Malacca Johore Diocese News Update #74

Man proposed but nature and events disposed. The floods, the Omicron, the scandals and the people’s anger cannot be subdued nor quelled.

Jan 21, 2022

Greetings and Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you, dear People of God. Back to school. Back to the Year’s planning. Man proposed but nature and events disposed. The floods, the Omicron, the scandals and the people’s anger cannot be subdued nor quelled.

Time to persevere. Time to persist: Confusion reigns. No clear leadership. Too many leaders.

Too many statements. Too many inconsistencies. Conflicting stories and directions. How do we go on?
A Friend said: ‘Walk away from negativism’. Another said:
‘Do not be overcome by evil’.
A spiritual master said: ‘Be faithful to what God has created you to be ‘.
Persist! Persevere! The bad times will pass. Disappointments will give way to consolations.
As sure as the Sun is hidden behind the clouds, sunny days and favourable times will rise upon us.
Be patient. The Lord reigns. The Lord is in control.

A Thought for the Week: A Voice of Happiness
After Bankei had passed away, a blind man who lived near the master’s temple told a friend:

“Since I am blind, I cannot watch a person’s face, so I must judge his character by the sound of his voice. Ordinarily when I hear someone congratulate another upon his happiness or success, I also hear a secret tone of envy. When condolence is expressed for the misfortune of another, I hear pleasure and satisfaction.

“In all my experience, however, Bankei’s voice was always sincere. Whenever he expressed happiness,

I heard nothing but happiness, and whenever he expressed sorrow, sorrow was all I heard.”

Something to ponder: Are we real or fake? All our virtues can be a pretence, a disguise for the exact opposite. Generosity can be a covert form of greed. Note the masks we wear, the games we play and the feeling that accompanies our words.

Announcements for this Week:

1. The Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday on January 30, 2022, with the theme: Family Life — A Path to Holiness. The theme highlights family love, family prayer, unity, acceptance and embracing of one another.

2. Updates on the Synod Process: (Input from the Diocesan Synod Team)

a) Recorded 2105 responses (est. 10 per cent of MJD Catholics) from individuals, families and groups;

b) Reactions to Ideals of the Synod: Communion, Participation and Mission.
* Many feel good: grace time, affirmed, part of the Kingdom story, gospel values practised.
* A good number feel disappointed: favouritism, politicking, impure motives, language and educational differences, many Catholics but few disciples.

c) Four Different Experiences Were Noted during the Synod Process:

SIGNIFICANT: proud of the Faith, the Church and the Mission; the increased use of social media; the adaptation and acceptance of changes; the joy-filled missionaries; communitarian dimension.

SURPRISING: hairline cracks created by social, educational and economic differences; clericalism and fixed mindset. SCANDALISING: impure motives; cronyism; worldly values and secularism; indifference and favouritism.

SPEAK OUT: a new perspective; a creative space and platform for genuine growth; need for courage and prudence to speak out and act.

d) Current Hidden Realities in the Church Community: waning BEC gatherings, commitment and participation; parochialism and competition among city parishes; sociological impact of migration, aging population, small family size, job and educational opportunities etc; other recurring themes (weak homilies, language group struggles, weak pastoral care, money-faced and materialistic clergy and parishes, not relevant during troubled times)

e) Synodality Impact: Two Significant Growth Signs

* A greater sense of Oneness, more unity in diversity
* A deeper sense of “we are not alone”, not ‘me alone’, no more ‘one-man show’ mentality.

3. Clergy update:
a) Deacon Sixtus OFM, will be serving his diaconate-in-action at St Joseph, Plentong. Other responsibilities include being a member of the MPI Media Production team and Assistant to Fr Martinian Lee with MJD’s Social Communications.

b) Sacerdotal Ordination of Deacon William Pillai is set for February 22, 2022 at 10.00am at St Henry’s Batu Pahat.

This week’s Question and Query.
The Q asks: Can Christianity remain relevant?

If Christianity is to survive and stay relevant, we must welcome new songs, new expressions of the sacred through beauty, celebration, lamentation, defiance, and calls to repentance and action.

God bless you all. “Religion speaks of sin and guilt; but spirituality says “learn from error”.

Let us continue “Building His Kingdom Together”.

Bishop Bernard Paul
January 21, 2022

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