Reflection for 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

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First Reading
Proverbs 31:10-13,19-20,30-31
The virtues of a good wife are extolled.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 128:1-2,3,4-5
Blessed are those who walk in God’s ways.

Second Reading
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Paul warns the Thessalonians to stay alert because the day of the Lord cannot be predicted.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 25:14-30
Jesus tells the parable of the talents, in which he teaches about the importance of using the gifts that God has given to us in service to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This week’s Gospel speaks of how Jesus’ disciples are to conduct themselves as they await the Kingdom of Heaven. In the preceding passages and in last week’s Gospel, Jesus taught that there is no way to predict the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. His disciples must, therefore, remain vigilant and ready to receive the Son of Man at any time.

Jesus’ parable talks about Christian discipleship using economic metaphors. Before he leaves on a journey, the master entrusts to his servants a different number of talents, giving to each according to their abilities. A talent is a coin of great value. Upon the master’s return, he finds that the first and second servants have doubled their money, and both are rewarded. The third servant, however, has only preserved what was given to him because he was afraid to lose the money. He has risked nothing; he did not even deposit the money in a bank to earn interest. This servant is punished by the master, and his talent is given to the one who brought the greatest return.

Read in light of last week’s parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids, this parable teaches that God’s judgment will be based on the service we render to God and to one another in accordance with the gifts that God has given to us. Our gifts, or talents, are given to us for the service of others. If we fail to use these gifts, God’s judgment on us will be severe. On the other hand, if we make use of these gifts in service to the Kingdom of Heaven, we will be rewarded and entrusted with even more responsibilities.

This Gospel reminds us that Christian spirituality is not passive or inactive. Our life of prayer helps us to discern the gifts that have been given to us by God. This prayer and discernment ought to lead us to use our gifts in the service of God and our neighbour. God’s grace allows us to share in the work of serving the Kingdom of Heaven. – loyolapress.com

 

Pope Francis’ 2017 Intentions

November 2017

Christians in Asia

That Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed, may promote dialogue, peace, and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions.

Liturgical Feasts / Anniversaries /Observances

Nov 01: All Saints Day  (Day of Obligation) 

Nov 02: All Souls Day (commemoration)

Nov 03: St Martin de Porres

Nov 04: St Charles Borromeo

Nov 05: 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time A

 Nov 09: Dedication of St John Lateran

Nov 10: St Leo the Great

Nov 11: St Martin of Tours

Nov 12: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Nov 15: St Albert the Great

Nov 16: Sts Margaret of Scotland & Gertrude / 32nd death anniversary of Bp Simon Fung

Nov 17: St Elizabeth of Hungary

Nov 18: Dedication of Sts Peter & Paul

Nov 19: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time A / World Day of the Poor (2017)

Nov 21: Presentation of Mary

Nov 22: St Cecilia

Nov 23: Sts Clement I & Columban

Nov 24: St Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions

Nov 25: St Catherine of Alexandria

Nov 26: Christ the King / 36th Dedication Anniversary of Sacred Heart Cathedral

Nov 28: St Catherine Laboure

Nov 30: St Andrew, Apostle

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.

New Order of Celebrating Marriage comes into effect Dec 3

JOHOR BAHRU – The Episcopal Regional Liturgy Commission, at the service of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei (CBCMSB) has produced the new English translation of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony according to the Second Typical Edition 2013, of which, recognitio was granted by the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. (Prot 491/14 29 May 2015).

Our Conference, at its January 2017 meeting, has decided that this English translation will enter into use throughout all Arch/dioceses in our region from 3 December 2017 (1st Sunday of Advent). From that date forward, no other English translation of the order of celebrating matrimony may be used.- herald malaysia

East Malaysian Christian leaders decline Islamic council’s offer to translate Bible

A King James Bible from the year 1617 is on display in the newly built Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, USA. In Malaysia, an Islamic authority’s offer to prepare a Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible has outraged Christians, who hold the book to be the word of God. – EPA pic, 17 November 2017.

KUALA LUMPUR – A resounding “no.”

