MJD News Update #38

Troubles everywhere; depressive news daily; troubled children, parents, pensioners and daily wage earners. The ‘haves’ are fed; the ‘have-nots’ go hungry.

May 08, 2021

Greetings and the Peace of the Lord Jesus  Christ be with you, dear People of God.  So much uncertainty. Peace is what all of  us are looking for. Jesus said: Do not let  your hearts be troubled. The peace I give  you, the world cannot give. 

Troubles everywhere; depressive news  daily; troubled children, parents, pensioners and daily wage earners. The ‘haves’ are  fed; the ‘have-nots’ go hungry. 

Big numbers have foregone their Sunday  obligations and the call to community worship. 

The daily COVID updates are alarming.  The vaccination programme is slow. Currently, there’s an exercise to register for the  Astra Zeneca vaccines. 

1.0 A Thought for the Week: Lorenzo de’Medici, the great Florentine  patron of the arts, was very proud of the  spectacles he staged for the citizenry.  Among his many productions were several  amazingly realistic religious pageants performed in church. But one Pentecost, Lorenzo went a little bit too far: he used actual  fire to depict the descent of the tongues of  flames on the apostles. 

The fragile stage set caught fire and, before horrified onlookers, the entire church  burned to the ground.

Something to think about:

Is your heart burning within you? Is it a  passionate heart on fire? Pray for the gifts  of fire, zeal and passion. Pray for the gift of  Pentecostal fire but never ever try to manufacture it. 

The fire of Pentecost is a gift to be received. The other kind of fire is a false fire  and may spell disaster.

2.0 Announcements for this Week:

2.1 No reports of Covid cases lately in the  diocese. Malacca and Johore are classified  as Red Zones. Three (3) districts in Johor  ie. Johor Bahru, Kulai and Kota Tinggi are  now under MCO from the 7th till 20th May  2021. Refer to the latest Bishop’s Circular  for SOPs under MCO. Be patient with parish registration systems with the 30 persons maximum rule. 

2.2 Coming next is Hari Raya Aidilfitri,  the Ascension and Pentecost. Pentecost is  the birthday of the Church. But for many  parishes, everything ends with Easter. No  commemoration. No waiting. No prayer  vigils. No seeking the Holy Spirit’s unction. No exceptional depiction of the great  day. No wonder, we are powerless and  fruitless. It’s not for charismatics only. It  is our feast. We need the Holy Spirit, our  Advocate.

2.3 Various groups in the diocese are preparing prayer vigils to re-live and rekindle  the Pentecost fire. The MPI has organised  a nine-day Novena to the Holy Spirit. The  Triumphant Heart of Mary (THM) Intercessory group will gather for the Jericho  Walk from May 13-16 and end with Praise  and Mass on Pentecost Sunday. Online  Pentecost prayer services are also available. Ask for the Holy Spirit. Pray for clean  waters to be poured upon you; ask for a  heart of flesh and a new spirit.

2.4 Changes in online Mass timing for Malacca Johore Diocese. Mass in Bahasa Malaysia at 4.00pm every  Saturday and Mass in English is at 7.30am  every Sunday.

3.0 This Week’s Questions & Queries  The Q asks: “Nature or Nurture?”

3.1 Inherited genetic disposition or received upbringing? Both play a crucial role  and their interplay is significant. For us, the  people of faith, to reach full human potential, spiritual growth and development are  important aspects. Sometimes growth and  development look alike. 

3.2 Brian O’Leary describes a three-stage  journey to present our spiritual developmental; a journey that begins with childlike  “wonder”, of being led into “gratitude”; and  of becoming radically “available” to others.

3.3 Of course, the barriers to becoming  fully human are the many self-indulgent attitudes and sin, seen as failure to reach out  to others (not primarily individual sexual  transgressions)

3.4 The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius  #23 reminds us that human beings are created to praise, revere and serve the Lord  our God, and by means of doing this to  save souls.  The other things on the face of the earth are  created for human beings in their pursuit of  the end for which they are created.

3.5 What we are or have is God’s gift to  us; and what we become is our gift to God.  Nature and nurture meet.

Thank you for reading. Let us continue  to build God’s Kingdom together. 

Pentecost is near. Let us await in prayer,  seeking to regain our lost or dying fire. No  fire, no light.

Let us pray with our Muslim brothers  and sisters as they end their Ramadan next  week, which coincides with our Ascension.  It is important to keep safe and stay safe.

Bishop Bernard Paul
May 7, 2021

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