MJD News Update #49

Sceptical times are already here. So much negativism in the air. Everyone is a critic. Once we were critics of referees, then we became armchair critics, now it is the world of online critics.

Jul 24, 2021

Diocese of Malacca Johore

Greetings and Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you, dear People of God. The Pope remembers grandparents and the elderly this weekend. The call is to appreciate and be thankful for these experienced storytellers. A special Mass is set for July 25. Appreciation, affirmation and thanksgiving is much needed today.

Sceptical times are already here. So much negativism in the air. Everyone is a critic. Once we were critics of referees, then we became armchair critics, now it is the world of online critics. Public opinion used to mean constructive feedback to authorities, leaders and institutions. But today’s criticism is Not constructive – it is more like bullying and bashing of anyone and everyone. It is unkind, vicious, racist, bigoted and false. The “likes”, the “hits” and the “comments” soar when they are sensational. These actions divide the nation, and distracte us from what unites us or made us Malaysians. The polite and hospitable Malaysian is becoming an uncouth racist or fanatic. There are cyberlaws, fake news laws. Beautiful words but they are not enforced justly, without fear or favour. So everyone exploits the situation, cyber troopers feature half-truths, and a wildfire rages with others adding fuel to the claims. Maybe it is time to see what good simple Malaysians are doing for their neighbours. The Good News is out there. Don’t fight fire with fire, or you get a bigger fire. Only love, mercy and forgiveness conquer evil.

1.0 A Thought for the Week:

There once was a bird who loved to fly. One day, while it was high up in the air it began to rain. The bird’s feathers became so heavy that when it tried to land, it broke its wing. Time passed, and the bird became better. It wanted to fly, but no matter how hard it tried, something inside stopped it from leaving the ground.

Day after day it tried, and day after day fear held it down. Then one day, a strong wind came and lifted it high into the sky. It opened its wings and the bird remembered that it was born to fly.

Sometimes you have to return to the centre: When you think that something is impossible, stop, relax, unwind, step back and slow down a bit … stop long enough to remember. Timothy was made to recall the gift he had received at the laying of hands, and to fan it into a flame, by St Paul. Reconnect with “who you are”. Rekindle the fire within you. Remember your call, your saving event, your God-given gift and the grace that people look for in you. Be still. Listen to your heart.

2.0 Announcements for this week:

a) The ECMI or Episcopal Commission for Migrants and Itinerants celebrates its 25th Anniversary of conception. All Catholics and parishes are reminded to welcome, promote, protect and integrate with the migrants in their community. Pope Francis gave us a way to look at migrants: not as ‘us vs them’ but as ‘a wider WE’. Let this theme become alive in us. Set up one-stop drop-in centres in our parishes or vicariates. Be an inclusive parish and church.

b) The latest on the pandemic. The situation has worsened. The daily new cases are exceeding 12,000 daily. Some have estimated that we may reach 20,000. The medical staff and frontliners are drained and depressed by the sights, the deaths, the helplessness and the shortage of space and beds. We need help, funds and volunteers. View everyone as a potential coronavirus carrier. Keep well and stay safe.

c) Churches continue to be closed. Only twelve involved with the administration are permitted. Online Masses, prayers, and chat and talk shows are available. Be connected. Be Creative.

d) Bible Programmes are in progress. Discipleship in the Synoptics and the Gospel of St Mark are facilitated by Fr Ryan Innas Muthu and Deacon James Anthony respectively.

e) The CWC-MJD50 has worked out the schema and the schedule for MJD’s Road to the Golden Jubilee in 2023. At the next Clergy Monthly Recollection, the clergy will be briefed.

f) A talk on Genetically Engineered Food organised by The Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei will be held on Tuesday, July 27. It is part of a series of talks under its PROTEC Malaysia-wide campaign 2020-2025. Sign up using the Google form provided (https:// forms.gle/dt5UwGr3YxBhS2Eh7)

3.0 This Week’s Question & Query.

The Q asks: Is Pope Francis a revolutionary or a reforming Pope?

He is a reforming pope, not a revolutionary. Why do we say this?

a) He has waged unrelentingly a war against the abuse of power within the world and within the Church.

b) He has advocated a Church whose central message is God’s mercy and whose model of authentic power is service.

c) He has abandoned certain significant signs of papal privilege by making distinction between God-given authority and secular projections of power.

d) He is seen kneeling and washing the feet of women and non-Christians and embracing people with deformities.

e) He is willing to tackle papal protocol, open up dialogue on painful topics such as climate crisis, same-sex attraction, abortion, capital punishment, and the global plight of migrants.

f) He is ready to apologise for the Church’s institutional failings and ready to respond to the fiery attacks of conservative critics.

The faithful view him as a humble man of courage. Pray for Pope Francis.

Thank you for reading. Let us continue to build God’s Kingdom together. Anger, hatred and resentment poison us and the people about us, and slowly destroy the community. There is no peace without justice, and there is no justice without truth. God bless you. Continue to be safe and keep one another safe.

Bishop Bernard Paul
July 23, 2021

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