This was the response of Christian leaders in Sabah and Sarawak to the Selangor Islamic Religious Council’s (Mais) suggestion that Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) produce “an official Malay translation” of the Bible to correct the allegedly erroneous use of the word  “Allah” in the text, the Malaysian Insight posted on its news portal on 17 Nov 2017.

Mais lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla made the suggestion at the hearing of the suit brought by Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill against the Home Minister and government to uphold her constitutional right to use the word “Allah” in Christian publications.

Haniff claimed that the Christian community in Sabah and Sarawak had wrongly used “Allah” to mean God in Bahasa Malaysia, arguing that they should instead use “Tuhan” and that this would not deprive them of their rights.

Sabah Council of Churches president Bishop Melter Jiki Tais found Haniff’s statement “very insulting” to Christians.

“We are indeed very much offended by his statement and demand an apology from him.  Let it be known to Mohamed Khatri Abdulla that his suggestion that Dewan Bahasa can prepare a Bahasa Malaysia Bible reflects his ignorance of theology and the true and proper interpretation of the original language of the Bible.  Let it also be known to him that we, the Christian community in Sabah, do not and will not accept any Bahasa Malaysia Bible prepared by Dewan Bahasa,” the bishop told The Malaysian Insight in a text message.

He added that as far as the Christians are concerned, no individual or party should dictate to them how they should express their faith in any language.

“We will continue to use the term ‘Allah’ for God verbally or in written form,” he added.

Mais is assisting the court in understanding the meaning and context of the word “Allah” in Islam.

Haniff had told the High Court that the government was also interested in allowing the publication of a Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible.

He had said that Dewan Bahasa would prepare the translation, to be approved by the Christian community, for the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, if the government approved the publication.

“We would then not have this issue for generations to come,” Haniff had said.

His statement also evoked a strong response from Sarawak Christian leaders.

Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Sarawak elder Liwan Lagang said the Bible was the word of God to the Christians, and therefore, it is not right for anyone to change the words or the meaning of the Bible. which the Christians held to be the truth.

“That is why we have a panel of experts, the elders, our own pastors doing the translation,” said Liwan, who is also the Sarawak Assistant Minister of Water Supply.

SIB is one of the churches in Sarawak that uses the Malay language Bible.

“No. We don’t need Mais to teach us our beliefs. Definitely not.  We don’t interfere in their (religious) affairs and definitely we don’t want that to happen to us. No religion should dictate their belief to another religion,” Liwan added.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing asked if Mais or DBP understood the essence of Christianity.

“I have a PhD. I have many books on Islam and I have read all of them. Does that make me qualified to write what Islam should be? But more importantly, would they agree? Would they allow it?  I don’t think so. Neither would Mais. They may have people with PhDs and whatnot in religion but they are not qualified to rewrite the Bible,” Masing said.

Masing said it would be “the greatest mockery this country will ever make” if Mais was given the authority to translate the Bible.

Masing also brushed off Haniff’s claim that Christians in the two Borneo states had wrongly used “Allah” for God, saying it was polemics.

“So who gave them (Muslims in Malaysia) the right to be the only people who can use the word Allah.  The Arabs do not worry about it. Why should Muslims in Malaysia worry about it?” Masing said.

He said it was highly unfortunate that Malaysia allowed such polemics, which had created animosity between Muslims and Christians.

PKR Sarawak chief Baru Bian was also adamant that the Dewan Bahasa has no business translating the Bible.

“That’s fundamental. Those who translated our Bible were scholars,” said Baru, formerly an SIB church elder.

The Ba Kelalan assemblyman said there should be no dispute over Christian usage of Allah because the word predated Islam.

Deputy Chief Minister 1 Douglas Uggah tersely brushed aside questions on the matter, calling the argument over who could and could not use the word Allah a “non issue.”

“Don’t create an issue,” Uggah, who also chairs the state government’s Unit for Other Religion (Unifor) said.

He said in Sarawak, religious and racial harmony are strong and people should preserve them.

Education, Science and Technological Research Minister, Michael Manyin, however, is unperturbed by the events in court over in the peninsula.

“It is not going to affect us. We can still use the word here.  Sometimes I say ‘insyallah’ in my speeches and it offends no one,” Manyin said. – the malaysian insight

Pope addresses end-of-life issues

 

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis addressed end-of-life issues in his letter to the participants of a World Medical Association meeting on 16 Nov 2017.

