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Bishop Sim on devotion of Sacred Heart of Jesus


Bishop Cornelius Sim (3rd left) after his final talk on June 26, 2019, is seen renewing friendship with some young parishioners of SHC whom he had met during his previous visits to the parish, together with Fr Paul Lo ((2nd right), the parish priest.

KOTA KINABALU: Parishioners of Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) here were given an opportunity to know and understand the deeper meaning and purpose of their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in preparation for their parish feast day celebration on June 27.

This came in the form of a series of three talks presented by Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei, on three consecutive nights prior to the feast day at the Cathedral attended by a steady crowd of around 300 each night.

He told Catholics at the SHC on the final night of the talk (June 26) that he was very impressed by their presence in following the talks and expressed the hope that by doing so they had gained an experience of the love of God and a deeper desire to love him in return.

The talks were conducted after a Gospel reading in the midst of a Holy Hour each night, with adoration of the Holy Sacrament and Benediction. They were richly interlaced with biblical and magisterium quotations and teachings.

At the end of the final day of the SHC Triduum, Fr Paul Lo, the parish priest, expressed his thanks and appreciation to Bishop Sim for his talks which he said were very enlightening.

Bishop Sim told the Sacred Heart devotees said the human heart is the most powerful sign of the love of God shown to us through human communication.

“The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the centre of who he is and reveals who God is. The heart of Jesus is the heart of God.”

Throughout his talks, Bishop Sim made references to the experience St Margaret Mary Alacoque of Burgundy, France, who over one-and-a-half years starting from Dec 27, 1673 had visions of Christ and his Sacred Heart.

Jesus Christ had chosen her as an instrument to spread the devotion of his Sacred Heart and (through her) had asked that the feast of the Sacred Heart be established.

In his first talk, Bishop Sim spoke of how the heart of Jesus reaches out to us, has a deep desire to draw us nearer to God and is attracting us towards him.

He explained in his second talk the deeper meaning of the four signs appearing in the image of the Sacred Heart as seen by St Margaret Mary (see picture) – the flame, the wound, the thorns around the heart and the cross above it.

He said the flame represents the warmth, strong power and energy of Christ in attracting his disciples, like the experience of the apostles on Pentecost day when tongues of fire appeared on their heads.

The wound was caused on Jesus on the Cross by the lance pierced by the soldier through his heart bringing out blood and water, symbols of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.

Touching on the devotion of the Sacred Heart, Bishop Sim said Jesus had come to the world as one who comes wounded and in pain.

As for the thorns around the image of the heart, he said these depict our sins. “Each time we sin, we push the thorns deeper into the Heart of Jesus.”

He said that in the visions experienced by St Margaret Mary Alacoque, Jesus had emphasised on sins and the sin of ingratitude, which we never thought was a sin.

“Every sin is a sign of our disobedience, our rejection of God’s plan for us. Conversion of sinners and by staying more and more away from sin, the Heart of Jesus shall experience a lessening of the pain.”

He appealed to Catholics to be actively engaged in calling sinners back to the Lord thus removing the thorns from the Sacred Heart. He called on them to firstly be committed in an on-going way.

This could be done through prayer and study that are necessary for growth.

The Bishop of Brunei also reminded them of the call of Jesus to his followers to carry their personal cross daily.

He said the way to consecreation to the Sacred Heart is by committing ourselves, to let the Lord be the king of our life and to see and obey his will.

Bishop Sim, in his final talk, offered four “prayerful practices” that would help SHC parishioners commit themselves to the Sacred Heart: frequently receive the Holy Communion; attend Mass for nine consecutive First Fridays; attend Holy Hour on Thursday nights for the devotion of the Sacred Heart; and create the liturgical feast of the Sacred Heart.

He said the liturgical Feast of the Sacred Heart was established by Pope Pius IX in 1856 as obligatory for the whole Church, so today as Catholics we can observe it with special reverence.

