Reflection for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

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First Reading
Isaiah 55:6-9
God’s ways are far beyond the ways of human beings.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 145:2-3,8-9,17-18
God is near to those who call upon him.

Second Reading
Philippians 1:20c-24,27a
Paul tells the Philippians to live for Christ.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 20:1-16
In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus teaches about God’s generous mercy.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In today’s Gospel, Jesus moves from Galilee to teach in Judea where he is sought out by great crowds and tested by the Pharisees on issues such as marriage and divorce. Jesus also encounters a rich young man who is unable to accept Jesus’ demand that he leave his possessions to follow him. Jesus’ response to the rich young man sounds very much like the conclusion we will find in today’s Gospel: the first will be last and the last will be first.

On the surface, the parable of the workers in the vineyard appears to be an offense to common sense. Those who work a longer day ought to be paid more than those who work just an hour or two. When viewed in this way, the landowner seems unfair. That is because we are reading into the parable our own preconceived notions of how fairness and equality should be quantified.

A close read shows us that the landowner paid on the terms that were negotiated. The landowner, it seems, has acted completely justly. The parable goes beyond that, however, and we come to see that the landowner is not simply just, he is exceptionally just. He is radically just. He has given those who laboured in the field for a full day their due pay. But he has also given a full-day’s wage to those who worked only a single hour. No one is cheated, but a few receive abundantly from the landowner just as we receive from God more than what is merely justifiable or due. God, like the landowner, is radically just and abundantly generous. The workers who complain are made to look foolish as they lament the fact that landowner has made all workers equal. Indeed, what more could one ask for than to be treated as an equal at work or anywhere else?

The parable reminds us that although God owes us nothing, he offers abundantly and equally. We are occasionally tempted to think that our own actions deserve more reward, more of God’s abundant mercy, than the actions of others. But God’s generosity cannot be quantified or partitioned into different amounts for different people. When we think that way, we are trying to relate to God on our terms rather than to accept God’s radically different ways. – loyolapress.com

Pope Francis’ 2017 Intentions

September 2017

Parishes

That our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit, may be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen.

Liturgical Feasts / Anniversaries /Observances

Sept 01: Day of Prayer for Care of Creation

Sept 03: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Sept 04: Creation of the Prefecture Apostolic of Labuan & Borneo (1855) 

Sept 05: St Teresa of Calcutta

Sept 08: Nativity of Our Lady

Sept 09: St Peter Claver

Sept 10: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time A

 Sept 12: Most Holy Name of Mary

Sept 13: St John Chrysostom

Sept 14: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Sept 15: Our Lady of Sorrows

Sept 16: Sts Cornelius & Cyprian / Malaysia Day (1963) / Launching of KK Vision/Mission (1997)

Sept 17: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Sept 19: St Januarius

Sept 20: St Andrew Kim Taegon & Companions

Sept 21: St Matthew

Sept 23: St Pio of Pietrelcina

Sept 24: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time A / World Migrant Sunday Celebration

Sept 26: Sts Cosmas & Damian

Sept 27: St Vincent de Paul

Sept 28: Sts Wenceslaus,  Lorenzo Ruiz & Companions

Sept 29: Sts Michael, Gabriel & Raphael

Sept 30: St Jerome

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.

Msgr Anthony Thomas of KL called to eternal life

KUALA LUMPUR – Msgr Anthony Thomas of Kuala Lumpur had been called to eternal life on 24 Sept 2017.

In a chancery notice ref (chan/MC/02/2017) dated Sept 24, it said that Msgr Thomas, 80, died peacefully on Sunday at 2:30 pm at the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged Cheras where he had been residing since his retirement in 2005.

Among the deceased’s many qualities was his giftedness and proficiency in music which has contributed greatly to the repertoire of hymns, responsorial psalm musical settings and Mass Ordinaries widely used in the local Church.

He is well remembered by the parishioners of St Joseph Sentul, Visitation Church Seremban and Sacred Heart Church Peel Road where he had served as parish priest.  He was instrumental in the building of the respective parish community centres.

Wake Masses:
Mon Sept 25, 7 am Little Sisters of the Poor Cheras; 8 pm Sacred Heart Peel Road
Tue Sept 26, 8 pm Sacred Heart Peel Road

The funeral will be on Wed Sept 27 at 11 am at Sacred Heart Peel Road and burial at Kajang cemetery.

