Reflection for Third Sunday of Advent B

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First Reading
Isaiah 61:1-2a,10-11
The Lord’s salvation will be made known to the poor and the oppressed.

Responsorial Psalm
Luke 1:46-50,53-54
Mary sings praise to God.

Second Reading
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Paul encourages the Thessalonians to rejoice and pray always.

Gospel Reading
John 1:6-8,19-28
John gives testimony that he is preaching and baptising in order to prepare for the coming of another.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This Sunday’s Gospel invites us to continue our reflection on the person and mission of John the Baptist. Today we depart from the Gospel of Mark and read a selection from the Gospel of John.

The Gospel for today combines a brief passage from the prologue to John’s Gospel with a report about John the Baptist. As in Mark’s Gospel, the Gospel of John contains no birth narrative. Instead, John’s Gospel begins with a theological reflection that has come to be called the “prologue.” This prologue places the story of Jesus in its cosmological framework. It speaks of Jesus’ existence with God since the beginning of time. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is presented as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the culmination of the Word, the light that is coming into the world’s darkness.

Following this prologue, John reports on the ministry of John the Baptist. We learn about the attention that John the Baptist received from the Jewish authorities. Messengers from the Jewish priests, the Levites and the Pharisees question John about his identity and the meaning of the baptisms that he is performing. John’s Gospel uses these questions to establish the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist. John the Baptist is not the Messiah, nor is he Elijah or the Prophet. In John’s denials, we hear echoes of the kind of messianic expectations that were common in first-century Palestine.

The only affirmative response that John the Baptist gives is when he quotes the prophet Isaiah. Upon answering the next question, John announces that the saviour they seek is already among them, but as yet unrecognised. John’s response highlights for us an important Advent theme: Jesus has already come into the world as our saviour. During Advent, we pray that we will be able to recognise Jesus’ presence in our midst. Advent also reminds us that Jesus will come again to fulfill the promise of salvation. We pray that we will continue to be watchful as we anticipate that great day.

The third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete SundayGaudete, a Latin word which means “rejoice,” is taken from the entrance antiphon for Sunday’s Mass. This theme is echoed in today’s second reading from the first Letter to the Thessalonians. It is a reminder that Advent is a season of joy because our salvation is already at hand. – loyolapress.com

Christmas Mass Schedule

 

Church Christmas Eve

Sun Dec 24

Christmas Day

   Mon Dec 25

Sacred Heart Cathedral 6:00 pm Mass (BM)

8:30 pm Cantata

9:30 pm Mass (EN)

7:00 am (CH)

9:00 am (EN)

10:45 am (BM)

Church of Mary Immaculate 7:30 pm (CH) 9:00 am (EN)
Carmelite Chapel 7:30 pm (EN) 7:00 am (EN)
St Paul Dontozidon 7:30 pm (KD) 8:30 am (KD)
OLQP Kobusak 7:30 pm (KD) 10:30 am (KD)
St John Kopungit 9:30 pm (KD) 10:45 am (KD)
St Simon Likas 7:30 pm (EN) 8:30 am (EN)
Stella Maris Tg Aru 8 pm (EN) 7:30 am (EN)

10:00 am (BM)

St Peter Claver Ranau 7:15 pm (BM) 8:00 am (BM/EN)

 

Pope Francis’ 2017 Intentions

December 2017

The Elderly

That the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations.

 

Liturgical Feasts / Anniversaries /Observances

Dec 01: World AIDS Day

Dec 03: First Sunday of Advent B

Dec 04: St John Damascene

Dec 06: St Nicholas

 Dec 07: St Ambrose

Dec 08: Immaculate Conception of Mary (Solemnity)

Dec 09: St John Diego Cuahtlatoatzin

Dec 10: Second Sunday of Advent B

Dec 11: St Damasus I

Dec 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Dec 13: St Lucy

Dec 14: St John of the Cross

Dec 17: Third Sunday of Advent B

Dec 21: St Peter Canisius

Dec 23: St John of Kanty

Dec 24: Fourth Sunday of Advent B

Dec 25: Christmas Day (Day of Obligation)

Dec 26: St Stephen Protomartyr

Dec 27: St John the Evangelist

Dec 28: Holy Innocents

Dec 29: St Thomas Becket

Dec 31: Holy Family 

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.