“The anguish associated with conditions that bring us to the threshold of human mortality, and the difficulty of the decision we have to make, may tempt us to step back from the patient.  Yet this is where, more than anything else, we are called to show love and closeness, recognising the limit that we all share and showing our solidarity,” he said to the delegates of the European Regional Meeting.

In his message, the pope called for “greater wisdom” in striking a balance between medical efforts to prolong life, and the responsible decision to withhold treatment when death becomes inevitable.

“It is clear that not adopting, or else suspending, disproportionate measures, means avoiding overzealous treatment,” the pope said. “From an ethical standpoint, it is completely different from euthanasia, which is always wrong, in that the intent of euthanasia is to end life and cause death.”

Pope Francis acknowledged that it is often difficult to determine the proper course of action in increasingly complex cases.

“There needs to be a careful discernment of the moral object, the attending circumstances, and the intentions of those involved,” he said, pointing to the traditional criteria of moral theology for evaluating human actions. But in this process, he insisted “the patient has the primary role.”

The pontiff also raised the issue of “a systemic tendency toward growing inequality in health care,” both globally – especially between different continents – and within individual, especially wealthy countries, where options for health care often depend more on “economic resources,” than the “actual need for treatment.”

It is important, Pope Francis said, to find agreed solutions to “these sensitive issues.” He emphasised the need to recognise different worldviews and ethical systems, but also noted the duty of the state to protect the dignity of every human person, especially the most vulnerable. – vatican radio

Advent Penitential Service with Sacramental Confession

Date Church Time
Mon Dec 04 St Paul Dontozidon

Holy Family Telipok

6:30 pm

7:30 pm

Tue Dec 05 St Augustine Kinarut

St Joseph Kiulu

6:30 pm

6:30 pm

Wed Dec 06 St Thomas Kepayan

Good Shepherd Manggatal

6:30 pm

7:30 pm

Thu Dec 07 St Aloysius Limbanak

St Philip Tamparuli

6:30 pm

6:30 pm

Mon Dec 11 Holy Trinity Inobong

Divine Mercy KKIP

6:30 pm

7:30 pm

Tue Dec 12 Holy Rosary Limbabau

St Simon Likas

6:30 pm

7:30 pm

Wed Dec 13 St John Tuaran 6:30 pm
Thu  Dec 14 Stella Maris Tg Aru 6:30 pm
Fri Dec 15 St Joseph Papar 6:30 pm
Mon Dec 18 St Michael Penampang 6:30 pm
Tue Dec 19 Holy Nativity Terawi 6:30 pm
Wed Dec 20 St Catherine Inanam 7:00 pm
Thu Dec 21 Sacred Heart Cathedral 6:30 pm
Fri Dec 22 Sacred Heart Cathedral 6:30 pm

 

Individual Confession 8:30 am – 10:00 am

Mon Dec 18 St Paul Dontozidon
Tue Dec 19 Our Lady Queen of Peace Kobusak
Wed Dec 20 Sacred Heart Cathedral

(senior parishioners & parents with infants)

Thu Dec 21 Sacred Heart Cathedral
Fri Dec 22 Sacred Heart Cathedral

Mass is a time for silence and prayer, not idle chitchat, pope says

Pope Francis looks on during his general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 15 Nov 2017. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY – Mass is the highest form of prayer and not an appropriate moment for small talk, Pope Francis said.

At church, Catholics should spend their time in silence before Mass, preparing “to meet with Jesus” instead of engaging in “chitchat,” the pope said on 15 Nov 2017 during his weekly general audience.

“Silence is so important,” he said. “Remember what I told you last time: we are not going to a show. Silence prepares us and accompanies us.”

The pope continued his new series of audience talks on the Mass, reflecting on the Eucharist as a form of prayer that is “the highest, the most sublime and, at the same time, the most concrete” way of encountering God’s love.

“This is the greatest grace: to experience that the Eucharist is the privileged moment to be with Jesus and, through him, with God and with our brothers and sisters,” the pope said.

In the Gospels, he continued, Jesus teaches his disciples that the first thing needed to pray “is to know how to say ‘father'” and to trust in God with the humility of a child.