Churches show force in biggest rally under Duterte

Franciscan friars and religious sisters march from San Agustin Church to Luneta Park on 21 Sept 2017 for a day of protest against drug-related killings and other forms of tyranny.  Credit: Maria Tan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – While professing different religious beliefs, thousands of members of various churches raised their fists and echoed a cry against tyranny during the biggest rally under Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency.

Members of Christian churches marched to Rizal Park on Thursday, 21 Sept 2017, to denounce the killings in Duterte’s war on drugs and to reject nationwide martial law, which dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared exactly 45 years ago.

 It was a show of force as church members – from Catholics to Aglipayans to Born Again Christians – believe that the killings in the war on drugs contradict the commandments of God.

Nais naming itaas ang aming boses, ang aming kamao (We want to raise our voices, our fists),” Aglipayan priest Rev Jonash Joyohoy said in an interview with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP).

The NCCP is a huge 54-year-old group of Christian churches, which has been vocal against the killings in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

In another interview with NCCP, Reverend Junwel Bueno of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines said in a mix of English and Filipino, “Never again to martial law! And tyranny has no more space in our country today. Amen!”

A member of the Christian Youth Fellowship, Zarah Alegre, also told the NCCP, “We are here in Luneta because we know that God wants to protect life and to safeguard the dignity of people.”

Catholics also came in droves on Thursday.

During a 20-minute march from San Agustin Church in Intramuros to Rizal Park, Catholic laypersons, priests, and sisters prayed the rosary while carrying placards and singing church songs like “Pananagutan (Resonsibility)”

One of the Catholic Sisters who marched to Rizal Park was Sister Joanne Cabugawan, member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St John the Baptist. Cabugawan said she came to the rally with around 15 members of their religious group.

In an interview with Rappler while marching to Rizal Park, Cabugawan said her group was opposing the killings and rejecting martial law.

Sister Imani Kosasih, who hails from England and belongs to the Holy Family Sisters, also joined the march from San Agustin Church to Rizal Park.

“I’d like President Duterte to know that really, what he’s doing may not be the best way, that every life is precious and that he can find a better way to deal with the drug problem here in the country,” Kosasih said.

“I do understand what he’s trying to do – eradicating drugs – but killing people, killing the drug addicts, is not the way forward, because it has been tried in Mexico and Colombia, and it hasn’t really brought the results expected,” she added.

Organisers pegged the number of Rizal Park protesters, including the religious sector, at around 30,000, but police claimed they only reached a peak of 8,000.

At San Agustin Church, some ministers even ran out of consecrated hosts, as they apparently did not anticipate the number of Catholics who joined a Mass prior to the march to Rizal Park.

The 17th-century church thundered with the voice of Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, the Catholic leader of what he describes as a “killing field” in the anti-drug campaign.

David in his homily denounced the “termites” that eat up “our collective conscience as a nation.”

During communion, the choir sang a song familiar to protesters in 2001 when another popular uprising ousted president Joseph Estrada – “Lord, Heal Our Land,” one of the anthems of the so-called Edsa Dos or the people power movement that ousted Estrada from Malacañang.

Some 200 kilometers from San Agustin Church, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas spoke out in time for Thursday’s protests as well. In a homily at the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist in Dagupan City on Thursday, Villegas warned that the Philippines is losing its soul to “the Father of Lies and Prince of Darkness.”

Former St Scholastica’s College president Sister Mary John Mananzan, a veteran of street protests, said she felt “euphoric” that many Filipinos have found the courage to speak out against the government’s abuses.

“That makes us happy, that fills our heart, because they’re no longer quiet,” Mananzan said. – Rappler.com

64 attend third module of catechists training course

Participants listen attentively to Sr Lucy Embayan fsic, 11 Sept 2017, BTRC.

BUNDU TUHAN – Sixty-four catechists attended the third module of the BM catechists training course at the retreat centre here on 8-24 Sept 2017.

The course was organised jointly by the Archdiocesan Catechetical Commission and the Persatuan Katekis (PEKA) with the first module on June 12-July 7 and the second module on July 9-21.

