First Reading Joel 2:12-18 Return to the Lord for he is merciful.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 51:3-6b,12-14,17 Create a clean heart in us, O God, and be merciful.
Second Reading 2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2 Be reconciled to God; now is the day of salvation.
Gospel Reading Matthew 6:1-6,16-18 Jesus teaches that almsgiving, prayer, and fasting should be done in secret.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Today we celebrate Ash Wednesday, the first day of the liturgical season of Lent. In this season, we prepare ourselves to celebrate the high point of our Christian life, Easter. Each year, the readings for Ash Wednesday are the same. They call us to a change of heart and teach us about the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These disciplines are to be part of the Christian life during every season, but during the season of Lent, we renew our commitment to them.
The meaning behind tracing a cross on our foreheads with ashes (the liturgical sign of Ash Wednesday) is a summary of our Christian life. On one level, the ashes remind us of our origin and our death. (In the words of the prayer said when we receive ashes: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”) The ashes are also the sign of our victory: the cross of Christ. In his death and resurrection, Christ conquered death. Our destiny as Christians is to receive the victory over death that Christ won for us. We acknowledge that victory when we “[t]urn away from sin and [are] faithful to the gospel,” words from the alternative prayer when we are signed with ashes.
Today’s reading is part of the Sermon on the Mount. In the sermon, Jesus warns his followers against acting for the sake of appearance. When Jesus’ disciples give alms, pray, and fast, they are to do so in such a way that only God, who sees the heart and knows what is hidden, will know. Although our Lectionary reading omits the Lord’s Prayer, we can recall that Matthew presents that prayer as a model for the disciples’ prayer (Matthew 6:9-15). – loyolapress.com
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 15: 54–58 Thanks be to God who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel Reading Luke 6:39–45 Each tree is known by its yield.
Background on the Gospel ReadingThe third and final section of Luke’s Sermon on the Plain begins: And he told them a parable. There are actually four parables, three of which we read today. They are all about how to be a good disciple.
The blind cannot lead the blind. And a disciple cannot be a good disciple unless he or she has learned from the teacher. Everyone who is fully trained is like the teacher who knows how to cure the blind. Before you can be a good disciple and teach others you must take care of yourself. Do not try to take a speck out of your brother’s eye until you have taken the board out of your own. Finally, only when you have purified yourself can you produce the good works that the teacher requires. Discipleship asks us to produce good deeds. But to produce them requires the integrity and purity of heart found in the teacher. When people see your good deeds they will know that this is because you have a good heart.
The final parable, which we do not read today, is about building on the solid foundation of rock and not on sand. This is the only way to face the difficulties a disciple will encounter and survive.
Francis receives the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, meeting in plenary to discuss “Roboethics. People, machines and health “. Technology is useful if at the service of man, machines are used for the development of society and the planet “.
Vatican City – Artificial devices that simulate human capabilities “are inextricably devoid of human quality. It must be taken into account to guide the regulation of their use, and the research itself, towards a constructive and equitable interaction between human beings and the latest versions of machines. In fact, they spread in our world and radically transform the scenario of our existence. If we can also put these references in practice, the extraordinary potential of the new discoveries will radiate their benefits on each person and on the whole of humanity,” said Pope Francis this morning.
was receiving the participants at the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical
Academy for Life which is celebrated this year on the 25th anniversary of his
birth. The pontiff opened his speech by thanking the presidents and the members
of the Academy who – in these first 25 years – have carried out a
“competent service” with “generous commitment” for the
protection and promotion of human life. Immediately after, Francesco addressed
the plenary topic: “Roboethics. People, machines and health”.
Pope noted: “We live in a world full of contrasts, and we see a dramatic
paradox: just when humanity possesses the scientific and technical capacities
to achieve a fairly widespread well-being, according to God’s mandate, we
observe instead an exacerbation of conflicts. and a growth in inequality. The
enlightenment myth of progress is dwindling and the accumulation of the
potential that science and technology have provided us do not always give the
desired results. In fact, on the one hand, technological development has
allowed us to solve problems that were insurmountable until a few years ago,
and we are grateful to the researchers who have achieved these results; on the
other hand, difficulties and threats are sometimes more insidious than the
previous ones “.