Groundbreaking ceremony marks commencement of new Catholic Centre construction

Archbishop John Wong (with stole), assisted by Fr Cosmas Lee, officiates the rite of blessing before the groundbreaking ceremony on site of new Catholic Centre Karamunsing, 13 Dec 2017, witnessed by representatives of the clergy, religious, parishes, consultants, building and fundraising committees.

KOTA KINABALU – The groundbreaking ceremony marking the commencement of the construction of the new Catholic Centre here took place on 13 Dec 2017.

Archbishop John Wong officiated the rite of blessing of the site, assisted by Father Cosmas Lee, the project supervisor.

After the blessing, the archbishop proceeded to do the groundbreaking by using an excavator, assisted by John Voo, the contractor for the demolition and site preparation works.

On hand to witness the ceremony were some 35 representatives from the clergy, religious, parishes, consultants, and the building and fundraising committees.

The demolition began on Nov 29 and is scheduled to be completed by 9 Jan 2018.

An open tender for the piling works has been called for and the piling will begin sometime in January 2018.

The building project is scheduled to be completed within 16 months, probably by mid-2019.

At the press conference held after the ceremony,  Fr Lee as well as Willie Wong, head of the fundraising committee, said funding for the project is from the Catholic Community organised into 21 parishes, from state and federal grants, and from generous individuals.

Analysis: What is the context of Pope Francis’ words on the Lord’s Prayer

Pope Francis’ remarks on the “wrong” translation of the Lord’s Prayer in a TV show hosted by the Italian Bishops’ Conference’s TV2000 network are part of a wider debate that has taken place in Italy for over two decades.

The Pope said that the words “non ci indurre in tentazione” – “Do not lead us into temptation,” in the English version – are not correct, because, he said, God does not actively lead us into temptation.

The Pope also praised a new translation operated by the French Bishops’ conference.

The new French translation is “et ne nous laisse pas entrer in tentationI” – “let us not enter into temptation.” It replaces the previous translation “ne nous soumets pas à la tentation” – “do not submit us to temptation.”

It is worth noting that St. Thomas Aquinas considered the question of whether God leads men “into temptation” in a commentary he wrote on the Our Father. The saint, and Doctor of the Church, concluded that “God is said to lead a person into evil by permitting him to the extent that, because of his many sins, He withdraws His grace from man, and as a result of this withdrawal man does fall into sin.”

The Pope’s intent seems to be to emphasise that God’s active will does not “tempt” men, that, instead, the permissive will of God allows people to be tempted because of their sinfulness. This is the emphasis of the French translation. The theological context is complex, but certainly the Pope has not intended to deny the theological and scriptural sense in which God allows, or permits, temptation.

However, the Pope was talking in Italian, on an Italian television show, and his remarks dealt with the Italian translation of the Lord’s Prayer. It would be a mistake to assign his remarks significance beyond the Italian context, in which they would be well understood.

And, in fact, a new Italian translation of that very sentence of the Lord’s Prayer has already been done.

The new translation of the Bible issued by the Italian Bishops Conference says “do not abandon us to the temptation,” and the rephrasing of that sentence was the fruit of a long process, aimed at being more faithful to the Latin text of the prayer – the so-called editio typica – and at the same time more fit to the current language.

Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence and a well known scripture scholar, who has also served as undersecretary and secretary of the Italian Bishops Conference, recounted to the Italian newspaper Avvenire how the process for a new translation took place.

“The work,” he said, “dates back to 1988, when the decision was made to review the old 1971 translation of the Bible.”

At that time, a working group of 15 scripture scholars was established, coordinated by a bishop – the first was Bishop Giuseppe Costanzo, then Bishop Wilhelm Egger, and finally Bishop Franco Festorazzi.

This working group collected the opinions of 60 more experts on scripture. The group was overseen by the Bishops Commission for the Liturgy, and the Italian Bishops’ Conference Permanent Council, a group composed of the presidents of regional bishops conference, and the presidents of the commissions established within the Bishops’ Conference itself.

Cardinal Betori said that “within the Permanent Council, a restricted committee for the translation was established,” was composed of Cardinals Giacomo Biffi and Carlo Maria Martini, and of Archbishops Benigno Luigi Papa, Giovanni Saldarini and Andrea Magrassi.

“This committee,” Cardinal Betori said, “also received and considered the proposal for the new translation of the Our Father.”