Christians also must allow themselves to be “surprised by the living encounter with the Lord,” he said, and not simply “talk to God like a parrot,” repeating the words of prayers without thinking.

“The encounter with God is a living encounter,” the pope said departing from his prepared remarks. “It is not an encounter of a museum, it is a living encounter. And we go to Mass, not a museum! We go to a living encounter with the Lord.”

Pope Francis said the Mass is also a gift and a consolation where Christians discover that God’s greatest surprise is that he “loves us even in our weakness.”

“The Lord encounters our frailty,” the pope said. “This is the environment of the Eucharist. This is prayer.” – CNS

SHCWL coordinator calls for fresh blood to join the ministry

Maureen Lee presents the wine to Abp Wong at Mass, SHC chapel, 15 Nov 2017. The Sacred Heart Catholic Women’s League marks its 46th anniversary.

BUKIT PADANG – The coordinator of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) of Sacred Heart Cathedral Kota Kinabalu called for fresh blood to join the ministry at its 46th anniversary dinner on 15 Nov 2017.

“There is so much to do to help the parish and the church through the Catholic Women’s League and we really need more than just 150 members to help us.  With more hands we can do more and work will be lighter,” Anita Tunggolou said in her welcoming speech.

The CWL was formed on 16 Nov 1971 with seven members and currently, it has over 130 active members.

The dinner took place at the Putera Ballroom Bukit Padang with over 800 diners including Archbishop John Wong, Archbishop Emeritus John Lee, Msgr Primus Jouil, Father Max Hontor, Father Joshua Liew,  religious sisters, aspirants and Initiation Year (IY) seminarians.

In his speech, Abp Wong warned the diners not to be trapped by  the current “instant-maggie mentality.”  He was referring to the four years it took for the CWL to spread from Stella Maris Tanjung Aru (1967) to then Sacred Heart Church (1971).

He said it “was not slow” but “wise” because the “Spirit has His own timing.”

“Our task is to focus on watering and cultivating, to make sure that the roots are not dried up and the shoots are not infested.  Listen to the Word of God and put it into practice, and the group will stay longer,” the prelate concluded.

As in the past, the coordinator gave a summary of the activities carried out by the CWL members in the past year – from cooking to works of mercy.

She presented a mock cheque of RM70,000.00 to Abp Wong for the seminarians’ fund (same as last year’s) and several tokens of appreciation to all those who were involved in the CWL in one way or another.

The dinner was interspersed with lively stage entertainment by choral or solo singing as well as lucky draws.

Earlier, some CWL members and their spouses, religious sisters, aspirants and  IY seminarians attended the Thanksgiving Mass presided by Abp Wong and concelebrated with Fr Liew at the cathedral chapel.

In a brief address after the Mass, the prelate expressed his gratitude to the CWL for the services they have rendered to the parish for 46 years and hoped they will continue to do so in the future.

Pope discusses priestly formation with dicastery heads

VATICAN CITY –  Vocations, formation in the seminaries and permanent training of the clergy were discussed on 13 November 2017 in the Bologna Hall of the Apostolic Palace, where Pope Francis presided over a meeting of the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

It was the so-called “interdicasterial” meeting, which takes place at least twice a year, with cardinals, bishops and prelates at the head of Congregations and Pontifical Councils.

The meeting discussed the formation of new priests according to the Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis, a document published by the Congregation of the Clergy in December 2016.

The document takes into account the papal magisterium and insists on the importance of integral human formation, and not only academic formation.

It emphasises the goal of becoming “missionary disciples and pastors” in the three phases of vocational pastoral work, formation of seminarians and permanent training for priests.

Discipleship and mission concern all baptised people while being pastors is specific to the priesthood.

It highlights the importance of integral human formation including affective formation so as to form shepherds capable of living among the people and sharing their expectations, joys and wounds.

The document, in the wake of Francis’ Magisterium – and in particular of the great responsibility that the exhortation Amoris laetitia brings upon the shoulders of priests, especially in accompanying the increasingly frequent difficult marriage situations – insists on the importance of discernment and formation for discernment.