He also spoke about the need for an exchange of heart with Christ, saying that Jesus yearns to give us his heart and by doing so, bringing us back to God, for, we all belong to him. – Joe Leong

Malaysian novices make first religious professions

malaysian novices make first professions

L-R: Srs Laura Anggie, Sr Laurin Kowal, Sr Aemy Soo, and Sr Mary Sualeh pose for remembrance after the ceremony at the novitiate chapel in Lipa on 24 June 2019.

LIPA, Philippines – Malaysian Novices Aemy Soo, 29, of Sabah and Laurin Kowal, 28, of  Perak made their first religious professions in the presence of Sr. Delia Abian, Provincial Superior of the Daughters of St Paul, during the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr Rollin Flores, Provincial Superior of the Society of St Paul with several concelebrating priests from the Society of St Paul, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and the Oblates of St Joseph on 24 June 2019, Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist at the novitiate chapel here.

Among those present to witness the event were the neo-professed’s family members, relatives, friends and fellow Daughters of St. Paul.  The Mass servers were seminarians from the Oblates of St Joseph Lipa.

This is the second time the congregation witnessed the joint first profession of novices from both East and West Malaysia, 19 years after that of Novices Jennifer Han (Sabah) and Elizabeth (Perak) in 2000.

Simple lunch was served after the Eucharistic celebration.

Soccom’s YoM message reaches outstation parishes

A SOCCOM ADKK member sharing on what God’s mercy means for him and his family

Kota Kinabalu – Members of the Social Communications Commission of the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu (SOCCOM ADKK) visited two parishes during this year’s season of Lent with the purpose of communicating the Gospel message of God’s mercy to the people.

They were at St. Pius X, Church, Bundu Tuhan, and the St. Peter’s Church in Kudat  on April 5, and April 12 respectively, to carry out its Year of Mercy (YoM) programme there.

The Jubilee Year of Mercy, from 8 Dec 2015 to 20 Nov 2016, was proclaimed by Pope Francis as a special time for believers to grow stronger and more effective in giving witness to the mercy shown by God the Father.

Fr Thomas Madanan, the Commission’s Spiritual Advisor, who led the Soccom team in conducting the YoM programme, told the gatherings that for Christians, seeking God’s mercy and showing mercy to others is an endeavour of a lifetime.

That was the reason why, he said, that the Commission has decided to continue with its special YoM programme, despite the fact that the Jubilee Year had ended in November 2016, in order to convey to the people of God at the parish level on, “What Mercy Means to Me and My Family”.

This year, the Soccom ADKK members joining Fr Thomas in presenting the programme were Sr. Bibianah Dunsia,fsp, Ruben Sario, Gideon Abel and Joseph Leong, who jointly gave the catechesis, based on the Gospel message on Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), and to give personal witness on the mercy of God shown to them in their life.

The speakers invited the parishioners of the two churches to be reconciled with each other in their respective family by way of forgiveness and other acts of mercy, particularly during the season of Lent.

By way of its special YoM programme, Soccom ADKK continues with its mission to spread the Gospel message not only in writing but by word of mouth as well, personally sharing the good news of love and mercy of Jesus Christ.

They have organized the programme also as part of its outreach to parishes in the Archdiocese updating them on latest activities of the Commission and encouraging them to establish new or strengthening the existing social communications or publicity committee.

The programme was conducted in both churches on a Friday following the Station of the Cross and a Holy Mass. It received full support from the parish priest Fr Michael Modoit at Bundu Tuhan, the chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council, Joseph Akiu,   together with  the parishioners (around 150 people) who stayed back to listen to the talk.

Meanwhile, at the St Peter’s Church, Kudat , among those who attended were about 50 parishioners including 39 youth who were having a weekend camp in the parish to prepare them for the World Youth Day celebration on Palm Sunday in union with youths throughout the world. Some members of PPCs were also there. Likewise , dinner was served at the parish hall just before the talk.

Previous occasions when the Soccom YoM event was held were at: the Holy Rosary Church, Limbahau (Nov 11, 2016); the Holy Nativity Church, Terawi (April 28, 2017); St Catherine’s Church, Inanam (Aug 18, 2017); St Joseph Husband of Mary, Kiulu (Mar 2, 2018), and St John’s Church, Tuaran (Mar 9, 2018). – kkdiocese.net

Archbishop John Wong’s Message for Easter 2019

The encounter with True Love is in the silence

AS the Universal Church rejoices at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior, let us together proclaim “The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!”