The formula “do not abandon us to temptation” was adopted because it met the approval of both Cardinal Martini and Biffi, who “were not, as is known, from the same schools of thought,” Cardinal Betori explained.

Cardinal Betori said that the formula was chosen because it had a wider meaning, as “do not abandon us to temptation” can both mean “do not abandon us, so that we will not fall into temptation” and “do not abandon… when we are already facing temptation,” Cardinal Betori explained.

The new translation was approved by the Italian bishops in 2000. In 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued Liturgiam Authenticam, a set of new provisions for the translation of liturgical texts.

After Liturgiam Authenticam, the whole work of translation was reviewed by a group of experts, led by bishops Adriano Caprioli, Luciano Monari and Mansueto Bianchi. Cardinal Betori was part of this group.

The revision, which suggested many amendments, was forwarded to the bishops. However, these amendments “did not change the proposal for the new translation of the Lord’s Prayer.”

The new translation of the Bible was finally approved during the 2002 General Assembly of the Italian Bishops Conference, with 202 out of 203 bishops voting favourably. The text of the Lord’s Prayer was approved separately, to be certain there were no doubts from bishops. The Holy See gave its recognitio in 2007, and the Italian Bishops Conference Bible was finally published in 2008 with the new translation.

The new translation of the Lord’s Prayer was ‘transferred’ to the Missal. However, the new translation, in order to be part of liturgical use, must be approved by the Holy See, and the text has not been approved because there are other issues of concern in the Missal’s translation.

This is the reason why the formula for the Lord’s Prayer in Italian is still “non ci indurre in tentazione.”

Ultimately, speaking about the translation of the Lord’s Prayer, Pope Francis did not say anything really new. Italian theologians and scripture scholars have already provided their solution for the translation.

However, there is another story to be told. There is a question regarding what will happen to translations that once needed a “recognitio” from the Holy See, which is now simply called to “confirm” the new translation.

Will this lead to a general change in translations in languages other than Italian? – CNA

Sandakan covenant community brings early Christmas joy to the less fortunate

SANDAKAN – Members of the Star of Yahweh Covenant Community brought early Christmas joy to the less fortunate on 10 Dec 2017.

“It also helps us to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus Christ by showing our charity to people in genuine need. Though this advent action is just a small act of kindness, it adds up a great difference for vulnerable people,” said SYCC elder Philip Mosinoh.

As the members came bringing the goodies and some clothing donations to their homes,  the joy and happiness clearly shown on the children’s faces. When they were asked why they are so happy, spontaneously and joyfully they said in Malay, “Sebab Hari Krismas” (Because it is Christmas). – S Cordova, sandakan newsupdate

Pope renews appeal for wisdom and prudence over Jerusalem

VATICAN CITY – The Holy See is following with great attention the developing situation in the Middle East, with special reference to Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims all over the world.

In a press statement released on 10 Dec 2017, the Holy See Press Office reiterated the Pope’s concerns regarding the volatile situation in and around Jerusalem. [This came about after US President Donald Trump announced on Dec 6 that US formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the city.]

In expressing sorrow for the clashes of the past few days that have left people dead, the Holy Father renews his appeal for wisdom and prudence and prays earnestly that leaders of Nations, in this moment of particular gravity, may do everything to avert a new spiral of violence, and may respond, with words and deeds, to the longing for peace, justice and security felt by the people of that suffering land.

Concerns about peace prospects in the region are the subject of various initiatives over these days, including urgent meetings convened by the Arab League and the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation. The Holy See is sensitive to these concerns and, recalling the heartfelt words of Pope Francis, reiterates its well-known position regarding the unique nature of the Holy City and the indispensability of respecting the status quo, in accordance with the agreements of the international community and repeated requests of the hierarchies of the Churches and Christian communities of the Holy Land.

At the same time, the Holy See reiterates its conviction that only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians can lead to a stable and lasting peace and guarantee the peaceful coexistence of two states within internationally recognised borders. – vatican radio

 

Parishioners mark Fr Lo’s 12th anniversary as priest

Abp Wong (L) affirms the honouree Fr Lo (R) on his 12th anniversary breakfast at Sacred Heart Parish Canteen, 7 Dec 2017.

KOTA KINABALU – Parishioners here marked the 12th priestly anniversary of Father Paul Lo at different times.

While morning Massgoers at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here organised a breakfast for him on Thursday, 7 Dec 2017, those in the Church of Mary Immaculate gave him an early lunch on Sunday, Dec 10, the actual day of his anniversary.