Topics covered were human development (Sr Lucy Embayan fsic), psychology and counselling (Sr Lucy Embayan fsic), Pauline Letters (Fr Paul Lo), ecclesiology – Vatican II (Fr Mattheus Luta), Differences between RC, Orthodox & Protestant  Churches (Sr Dariah Ajap fsic & team),  bioethics/morality (Fr Michael Modoit), and i-chat seminar (Fr Larry Tan sj).

Other topics included team building by Terence Dolinting, homiletics by catechist Justin Dinsin, pedagogy by Mdm Lynette Justin, and adminstration by Dominic Lim.

Father Nicholas Stephen, organising team head, presided at the opening Mass Sept 8 while Msgr Primus Jouil celebrated the closing Mass Sept 22 and gave out the certificates of attendance to the participants.

Tambunan holds fundraising concert dinner for building project

Fr Anthony Mikat sings “How Great Thou Art” at the inaugural fundraising concert dinner in aid of St Theresa Tambunan building project, 23 Sept 2017, KDCA Penampang.

PENAMPANG – St Theresa Tambunan held its first fundraising concert dinner for its building project at the KadazanDusun Cultural Association Centre here on 23 Sept 2017.

Over 800 people turned up in support of the event.  Among them were Father Anthony Mikat, the current pastor, Father William Poilis, former pastor, and several religious sisters.

The event organising committee was headed by Pontius Otigil.

In his speech, Building Committe head Daniel Kinsik explained that the inaugural fundraiser is to help build a new RM4.5m church as the existing church cannot be extended anymore to accommodate increasing members.  The target date for completion is 2019 in time for the centenary of the parish.  Once the building is completed, the existing church will be renovated to become the parish hall.

The Tambunan choir – past and present – gave many stirring performances in English, BM and Kadazan.  There were also performances from the Labuan youths.

Fr Mikat did his bit too with his rendition of “How Great Thou Art” to the delight of the diners.

CFC-HOLD’s 8th echo conference focuses on faith journey

KOTA KINABALU – The Couples for Christ – Handmaids of the Lord (CFC-HOLD)’s 8th echo conference focused on faith journey was held at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre on 23 Sept 2017.

An Echo Conference is a local duplication of the annual HOLD International Conference (ICON) held in April in Manila attended by some of the key members.  These members then return to their respective countries and organise similar conferences.

This year’s theme was My Heart in Your Hands (1 Cor 16:13-14).  The conference began with rosary recitation and Holy Mass at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel presided by Father Paul Lo, CFC Spiritual Adviser.

In the conference, divided into five sessions comprising talks, testimonies and creative expressions, the 160-strong participants were brought to awareness the different stages in the faith journey.

In Session 1: Journey of Faith, Teresa Michael-Majanil presented the different stages in the journey of faith using Thomas Cole’s four paintings entitled The Voyage of Life.

In the second session, Crisis in Faith, Wendy Chin elaborated on the many challenges faced by the Church in Corinth and in society today such as division, lax morality, power struggle, desire for self-aggrandisement, secularism, moral relativism, materialism, and rationalisation as well the reality of the culture of death and killing.

The third session, Staying the Course, Ivy Henry Majanil touched on spiritual warfare and the tactics used by Satan: deception, division, diversion, and discouragement.  She said the CFC theme of standing firm in faith points out the ways to counter the devilish tactics through understanding well the catechism lived and learnt through the basic prayers, sacraments, church and family traditions.

In the fourth session, Warriors on Our Knees, Karen Sigawal spelt out the vocation of the laity to holiness lived out in daily life.  She pointed out that courage/endurance is needed to do God’s will and to receive what He has promised.  The obstacles to courage are excessive fear, sloth or laziness, fatigue and loneliness and their antidotes are magnanimity, patience, humility and determination.

In the fifth and final session, My Heart in Your Hands, Anne Labadin-Majanil showed the participants how love is the weapon in God’s plan of attack in spiritual warfare – love for God and for others in concrete actions – as depicted in Joshua 6.  It was Joshua’s love for God that won the battle of Jericho – a love that trusted, did not question but simply obeyed.  She led the participants to place their hearts in God’s loving hands – wounded hands that will hold their hearts close to His own heart, entailing a deep prayer life, total obedience to Him, union with Him in Holy Communion, and a life of service to Him and others.

