MJD News Update #28D

The prophet said “tear your hearts, not your garments”. The psalmist cried “what I want is a contrite spirit, not sacrifice”.

Feb 20, 2021

Greetings and Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you, dear People of God.

LENT IS HERE AGAIN. The prophet said “tear your hearts, not your garments”. The psalmist cried “what I want is a contrite spirit, not sacrifice”. This holy season calls you to the conversion of the heart.

1.0 A Thought for The Week: Disciples of Jesus Pitch In. When the pastor became ill, the small rural community gathered to pray for his recovery and ask for God’s guidance during his lengthy absence. Having first looked at all their pastor’s many responsibilities, those present took an inventory of their skills and talents.

“I could take over the capital campaign for the new educational centre,” offered an accountant.

“I’d be willing to lead Bible study,” said a retired librarian.

“I could train lectors and help the kids with the Christmas pageant,” volunteered an amateur actor.

“We’d like to visit the home-bound and help with social care,” stated a middle-aged couple, recent empty-nesters.

“And I’ll get an email list together and give everyone updates about what’s happening at the parish,” said a young computer programmer.

Something that many of us do not want to consider: They pitched in. 
“To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” (1 Corinthians 12:7) Building the Church is a collective, collaborative effort. Our unique gifts, skills and talents are not just for our  own benefit but for the sake of all God’s people (and that’s everybody)!

What are your gifts? What are your skills?

How can you use them to pitch in and help build the church and the communion of families?

How can you invest them even further and be an instrument to heal the world and the earth with others who can help?

There is no ready-made church. We are the living bricks of God’s House. We chip in or it will remain unbuilt.

2.0 Announcements for This Week:

2.1 The MCO has been extended till March 4, with Malacca classified as CMCO and Johore as MCO. Masses will continue within the provisions, ie one third capacity, with SOPs till 10.00pm for Malacca; and only 30 pax at Mass between 6.00am and 2.00pm for Johore.

2.2 Lenten Message 2021 from Pope Francis is entitled Renewing Faith, Hope and Love. The practices of fasting, prayer and almsgiving must convert our hearts. Conversion means

a) renewing our faith, which is seeing the truth that frees us to let go our preconceived ideas of self, others and the poor; 

b) renewing our hope is seeing the God of grace at work in our history in our prayer; and

c) renewing our love is giving our five loaves and two fishes to the suffering, the abandoned and the fearful during this time of pandemic; and recognising the poor and reassuring them that they are loved by God.

2.3 The COVID 19 Vaccination Exercise is to begin in March. Am I going to say YES or NO to it?

a) Do I have the right NOT to be vaccinated on the grounds of “conscience”?  
YES. However, the assumption here is that the conscience is fully formed and informed. In times of doubt, turn to the Magisterium, the Teaching Office of the Catholic Church for further clarity.

b) Can I still contribute to the common good if I am unable to receive the vaccination for medical or personal reasons?
YES. You must do your utmost to avoid infection by other protective means (masks, face shields, physical distancing and sanitising) and appropriate behaviour to avoid becoming vehicles of transmission or infectious agents to others, especially the vulnerable.

2.4 Coming Up Next:
a) On March 14, 2021 (8.00pm10.00pm): the Diocesan Family Life Ministry (DFLM) has arranged for a Zoom session with  Dr Joseph Jacob, a geriatrician and consultant psychiatrist  from Kuala Lumpur, to speak on The Pandemic Stress and Coping Among the Elderly. Contact Deacon Leslie Petrus or DFLM for more information.

b) From March 20-25, the first ever National Online Life In The Spirit Seminar, organised by Charis Malaysia, with Bishop Sebastian, for all Catholics and RCIA candidates (above the age of 19). Register using the Google Forms found in the link provided. Renew and re-ignite your faith.

3.0 This Week’s Q & Q. The Q asks: Are there ways of knowing if one is alive in God?   There are seven characteristics of being alive in God.

1. They MOVE: there is dynamism, they are self-motivated and spread out.

2. They BREATHE: their oxygen is God, they depend on Him.

3. They SENSE: they feel pain and needs, they know when to give the good news.

4. They GROW: they cause things to flourish, they let God give the increase or life.

5. They REPRODUCE: they make disciples, feed the lambs and sheep, extend communities.

6. They CLEANSE: they remove sins and toxins, they are faithful to on-going disciplines.

7. They NOURISH: they feed on the Word, the Eucharist, and the Sacraments, their food is to do God’s will, they obey the Bread of Life.

Living organisms reflect these functions or characteristics. ARE YOU ALIVE? True Christians reflect their Master, the LIFE-GIVER.

Thank you for reading. Let us continue to build God’s Kingdom together. Another week to make a difference. God bless you. Take care. Be safe.

Bishop Bernard Paul
February 19, 2021

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