It is in this Rising from the dead that has given significance to the birth and death of Christ. The world experiences births and deaths every day and many a time, these experiences give and take away hope and joy respectively. Yet, it is in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that has set the foundation to true Hope, true Joy because we are promised with Eternal Life.

When I reflected on the accounts of the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, I could not still fully describe and comprehend the immensity and intensity of the Love that is given so generously to us. “It is proof of God’s own love for us, that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5: 8) It is not just any love that the world is promoting and living by today. This Love gives of Himself (1 John 4: 8) fully and freely, even unto death. It is called the Sacrificial Love, one that is given willingly for the good and life of the others. Yet, through my own experience, I believe anyone who has truly encountered this Love could not ever resist it. Moreover, this Love would draw one to be committed to lead a life transformed in the way of Christ.

With the signs of times and urgent issues the Church and the World are facing, we see clearly that the love of the world centers on the interest of the “I”. During the season of Lent, I was very moved when the psalmist said “Save me in your Love, O Lord” (Psalm 31:16). It has drawn me into a deeper contemplation of what this Love means and how it could save. It has convicted me more and more that the only remedy to these issues could only be countered purely from the decision of each person to will the good of the other person, just as Jesus Christ has chosen to lay down His own life for our salvation (John 10:18).

Brothers and sisters in Christ, to be the channel of love, we are to first encounter Love Himself. For me, the encounter of this Love lies in the empty tomb. The tomb, to many of us, may signify darkness, sorrow, despair and death. Yet, J.R.R. Tolkein once wrote a profound quote,  “Christian joy produces tears because it is qualitatively so like sorrow, because it comes from those places where Joy and Sorrow are at one, reconciled, as selfishness and altruism are lost in Love.”

Likewise, I see this truth in the empty tomb. It is at dusk that the first sunlight will break through darkness. It is in the darkness of defeat, sorrow, despair and death, Jesus meets us there. As St Paul the Apostle wrote to the Ephesians (4: 8-10) “He went up to the heights, took captives, he gave gifts to humanity.” When it says, ‘he went up’, it must mean that he had gone down to the deepest levels of the earth. The one who went down is none other than the one who went up the heavens to fill all things. Jesus has Himself entered into this pit and won victoriously! Hence, we could proclaim “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15: 55). Love Himself has conquered death!

Today, Jesus continues to meet us where we are, with the same Passion for our Salvation. It takes only our openness to respond with a ‘Yes” to reach out to His Hands which has been extended waiting for ours decision to want to be saved. This is where we will experience the power of love through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It brings us true Joy, true Hope and Eternal Life.

In order for us to encounter this True Love, I strongly urge us to “Listen”. Only when we choose to stop, be still and listen, we would encounter True Love Himself, for He is found in the silence.

Two very practical steps to listen are: (1) to soak ourselves in the Word of God, and (2) to frequent ourselves to the Sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation.

The Word of God is filled with God’s Truth and His covenant Love for us. He wants to speak Love to us. Moreover, He wants to show us His tangible Love through the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation. When we avail ourselves to these Sacraments, it is in fact God initiating to give, reassure and restore us to fullness. He knows all that we are, but He remains faithful to love us totally.

Brothers and sisters, as we celebrate the victory of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us also give our honour to our Most Holy Mother of God, Mary. She was present all through the life of Jesus, convicted by the life that they walked through together, that Jesus is the Messiah the whole nation of Israel has been waiting for. She remained standing even at the foot of the Cross, trusting that God’s Will is fulfilled. She encountered Love, carried Love and lived with Love.  Therefore, let us continue to ask for her kind intercession that we, too, will encounter this Abounding Love that can be found in Jesus Christ Alone. Carry this love, live and share it to all.

We are redeemed children of an ever-abundant Father! Be Courageous! Let Love reach you, touch you and motivate you to go forward. Have a Blessed Easter!