The one-day conference ended with a praise fest.

The Handmaids of the Lord (HOLD) target mature women, regardless of status, or situation, from ages forty-one (41) and above. The ministry has a three-fold mission: personal transformation, evangelisation to bring her family and others especially women to a renewed life in the Lord, and wholehearted service to bring glad tidings to the poor. It provides a strong teaching track, special teachings for women in different states of life, and a leadership programme to equip leaders to be more effective and better servants. The mission promotes the missionary spirit among leaders to realise its vision.

Sandakan English Sunday School organises retreat at Fr Mulders Centre

SANDAKAN – The English Sunday School organised a retreat for the students on 26-29 Aug 2017 at the Fr Mulders Catechetical Centre here.

The retreat combined fun, team building activities, teaching sessions, faith sharing, group discussion with prayer experiences, journaling, praise and worship. The retreat also helped the participants to enter into the timelessness of God and see Christ in their past, know Him in the present, and follow Him into eternity.

The retreat was a collaborative effort between the Sunday School (English) and Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei and his team of experienced facilitators, Jen, Jerlyn and Bridget (Aunty B).

Some parents were concerned whether they have made the right decisions in sending their children to the retreat and missing their tuition, extra class in school, etc, but the joyful faces of their children at the end of the retreat said it all. – newsupdatedospo.blogspot.my

KL Archdiocese establishes deaf ministry

PETALING JAYA – A ministry for the deaf has been established in the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese. With the support of Archbishop Julian Leow, a Catholic group of hearing sign language interpreters and the deaf have set up a channel to bring deaf Catholics back to Christ. This channel is called “Catholic Ministry for the Deaf” (CMDeaf).

The core objectives of CMDeaf are three-fold:
1. Demographics on the whereabouts of the deaf Catholics in the KL archdiocese.
2. Reaching out to the deaf by inviting them into the CMDeaf family.
3. Journeying with the deaf for their faith growth.

To facilitate an effective channel of communication, the group has started a website, catholicministryfordeaf.my, for the deaf to read more about them. Once a deaf Catholic logs on, she/ he will need to fill up a survey form. CMDeaf will then extend an invitation for them to get to know other deaf Catholics who are already in their community.

Currently, there are activities that have been made available for the deaf to live their faith fully.
They are:
1. RCIA — The class is conducted in sign language by trained catechists.
2. Monthly Signed Mass — The entire Mass is celebrated in sign language.
3. Weekly Interpreted Mass.
4. Preparation for the Sacraments, like Marriage and Confession.
5. Monthly Faith Formation Programme
6. Social Gathering.

In the website, there is also a two-minute video on some of their activities.

There is also a facebook page “SFX PJ reach deaf connection” to help the deaf understand the weekly gospel reading explained in Sign Language.

Brochures on the group and its objectives have been placed in the church racks.

The team is appealing for help in identifying deaf Catholics in any part of the KL Archdiocese.

They sincerely hope that with this initiative, they can bring more deaf faithful back to the Catholic Church. – herald malaysia.com

Ranau parish receives RM210k from Rome for kindergarten

RANAU – St Peter Claver Church (SPCR) here received a donation of RM210,000 from the Vatican Foundation to build a kindergarten (Tadika Kasih Bonda), currently located in the old church building (Fr Salm Hall).

Father Nicholas Stephen shared the good news during the Ranau Parish Day event officiated by Archbishop John Wong on 10 Sept 2017.

The Kasih Bonda Kindergarten, which uses English as its introductory language, started operating in 2015. It now requires its own building as a result of the very encouraging response from Christian students in this area.

To accommodate the construction of the building, the church needs an allocation of RM750.000, besides the donation from the Vatican Foundation through the courtesy of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu. The contribution of all the people is needed to realise the completion of the building.

Meanwhile, Abp Wong also announced the construction of the Catholic Centre to be built near  Sacred Heart Cathedral building Kota Kinabalu that requires an allocation of RM9.6 million.

To complete this centre, the archdiocese is seeking the generous contribution of all Catholics from the 22 parishes and sub-parishes in the archdiocese.