“being able to do”, he adds, “risks obscuring the person doing
it. The technocratic system based on the criterion of efficiency does not
respond to the most profound questions that man poses; and if on the one hand
it is not possible to do without its resources, on the other it imposes its
logic on those who use them. Yet the technique is characteristic of the human
being. It should not be understood as a force that is alien and hostile to it,
but as a product of its ingenuity through which it provides for the needs of
living for oneself and for others. It is therefore a specifically human way of
inhabiting the world “.
this brings with it a serious problem: “Instead of delivering the tools
that improve their care to human life, there is the risk of giving life to the
logic of the devices that decide its value. This overturning is destined to
produce nefarious outcomes: the machine is not limited to driving alone, but
ends up guiding man. Human reason is thus reduced to an alienated rationality
of effects, which cannot be considered worthy of man “.
denouncing the serious damage to the environment created by a mad rush to
innovation, Francis recalled the message he sent to the Davos Forum in January
2018: “Artificial intelligence, robotics and other technological
innovations must be used to serve humanity and to protect our common home
instead of the exact opposite, as unfortunately they provide some estimates.
The inherent dignity of every human being must be firmly placed at the center
of our reflection and action “.
Pope noted that there is a very real risk “that man is being
technologized, rather than technology humanized: so-called ‘intelligent
machines’ are hastily attributed skills that are properly human. We need to
understand better what the intelligence, the conscience, the emotionality, the
affective intentionality and the autonomy of moral action mean in this context.
In fact, artificial devices that simulate human capabilities are devoid of
human quality. It must be taken into account to guide the regulation of their
use, and the research itself, towards a constructive and equitable interaction
between human beings and the latest versions of machines. In fact, they spread
in our world and radically transform the scenario of our existence. If we can
also put these references in practice, the extraordinary potential of the new
discoveries will radiate their benefits on each person and on the whole of
humanity “. – AsiaNews
The case of a
student in Harbin who used a device to copy texts hundreds of times sparks
controversy. The issue has been read 13 million times in social media in a
country caught between innovation and tradition.
Beijing – The case of a Chinese schoolgirl buying a so-called
copying robot to write her homework has got many social media users chattering.
girl, anonymous for privacy reasons, bought a device that perfectly copies a
person’s writing. This enabled her to avoid copying herself.
text hundreds of time is common practice and is considered essential to
memorise the classics and improve spelling.
girl’s mother, surnamed Zhang, was angered by her daughter’s trick and smashed
the machine. “It can help you with homework, but can it help you on tests?” she
was quoted as saying.
issue made its way onto social media where users are divided. Some view the use
of the device as legitimate, whilst others see it as a scam.
Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, the topic was read over 13 million times
by 19 February.
user, using the online alias Rain, said that she was a teacher and had been
using the machine for over a year.
explained that she had spent a week writing thousands of characters to create
her own font, and added that nobody could tell the difference between what the
robot wrote and her own work. – AsiaNews/Agencies, 02/25/2019
In his message for Lent, Pope Francis
warns that once God’s law is forsaken, the law of the strong over the weak
– Pope Francis is
calling on the faithful not to let the Lenten season of grace pass in vain, and
to live as children of God acknowledging and obeying His law, in particular in
regards to our brothers and sisters and to creation.
In this year’s Lenten message, the Pope invites believers to prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed, warning that “Sin leads man to consider himself the god of creation, to see himself as its absolute master and to use it, not for the purpose willed by the Creator but for his own interests”.
Pope’s Lenten message was released on Tuesday during a press conference at the
Holy See Press Office. The theme chosen this year is “For
the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God”
begins on Ash Wednesday, 6 March, and will conclude on Holy
Saturday, 20 April, the day before Easter.
us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch.
Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and
material goods with them”.
is one of the key passages of Pope Francis’ Lenten Message for
2019. Reflecting on a verse from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, the Pope
highlights how the season before Easter must be a time to “welcome Christ’s
victory over sin and death into our lives”, and attract “its transforming power
to all of creation”
to the faithful to not allow this season of grace to pass in vain, Pope Francis
says that if, “the Lent of the Son of God ‘was an entry into the desert of
creation to make it become again that garden of communion with God” that it was
before the original sin, Christians today are invited “to embody the paschal
mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives,
above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.”
Fasting, the Pope says, means
turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our
voracity; Prayer teaches us to abandon idolatry and the
self-sufficiency of our ego; Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the
insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we
can secure a future that does not belong to us.
we follow this journey, he said it “is possible to rediscover the joy of God’s
plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and
sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness”.
path to Easter, therefore, demands that “we renew our faces and hearts as
Christians through repentance, conversion and forgiveness” the Pope said
pointing out that it is a call that involves the whole of creation.
“eager longing”, this expectation of all creation, Pope Francis says, will be
fulfilled in the revelation of the children of God, that is, when Christians
and all people enter decisively into the “travail” that conversion entails. – Linda Bordoni
KINABALU – Surprise and joy registered on the face of the host for the
Christmas Open House, Archbishop John Wong, each time a visitor came up to
warmly greet him with the familiar salutary “Blessed Christmas”.
The annual tradition of hosting the Christmas Open House on
December 25 has been receiving an increasingly warm response from the faithful
and other well wishers over the years.
The festive celebration has been held at the Sacred Heart
Cathedral Parish Hall since the last four years to accommodate more guests.
Prior to that, it was held at the Bishop’s House.
As he welcomed his visitors, it was the opportune moment for
Archbishop Wong to remind them of the purpose of getting together to celebrate
He said “Because of Jesus, we celebrate Christmas. It is not just for food that we come
together, but more importantly, we share the gift of Jesus, who is born for us
“Let us share this “gift”, this joy with one another, and
give to whoever in our family, work place and parish,” added the archbishop.
The guests were treated to an array of dishes prepared by the
Catholic Women’s League, while Christmas presentations by the various groups
provided a festive ambience to send feet a-tapping.
At the same event, a
surprise cake-cutting was presented to Archbishop Emeritus John Lee to
celebrate his 54th Sacerdotal Ordination Anniversary which falls on Dec 27. – CS
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 As we bear the image of Adam, so we will bear the image of the one from heaven.
Gospel Reading Luke 6:27-38 Jesus teaches his disciples to be merciful as God is merciful.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Today’s gospel reading is a continuation of the teaching that began in last Sunday’s gospel. We continue to hear Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain. Recall that in Luke’s Gospel, this teaching is addressed to Jesus’ disciples. This is in contrast to the parallel found in Matthew’s Gospel, the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus’ words are addressed to both the disciples and to the crowds.
These words from Jesus’ teaching are familiar to us. They constitute the crux and the challenge of what it means to be a disciple: Love your enemies, turn the other cheek, give to those who ask, do unto others, lend without expecting repayment, judge not lest you be judged.
There are several similarities between Luke’s and Matthew’s report of Jesus’ great teaching. Both begin with the Beatitudes. Matthew includes nearly all the content that Luke does; the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel is longer than Luke’s Sermon on the Plain. There are, however, differences in language and nuance. For example, Matthew presents this portion of the teaching as a contrast between Jesus’ teaching and the teachings of the law and the prophets. This is in keeping with Matthew’s concern to address his predominantly Jewish audience. It is likely that Luke omits this contrast because it was unnecessary for the Gentile believers for whom Luke is writing.
