mercy. But do not be afraid.”  This was my first WYD…meeting Pope Francis in the flesh was amazing which words could not describe.  Polish hospitality reminded me of Sabahans’ generous smile and love.

 graceGrace Chin, KK Archdiocese: Our Lord taught us “Love one another as I have loved you” but to what extent can we practise this? Yes, we will love our dear ones but is it possible for us to show love to a stranger? Will we share our room and food with them? And yet I have experienced all this  in Poland. I was very blessed to have stayed with two lovely families (in Bulowice and Krakow), together with another foster sister from Malaysia. The love, warmth and kindness that I have received were truly amazing. I never felt I was far from home as they treated us like their own children. Every day they prepared food for us no matter what the time was (early in the morning or late at night), and we would sit together, chit-chatting and sharing our experience and culture.  When we got back home late at night, they would always welcome us with a big smile and hugs, even though they were tired and exhausted from their work. From this WYD, I experienced lots of joy, fun, friendship and tears as well, but most of all the love and mercy of God.

 shaneShane Lumau, Keningau Diocese: On the 1st day of WYD, the Malaysian contingent was assigned to lead the Adoration at 9:00 pm at St Mary Basilica. We prayed the Divine Mercy in Malay. It felt like home to be able to pray in our own language in this foreign city. Since it is a Year of Mercy, we were able to visit the Sanctuary of St John Paul II and Divine Mercy Sanctuary.  We visited St Faustina’s tomb and viewed the miraculous painting of the merciful Jesus. My heart leapt with joy to receive this blessing during the Year of Mercy. The message by Pope Francis ‘Young people, do not retire young!’ struck me  even before coming to Poland. I felt so tired and drained after SYD-4 and thought of quitting from active service in the Youth Commission of Keningau Diocese. But many things that I have witnessed during WYD have given me new energy to continue my service for the glory of the Lord!

 aaronAaron Matanjun, KK: It was a blessing to be in the homeland of St John Paul II and St Faustina Kowalska. The pilgrimages to the holy sites in Kraków and the vigil with the Holy Father Pope Francis impacted me the most. These places have shown me how  Pope John Paul II and Faustina Kowalska devoted their lives entirely to Jesus and God regardless of the obstacles and situations faced. It was here I was inspired to be a more devoted practising Catholic especially during these perilous and challenging times.  In his speech at the vigil, Pope Francis said,  “Take each other’s hand. This is a great bridge of brotherhood.” Everyone held each other’s hands. It told me that all of us must be united if we want to make changes and have a brighter future for Catholic youths.

fatimaFatima, KL Archdiocese: I had not planned to go to WYD 2016 as I did not see the need for it. But Divine Providence paved a way for me to be at Kraków and took care of every detail that I was worried about. Being able to venerate the relics of a few great saints, including one of my favourites, St John Paul the Great, to visit his hometown, to walk the streets that he walked, and to be hosted by his own people were among my personal highlights. The Polish taught me a lot about hospitality, generosity and simplicity.  The Iraqi Catholics, who made it to Poland and shared their story, taught me about true faith. Joining the Eucharistic procession and Adoration with 18,000 Catholics led by Bishop Robert Barron was remarkable. Keeping vigil and participating at Mass with millions of Catholics celebrated by the Holy Father was truly edifying. From the outset, WYD Kraków 2016 has been a journey of growing in trust in God for me, and very aptly the famous prayer from the land of mercy is “Jesus, I trust in You.” There truly is no reason for me not to.

Youth share views on serving as working and studying youth

KOTA KINABALU – In a meeting on 24 July 2016, Efata Youth Ministry [BM Sacred Heart] raised up an important issue that is lingering amongst youths today. ‘How do you serve when you yourself are working or studying?’

According to Mariana Sinam, this has always been a drawback from serving the Church. But is it true that it is a stumbling block? She shared some views given by three working and studying youths of the ministry.

 christyAll good things come from God 
Some people said to me, “What do you get from serving? Working gives you money, but serving?” But I believe all good things come from God. Serving helps me to relax my work stress each time I serve or attend a session. Whatever problems that I have, I surrender them into God’s hands. Serving also helps me to be grateful for the gift of life. We, as youth, are the light of the world. If we spend our time on worldly things, who is going to build the Kingdom of God? We are soldiers of Christ, called to serve the lost sheep who do not know Him. Through serving, my empty heart is filled full by Jesus. – Christy Revalina Amat, 25, chef at Fook Lu Siew

aquinasBoth studying and serving go together to build character 
Both studying and serving go together to build one’s character towards goodness. There should be no conflict between them. Studying helps the mind to develop while serving helps our faith to flourish. – Aquinas Simon, 22, UiTM student

 

jordanI am here to serve not to be served 
My journey with the Lord can be summarised with His words, “He is the one you praise; he is
Your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes” 
(Deut 10:21). We need to respond to the love of God and to know our calling. We are just temporary residents of earth, so let’s do the work God has set for each one. – Jorden Siew, 20, shirt designer

 

Limbanak organises second youth camp

youth-campPENAMPANG – Saint Aloysius Limbanak youth ministry organised their second  St Aloysius Youth Camp (SAYC-2) on 6-7 Aug 2016 at the church premises here on the theme Culture of Mercy Foundation of Faith.

In line with the Jubilee Year of Mercy, SAYC-2 highlighted the themes of mercy and peace. The participants were briefed on the development of the Catholic Church in Sabah, as well as the history and significance of the church’s patron saint, St Aloysius Gonzaga.

The camp was also a follow-up activity to the 4th Sabah Youth Day in Tawau in June. Among the activities was the Gallery Walk, an idea taken from SYD-4 itself. The Gallery Walk, consisting of several galleries that provide information on various topics such as history of the Catholic Church in Sabah, also incorporated the element of Mercy in each of the galleries.

Besides that, Dominic Lim from Archdiocesan Human Development was invited to give a catechesis on each topic of the galleries after listening to the sharings of the participants.

Another activity was Peace Night where all participants, including the organisers, were led to understand and appreciate the meaning of God’s Mercy which is poured out on all people. This was followed by an interactive session of ‘asking for forgiveness’ so as to receive ‘peace’ to start a new journey for themselves. – Wilson Stephen, Documentation team

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

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