If every single person contributes just RM10.00, then the allocation of RM150,000 donated by the Ranau parish for the construction of the Catholic centre will be easy, the prelate said.

For that purpose, the archbishop launched the special Donation Fund from Catholics in the district. He personally led the donation into the fund followed by Father Stephen, Father Francis Tsen, Father Bruno Yasun and local church leaders.

During the ceremony, he also held a groundbreaking to officiate the construction of the kindergarten building at the back of the church.

Among the events at the Parish Day were the celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation for 265 candidates, exhibitions from 21 church committees, lunch with Archbishop, lucky draws,  and cake cutting. – herald malaysia.com

ILO, WFF, IOM report on modern slavery and forced child labourers in 2016

NEW YORK – In 2016,  over 40 million people were treated as slaves and about 152 million children were forced to work according to two reports released on 19 Sept 2017 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with the Walk Free Foundation (WFF) in partnership with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) to the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (12-25 Sept 2017) here.

According to experts, at least 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016, as forced labourers as well as sex and domestic workers.

With respect to children, most of those aged 5 to 17 engaged in child labour were found in Africa (72.1 million), followed by the Asia-Pacific region (62 million).

“Forced labourers produced some of the food we eat and the clothes we wear, and they have cleaned the buildings in which many of us live or work,” the groups said in a report released on Tuesday.

Forced marriage, which is widespread in Muslim majority South Asian countries, is included for the first time in worldwide statistics.

Some 15.4 million people, mostly women, are forced into marriage, a figure that probably underestimates the problem. More than a third of them are underage at the time of marriage.

The new estimates also show that women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting for almost 29 million, or 71 per cent of the overall figure.

Women represent 99 per cent of the victims of the sex industry and 84 per cent of forced marriages.

An estimated 25 million people were in forced labour at any moment in time in 2016. Out of them, 16 million people were in forced labour exploitation in the private sector such as domestic work, construction, agriculture.

The causes of exploitation range from poverty to the need to repay debts. The report notes that the problem is widespread in all countries.

The second report released Sept 19 on child labour contains frightening figures: 152 million children – 64 million girls and 88 million boys – are subject to child labour and account for almost one in ten children around the world.

Approximately one-third of children aged 5 to 14 engaged in child labour are outside the education system, 38 percent of children are in hazardous work aged 5 to 14 and almost two-thirds of those aged 15-17 work more than 43 hours per week.

These kids cannot get an education and build a better future for themselves.

On Sept 12, Msgr Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, said: “It is time to move from law to action because contemporary forms of slavery, servitude, human trafficking and forced labor, must be addressed at the root.  New forms of slavery must be abolished just like the abolition of slavery in the ancient world: adopting a new vision of the human being and of its dignity through laws, education and the conversion of minds”.

Msgr Jurkovič concluded his speech by saying that “we must all be aware of these dramatic situations and work to eradicate the new and atrocious forms of human slavery. It is increasingly evident that today we are faced with a global phenomenon.”

The 72nd United Nations General Assembly will celebrate the concluding session on Sept 19-25. –AsiaNews/agencies/news.va

Maxican bishops offer prayers for earthquake victims

Mexican rescuers search for survivors at a flattened building after a powerful quake in Mexico City on 19 Sept 2017.  A devastating quake in Mexico on Tuesday killed more than 100 people, according to official tallies, with a preliminary 30 deaths recorded in the capital where rescue efforts were still going on. / AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

MEXICO CITY – The Mexican bishops’ conference have offered their prayers for those affected by the earthquake that hit Mexico City and the state of Puebla on Tuesday.

“We unite ourselves with the pain for the victims of the earthquake that happened today, September 19, 2017, in various places in our country,” they said in a statement.

“Thousands of hands have formed chains of life to rescue, feed and do their bit in these emergencies.”

 The number of fatalities has climbed to over 200, with one of the most desperate rescue efforts at a school in southern Mexico City where a wing of the three-storey building collapsed onto children.

The quake came on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that killed thousands, and came just hours after Mexicans held earthquake drills to mark the date.

The bishops pledged to work with authorities and charities to offer their assistance.

“We ask for the consolation of our Mother Mary of Guadalupe, so that through her intercession she may help and strengthen us in the reconstruction of our homeland.” – catholic herald

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