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Cycle C

Gospel at the Procession with Palms
Luke 19:28-40
Jesus sends his disciples for a colt and then rides into Jerusalem.

First Reading
Isaiah 50:4-7
The Lord’s Servant will stand firm, even when persecuted.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 22:8-9,17-20,23-24
A cry for help to the Lord in the face of evildoers.

Second Reading
Philippians 2:6-11
Christ was obedient even to death, but God has exalted him.

Gospel Reading
Luke 22:14—23:56 (shorter form: Luke 23:1-49)
From the cross, Jesus speaks words of forgiveness and promises that the good thief will be with him in paradise.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This Sunday, called Palm or Passion Sunday, is the first day of Holy Week. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday are called the Triduum, three days that are the highlight of the Church year. There are two Gospels proclaimed at today’s Mass. The first Gospel, proclaimed before the procession with palms, tells of Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. Riding on a borrowed colt, Jesus was hailed by the crowds as they shouted blessings and praise to God. This event is reported in each of the four Gospels.

Luke’s Gospel is the only one to report the exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees as Jesus enters Jerusalem. Jesus’ response shows that this event, and those yet to come, are part of a divine plan. We hear this echoed again in Luke’s description of the Last Supper when Jesus speaks of Judas’ betrayal, saying that the Son of Man “goes as has been determined.”

At the Liturgy of the Word on this Sunday, the events of Jesus’ passion are proclaimed in their entirety. In Lectionary Cycle C, we read the passion of Jesus as found in the Gospel of Luke. We will hear these events proclaimed again during the Triduum when we read the passion of Jesus from the Gospel of John.

Throughout Luke’s Gospel we see that Jesus’ words and actions proclaim the Kingdom of God. This motif continues throughout Luke’s passion narrative. Jesus appears to be in total command of events at the Passover meal as he hands over the kingdom to his disciples. He welcomes them to the Passover meal announcing that this will be his last until the Kingdom of God is fulfilled.

As throughout Luke’s Gospel, however, the disciples show little understanding of this kingdom that Jesus often announces. Following the meal, the disciples argue about who is the greatest. Jesus takes the opportunity to distinguish the meaning of leadership in the Kingdom of God from the forms of leadership seen in the world.

Jesus initiates a conversation with Simon and predicts his denial. Jesus then instructs his disciples to prepare themselves for the events that will follow. His words reveal an awareness of the challenges that all of them will face in the days ahead. As the disciples and Jesus enter the Mount of Olives, Jesus indicates the importance of the disciples’ time in prayer, telling them that through prayer they will be able to face the challenges ahead.

As he prays, Jesus is tested. In the garden, an angel is sent to strengthen him and to prepare him for the events ahead. After this moment, Jesus is again in charge of the events and circumstances.

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is portrayed as active and vocal throughout his passion. When one of the disciples strikes the high priest’s servant, Jesus heals the man, an event reported only in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus stops the disciples’ protest against his arrest by noting that this is the “time for the power of darkness.” Jesus engages and responds when brought before the Sanhedrin; his words speak about the “power of God” that will bring about the reign of the Son of Man. When questioned by Pilate, Jesus responds with just one phrase; yet before Herod, Jesus refuses to speak.

When Luke describes the Way of the Cross and Jesus’ crucifixion, he calls to our attention many events that are not reported in the other Gospels. Throughout his Gospel, Luke has paid heed to the women who accompanied Jesus. Now, on the road to Calvary, Jesus speaks to the women who walk with him. Only Luke reports Jesus’ words of forgiveness spoken from the cross. And only Luke reports the dialogue between Jesus and the good thief. Finally, in contrast with the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, Luke reports no words of abandonment spoken by Jesus on the cross. Instead, Jesus, in full command until his death, commends his spirit to his Father and takes his final breath.

Throughout Holy Week, we will continue to reflect on the events of Jesus’ passion and death. As we meditate on the cross, we ask again and anew what it means to make the statement of faith that Jesus, in his obedient suffering and dying, revealed himself to us as God’s Son and brought to fulfillment the Kingdom of God.-loyolapress.com

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