In fact, there is a lack of adequate preparation for this accompaniment to married persons and the formators of future priests must verify whether seminarians are able to assume these responsibilities, as they require commitment, sharing and the ability to identify themselves in situations that are always different from one another.

Paragraph 120 of the document discussed by the Pope with his collaborators reads, “The call to be pastors of the people of God requires a formation that makes future priests experts in the art of pastoral discernment, that is to say, able to listen deeply to real situations and capable of good judgment in making choices and decisions. To make pastoral discernment effective, the evangelical style of listening must take central place. This frees the pastor from the temptation of abstraction, to self-promotion, to excessive self-assurances and to that aloofness that would make him a ’spiritual accountant’ instead of a good Samaritan.” – vaticaninsider

In Manila ASEAN commits itself to protecting migrant workers

(L to R) Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith join hands as they pose for a “family photo” during the opening cermeony at Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ summit in Manila on 29 April  2017.  AFP PHOTO / POOL / Mark R. CRISTINO

MANILA – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is committed to protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers in the region.

The leaders of the ten-member association meeting in Manila for its 31st Summit on 13-14 Nov 2017 signed the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

The deal calls for the fair treatment of migrant workers, granting visitation rights to family members, and a ban on seizing passports.

Other provisions include prohibiting overcharging on placement and recruitment fees, regulating recruiters, and respecting workers’ right to fair salary and benefits, as well as the right to join trade unions and organisations.

For Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the Commission on Migrants on Itinerant People of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the agreement is a “caring and helpful” initiative by ASEAN leaders. It shows “their concern and compassion for the plight of our migrant workers,” Santos said.

With a common and unified stand of the ASEAN leaders, the rights and privileges of all migrant workers will be “protected, promoted and respected”. Indeed, “Their decision is the best and very beneficial to all migrant workers regardless of their nationalities,” he added.

The Government of the Philippines earlier said that the signing of the deal was the “centrepiece” of its chairmanship of the ten-nation bloc.

Acting Filipino Foreign Affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said one of the key features of the agreement is for the host country to afford the same level of protection to migrant workers as they do to their own citizens.

Intra-regional migration in ASEAN has increased significantly between 1995 and 2015, turning Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand into regional migration hubs with 6.5 million migrants – 96 per cent of the total number of migrant workers in ASEAN, this according to a World Bank report, entitled Migrating to Opportunity.

Approximately US$ 62 billion in remittances were sent to ASEAN countries in 2015. Remittances account for 10 per cent of GDP in the Philippines, 7 per cent in Vietnam, 5 per cent in Myanmar, and 3 per cent in Cambodia. – asianews.it

Vatican announces initiatives for first World Day of the Poor

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican has announced on Tuesday that it will have several initiatives to mark the first Day of the Poor here on 19 Nov 2017.

Pope Francis has called for a day for the poor at the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy in November 2016.

The Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation announced a number of special events that are taking place throughout the week to highlight this annual initiative.

On Sunday morning in St Peter’s Basilica, some four thousand poor and needy people, accompanied by volunteers from Italy, France, Spain, Brussels, Luxembourg and Poland will take part in a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.

Following the Eucharist, 1.500 of the visitors will be invited to lunch in the adjacent Paul VI Hall, while the other 2.500 guests will be taken to lunch in some of the Catholic colleges, seminaries and charitable organisations in the vicinity of the Vatican.

Those dining in the Paul VI Hall will be served a meal of gnocchi with tomato sauce and veal stew with vegetables, plus tiramisu and coffee for dessert, all prepared by papal chef Sergio Dussin from Bassano del Grappa in Italy’s northern Veneto region.

The Vatican police band and a children’s choir will provide background music for the festive lunch, which has been organised in collaboration with a number of local charity organisations and parishes.

On  Saturday, Nov 18, at 8 pm, there will be a prayer vigil in the ancient Rome Basilica of St Lawrence to remember volunteers all over the world who offer their services in support of the poor and marginalised.

Throughout the week of Nov 13 – 19, a mobile clinic has been set up just in front of St Peter’s Square offering free specialised medical services between the hours of 9 am and 4 pm.

A special booklet marking this first World Day of the Poor has also been published in six languages as a pastoral aid for dioceses and parishes worldwide who wish to take part in this important initiative. –  Vatican Radio

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