On both occasions, Fr Lo thanked the organisers for their kind gestures and asked them to continue to pray for him and his ministry.

Archbishop John Wong was present on both occasions to affirm the 44-year-old priest who took up his post as assistant pastor at the cathedral parish on Sept 1 this year.

Kota Belud flooded

Let us pray for all affected by the flood in Kota Belud and for the rain to cease. It has been raining non-stop since 11 Dec 2017.  Kota Belud is located roughly at the midpoint of the federal highway connecting Kota Kinabalu and Kudat.  The parish is St Edmund Parish under the pastoral care of Father Ambrose Atang and Father Florian Marcus.

Cathedral parish organises Chinese faith-formation morning camp for students

The 35 participants pose for remembrance in their visit to the Social Communications Office on 4 Dec 2017.  Earlier they had a session with the aspirants.  The visit was part of the formation camp held at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre Dec 4-9.

KOTA KINABALU – Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here organised a fun-filled faith formation camp for Chinese-speaking students aged 6-18 on 4-9 Dec 2017.

In its fourth year, the morning camp organised by the Chinese community was held at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre.

The 150 participants were divided into age groups for the learning activities.

For the primary school pupils, they learnt about the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Mary, the 12 Apostles and they had a field trip to the KKIP Divine Mercy Church.

For the teens, they had sessions on the different vocations in life: priesthood, religious life, single life, marriage as well as a handicraft workshop on the gift of self.  They had field trips to the Aspirants Formation House Penampang and to the Daughters of St Paul Convent Karamunsing.  They also toured the archdiocesan offices.

Pope Francis: Healthcare is part of the Church’s mission

Pope Francis greets people with disabilities following the General Audience on 15 Nov 2017. Credit: Daniel Ibez, CNA

VATICAN CITY – Just as Jesus healed people during his earthly mission, care for the sick is a mission the entire Church is called to take part in, Pope Francis said in a message published Monday for the World Day of the Sick.

“Jesus bestowed upon the Church his healing power…The Church’s mission is a response to Jesus’ gift, for she knows that she must bring to the sick the Lord’s own gaze, full of tenderness and compassion,” the Pope wrote in a message published on 11 Dec 2017.

“Health care ministry will always be a necessary and fundamental task, to be carried out with renewed enthusiasm by all, from parish communities to the largest healthcare institutions.”

“Doctors and nurses, priests, consecrated men and women, volunteers, families and all those who care for the sick, take part in this ecclesial mission.”

The World Day of the Sick will be celebrated on Sunday, 11 Feb 2018, with the theme: “Mater Ecclesiae: ‘Behold, your son… Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home (John 19:26-27).”

Reflecting on the scripture passage from which the theme was taken, Francis explained how John, as a close disciple of Jesus, could testify to the fact that Christ healed many people suffering from both spiritual and physical illnesses.

Jesus, he said, “healed the sick as a sign of the abundant life of the Kingdom, where every tear will be wiped away.”

The disciples know that Jesus’ heart is “open to all and excludes no one. The Gospel of the Kingdom must be proclaimed to all, and the charity of Christians must be directed to all, simply because they are persons, children of God.”

Pointing to the Church’s long history of care for the sick, including innumerable initiatives, Francis said we cannot forget this “history of dedication,” which continues “to the present day throughout the world.”

In countries with adequate public health care systems, Catholic religious congregations and dioceses and their hospitals provide quality medical care that puts the human person at the centre, also carrying out scientific research that fully respects life and Christian moral values, he said.

And in countries with inadequate, or even non-existent, health care systems, the Catholic Church works to improve health, eliminate infant mortality and combat widespread disease.

“In some parts of the world, missionary and diocesan hospitals are the only institutions providing necessary care to the population,” he noted.

This is all a cause for rejoicing within the Christian community, the pope stressed, ” but we also need to take note that long legacy and use it to help us build a better future. Especially in cases where Catholic hospitals fall prey to the business mentality that seeks to turn health care into a profit-making enterprise, which ends up discarding the poor.”

“Wise organisation and charity demand that the sick person be respected in his or her dignity, and constantly kept at the centre of the therapeutic process,” he said.

“May our prayers to the Mother of God see us united in an incessant plea that every member of the Church may live with love the vocation to serve life and health.” – CNA/EWTN News

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