Malacca Johore Diocese News Update #170

The great season of Lent is over. Easter is in. The Resurrection is everything. After new life, we must prepare for the resurrection of God’s people, the Pentecost.

Apr 19, 2024

Greetings to you, dear friends of MJD. Socks, shoes and bazaar Ramadan complaints. Amid boycotts, firebombs, rejection of apologies and apparent silence of the leadership, two Muslims and a mufti asked for forgiveness from the non- Muslims. Open houses and overtures to heal the negative impressions have been initiated by individuals, families and NGOs. The Maaf Zahir Batin Movement is an initiative to rejuvenate the spirit of unity among Malaysia’s diverse ethnic and religious communities. This initiative signifies one’s resolve to acknowledge one’s mistakes, being open to forgive others, and paving the way for a peaceful future. As Catholics, be on the lookout for men and women of goodwill, who believe in unity in diversity and the ideals of the Rukunegara. Work with them.

Post Lent Times: Now that Lent is over, do we stop fasting, praying and giving alms? Are we Catholics for a season? Are we a switch on/switch off churchgoers? They are three disciplines that act against the first sin, the Fall. In order to pray, we need to turn to God in trust; in order to fast, we need to put away our desire for pleasure and our distaste for suffering to do the good; in order to give alms, we need to love people and use things.

Our prayer needs to change. We need to pray as if life depends on it because many lives do. We need to intercede for the people of the world the way Abraham did for the few righteous, Moses did for the Israelites, and Jesus did on the cross for us. Jesus promised that faith the size of a mustard seed could move mountain ranges, pray for wars and violence to end and peace to return; for the planks to be removed from our eyes so that we can be effective peacemakers, builders, and healers.

Our fasting needs to change. We need to fast like the people of Nineveh for mercy, like Moses on the mountain in reparation for the sins of Israel, like Queen Esther in petition to save her people, like Jesus, so that we might live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. Some evils, the Pope reminds us, are expunged only by prayer and the corporeal petition of the body.

Our charity needs to change, as we concretely love our neighbour in our worldwide neighbourhood. We need to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. We need to see like the Samaritan: if I do not step in, who will then? We need to see that “he is my brother, she is my sister.” Fasting, prayer and almsgiving is not seasonal. It becomes the way of a disciple’s life.

Thought for the Week: A little girl named Liz was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated for only a moment and said, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.” Seeing the colour returning to her cheek during the transfusion, he smiled. Suddenly he paled, and trembling he asked: “When will I die? Right away or how soon?” (He misunderstood and thought that he had to give all his blood to his sister.)

Lesson from a five-year-old: Scripture states “No greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend.” Many of us would go out of our way to help a friend or family member, but how many of us would give up our lives for a person that we love?

Announcements for the Week:
1. MJD invites all young and old, boys and girls, single young people to the World Day of Prayer for Vocations Prayer Vigil at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe Krubong on April 20-21.

2. The MJD’s Creation Justice Ministry in collaboration with Caritas MJD and, the Forestry Department, is organising a Save the Earth Initiative to plant mangroves in Kukup. All parishioners are welcome to sponsor yourself, others or the tree saplings. For more info, contact your parish Creation Justice Ministry.

QnQ: The Q asked:
Are organisations born to fail?
There are the unavoidables in any human organisation. Peter Drucker said: “Only three things happen naturally in organisations: friction, confusion, and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.”

So, there are things we can change, and they are things we cannot change. Accept this reality.

The great season of Lent is over. Easter is in. The Resurrection is everything. After new life, we must prepare for the resurrection of God’s people, the Pentecost.

Something to tickle you: “A Sufi holy man was asked what forgiveness is. He said — it is the fragrance that flowers give when they are crushed.”

Bishop Bernard Paul

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