Another point of contrast between Matthew and Luke’s presentation is the terminology. In Luke, Jesus contrasts the behavior of his followers with the behavior of “sinners.” In Matthew, Jesus contrasts the behavior desired with the behavior of tax collectors and Gentiles. Matthew concludes the teaching about love of enemies with the admonition to be perfect as God is perfect; Luke concludes by emphasizing God’s mercy.
In both Gospels, Jesus’ words challenge those who would follow him to be more like God. God loves us beyond our expectations, beyond anything we can possibly imagine. In response to God’s love, we are to love as God loves, beyond expectations and with a depth beyond imagining. – loyolapress.com
Purak, PAPAR – A total of 162 participants (62 males and 100
females), from various
parishes in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, Diocese of Keningau and
even as far as from the neighbouring country Brunei attended the vocation Seminar
held from 15 – 17 Feb 2019 at Pace Bene retreat Centre. This vocation Seminar
was jointly organized by the Council of Religious (COR) in the Archdiocese of
Kota Kinabalu which is currently headed by Br.Thomas Paul, SG.
According to Fr. Valentine Gompok (OFM Cap), one of the members of the organizing committee, the Council of Religious (COR), initiated this joint vocation Seminar 10 years ago as a way of collaboration among the various congregations serving in the archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu for vocation promotion. Five years later the COR extended an invitation to other congregations from other dioceses within Malaysia to come and participate in the Seminar. And for the first time this year, the Order of the Pious School (Piarist) (Sch.P) Philippines secured permission from the Archbishop to participate.
This yearly vocation seminar is intended to be an eye opener
and give a kind of exposure to the youths of the various religious
congregations presently serving in the archdiocese as well as other dioceses
within Malaysia or even outside Malaysia.
Six women religious congregations and eight male religious
orders were present to showcase or share with the participants about their respective
Charism and Mission: the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception
(FSIC), Good Shepherd Sisters (RGS), Daughters of St. Paul (FSP),
Franciscan Missionary of Mary (FMM) Sisters from Petaling Jaya &
Singapore, Sisters of the Divine Saviour (SDS) or Salvatorian, based in
Melaka Johor Diocese, De La Salle Brothers (FSC), Brothers
of St. Gabriel (SG), Marist Brothers of the School (FMS), Clerical Society of the
Most Holy Trinity of Mirinae (SST), Order of Franciscan Friar Minor (OFM),
Order of Franciscan Friar Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap), Order of the Pious School
(Piarist) (Sch.P) and Society of Jesus also known as the Jesuits (SJ). And
though not physically present, the Order of Discalced Carmelite Nuns (OCD) was
with the team spiritually. A presentation on their Congregation’s Charism and
Mission was done by Sr.Bibianah,fsp on their behalf.
The seminar started with the registration, followed by opening Mass, concelebrated by 6 priests from various orders. After dinner there were ice-breaker activities and then the logistic and safety briefing before the night prayer.
A talk on religious Vocation was given by Fr. Valentine, OFMCap, on the Second day. He explained to the participants about the importance of prayers in religious life and the 3 vows which they profess. A topic on Discernment and some practical and helpful examples on how to discern their religious vocation was also given by Br.Egbertus Jaikol, FSC.
to the large number of participants, the organizing committee decided to divide
the afternoon session on the second day into male and female categories. During
this time, the various religious congregations accordingly took turns to
present their respective charism and mission to the participants. On Sunday,
another talk on Spiritual life was given by Fr. Raphael, OFMCap. He highlighted
our connectedness with God in Spirit as we have been created in His image and
the duration of the seminar, the schedule was arranged in such a way that the
participants shared responsibility to clean the refectory and wash plates after
each meal. There was time for group
dynamics, praise and worship, personal and community prayer, an hour of
adoration, as well as allotted time for spiritual direction. Before the Seminar ended a piece of paper
with the list of the various congregations were distributed to the candidates and
each candidate was encouraged to put a check on a particular congregation which
they would like to know more and the next day return the filled up form to the
congregation concerned. This way will be helpful to follow up the candidate and
assist them to make further discernment in their vocation.
Jordan Juhakim from Stella Maris Parish, was grateful for having participated in the vocation Seminar. He came to understand better the life of religious priests, brothers and sisters. He said that he encountered various challenges on his way to Purak. He took a train to Papar and he lost his way. From the train station he had to walk for 2 hours 45 minutes to reach Purak. Notwithstanding the challenges along the way, it didn’t dampen his Spirit. Instead he learned patience and perseverance amidst challenges and he realized that Jesus is truly the way and the Truth and the life.
Likewise, Mary Kasmih from St. Peter Claver Church, Ranau, a first time participant expressed her joy and contentment for the opportunity to join in the Seminar. All the sessions had given her better understanding about religious life and she also learned many things from the various congregations.
After the closing Eucharistic celebration, Br.Thomas, SG, in his concluding speech thanked all the Franciscan Sisters, the staff and management of Pace Bene under the Supervision of Sr. Juliana, the superior of the Retreat Centre, who allowed the religious and participants to occupy the place for the weekend seminar free of charge. He also thanked all the various congregations as well as the participants of the vocation seminar from far and near who contributed to the success of the Seminar. It was surely a memorable moment for all especially those who participated in the Vocation Seminar for the first time. – kkdiocese.net
Gospel Reading Luke 6:17,20-26 Jesus teaches the crowd the way to happiness.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Last Sunday we heard Jesus call Peter to be his disciple. Jesus then travels with Peter and the other disciples. Luke reports acts of healing (a person with leprosy and a paralytic man) and the call of Levi, the tax collector. Jesus also replies to questions from the Pharisees regarding fasting and the observance of the Sabbath. In the verses immediately before today’s gospel reading, Jesus is reported to have chosen 12 men from among his disciples to be apostles. Apostle is a Greek word that means “one who is sent.”
Today’s gospel reading is the beginning of what is often called the Sermon on the Plain. We find a parallel to this passage in Matthew 5:1-7,11 that is often called the Sermon on the Mount. As these titles suggest, there are differences and similarities between these gospel readings.
When spoken from the mountaintop in Matthew’s Gospel, we can’t miss the impression that Jesus is speaking with the authority and voice of God. The mountaintop is a symbol of closeness to God. Those who ascend the mountain see God and speak for God; recall the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments. As Luke introduces the location of Jesus’ teaching, Jesus teaches on level ground, alongside the disciples and the crowd. Luke presents Jesus’ authority in a different light. He is God among us.
Another distinction found in Luke’s version is the audience. Luke’s Sermon on the Plain is addressed to Jesus’ disciples, although in the presence of the crowd; Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount is addressed to the crowd. In keeping with this style, the Beatitudes in Luke’s Gospel sound more personal than those in Matthew’s Gospel—Luke uses the article “you” whereas Matthew uses “they” or “those.” There is also a difference in number: Matthew describes eight beatitudes; Luke presents just four, each of which has a parallel warning.
The form of the Beatitudes found in Luke’s and Matthew’s Gospel is not unique to Jesus. Beatitudes are found in the Old Testament, such as in the Psalms and in Wisdom literature. They are a way to teach about who will find favor with God. The word blessed in this context might be translated as “happy,” “fortunate,” or “favored.”
As we listen to this Gospel, the Beatitudes jar our sensibilities. Those who are poor, hungry, weeping, or persecuted are called blessed. This is, indeed, a Gospel of reversals. Those often thought to have been forgotten by God are called blessed. In the list of “woes,” those whom we might ordinarily describe as blessed by God are warned about their peril. Riches, possessions, laughter, reputation . . . these are not things that we can depend upon as sources of eternal happiness. They not only fail to deliver on their promise; our misplaced trust in them will lead to our demise. The ultimate peril is in misidentifying the source of our eternal happiness.
The Beatitudes are often described as a framework for Christian living. Our vocation as Christians is not to be first in this world, but rather to be first in the eyes of God. We are challenged to examine our present situation in the context of our ultimate horizon, the Kingdom of God. – loyolapress.com
First Reading Isaiah 6:1-2a,3-8 Isaiah describes his vision and call from the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 138:1-5,7-8 A song of thanks to God who saves us
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (shorter form, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8,11) Paul reminds the Corinthians of the gospel that he announced to them.
Gospel Reading Luke 5:1-11 The fishermen (Simon, James, and John) leave their fishing boats and follow Jesus.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Last Sunday, we heard how Jesus was rejected in his hometown of Nazareth. In the verses that follow, Jesus travels to the town of Capernaum and begins his ministry of teaching and healing. While in Capernaum, Jesus cures a man possessed with a demon and heals Simon’s mother-in-law. After spending some time there, Jesus prepares to preach in other places. The fact that Jesus had previously been in Simon’s home and healed his mother-in-law suggests that this encounter is not the first between Jesus and Simon Peter. We can read today’s Gospel, therefore, as a description of the developing relationship between Jesus and Simon Peter.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches from Simon’s boat. Jesus turns to Simon and instructs him about where to lower the fishing nets. Simon and others have been fishing throughout the night and have not caught anything. Simon protests, claiming that such an effort would be futile. Simon ultimately obeys Jesus and lowers his nets into the deeper water as directed. Notice here that Peter calls Jesus by the title “master.” He already recognizes Jesus as a person of authority. They catch so many fish that the nets begin to tear; Jesus’ presence has created abundance out of scarcity, just as it did at the wedding feast at Cana, which we heard at Mass just a few weeks ago.
Simon Peter becomes a follower of Jesus immediately. He calls Jesus “Lord”—the title given to Jesus after his Resurrection—and protests his worthiness to be in Jesus’ presence. Today’s Gospel, therefore, marks a turning point in the relationship between Jesus and Peter.
Two of Simon’s partners are also named as witnesses to the event described in today’s Gospel: Zebedee’s sons, James and John. Yet Jesus’ words are addressed only to Simon. Jesus gives Simon a new job, telling him that he will become a different kind of fisherman. No longer will he catch fish; instead he will catch people. In these words, we hear the beginning of the leadership role that Peter will have within the community of disciples. Peter was chosen for this role. His task will be to bring others to Jesus. Already he is doing so; the Gospel tells us that all the fishermen with Peter also left their nets and followed Jesus.
We continue to speak of Peter’s leadership and influence in the Church today when we call the pope the “successor of Peter.” We participate in the mission of the Church when we bring people to Christ through the example and positive influence of our lives. – loyolapress.com
April 07 – Arrival of Infant Jesus Sisters to Keningau Diocese (1996)
April 14 – Arrival of Msgr Cuarteron in Labuan (1857)
April 16 – Official establishment of Labuan (Borneo) Mission (1857)
Mar 27 – Priestly Ordination of Rt Rev Cornelius Piong (1977)
Fr Russell Lawrine (014-9512131)
Fr Johny Raju (013-8025543)
Please contact them for ministry and spiritual guidance. They can also be contacted at Sacred Heart Cathedral Office 088-224741 and Stella Maris Parish Office 088-254321 respectively.
Bereaved families are to contact St Joseph Benevolent Fund office at 088-216321 or Thomas Chew at 010-9570393 for funeral arrangements and confirmation before making obituary announcement in local newspapers.
April 01 – Msgr Thomas Jackson mhm (1916)
April 01 – Rev Michael Henselmans (2011)
April 06 – Rev Francis Xavier Sint (1979)
April 13 – Rev Felix Westerwoudt mhm (1898)
April 17 – Rev Jan Van der Salm mhm (1996)
April 20 – Rev Louis Purcell mhm (2013)
April 22 – Rev Patrick McDonald mhm (2000)
April 23 – Rev Daniel Kilty mhm (1889)
April 24 – Rt Rev James Buis (1980)
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