MJD News Update #61

As we enter this Synodal Process, do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Listen to the Holy Spirit, then hear how to be Church, the sign of God’s presence in the world today.

Oct 16, 2021

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

As Pope Francis reflected at the Vatican before the solemn inauguration of the Synod 2021-2023, he said, “We need the ever-new breath of God, the Spirit, who sets us free from every form of self-absorption, revives what is dying, loosens shackles, and spreads joy.”

As we enter this Synodal Process, do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Listen to the Holy Spirit, then hear how to be Church, the sign of God’s presence in the world today.

Time to open our hearts: When Scott Hahn first met Pastor Rick Warren in 2015 and had the privilege of introducing him to 14,000 people at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in that year, he challenged them with the wisdom of God’s Word — and our own Catholic tradition — and concluded with these unforgettable words: “In today’s society, materialism is idolised, immorality is glamorised, truth is minimised, sin is normalised, divorce is rationalised, and abortion is legalised.

On TV and in movies, crime is legitimised, drug use is minimised, comedy is vulgarised, sex is trivialised, the Bible is fictionalised, churches are satirised, God is marginalised, and Christians are demonised. The elderly are dehumanised, the sick are euthanised, the poor are victimised, the mentally ill are ostracised, immigrants are stigmatised and children are tranquillised.

In families around the world, our manners are uncivilised, speech is vulgarised, faith is secularised, and everything is commercialised.

Unfortunately, Christians, you and I, are often disorganised and demoralised, our faith is compartmentalised, and our witness is compromised.

So what do we need?

We need to revitalise our worship, minimise our differences, mobilise our members, and evangelise the lost, and we need to reenergise our families. We can continue rationalising or repent to continue.

A Thought for the Week:
On or In? A rabbi always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, “Why on our hearts, and not in them?”

The rabbi answered, “Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.”

Wondering? What heart do we carry around? Is it a heart of stone, frigid, rigid and sterile or a heart of flesh, pulsing with the pulse of God, soft, tractable, and not afraid to break open, touched, renewed, refreshed and recreated? What we think is what we feel, and what we feel is what we do.

Announcements for this Week:

1. We are in Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan. We are permitted to gather to full capacity. But be cautious, open in stages, slowly add in more Masses. Strict SOPs and protocols must remain unchanged. The parish and their PHTs must be ready to handle the larger number of attendees.

2. The Synod has begun. We will kickstart on Oct 16, 2021, Saturday, at 7.30pm. Join the Bishop, the South Johore Clergy and all Catholics online. Take note that there will be no sunset Masses on Oct 16 in parishes.

3. The Pope’s survey goes beyond church-goers. It includes and invites all, the non-churchgoers, the voiceless, the forgotten and those on the peripheries.

4. The Catholic communities of MJD will invoke the Holy Spirit to lead the diocese, pray the Synod Prayer to conclude the Prayer of the Faithful, and begin to gather in communion, inspire participation and live your mission to glorify the Lord.

5. The 30th Malacca Johore Diocese Tamil Charismatic Rally will be held on Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021 via Zoom, with the theme: Hope: Believe, Live and Give. Join in the sessions with Bishop Sebastian Francis, Msgr Michael Mannayagam, Fr Kulanthai Selvan and Fr Devadasan.

6. On Oct 23, 47 members of the Kursus Evangelisasi Peribadi (KEP) 2020-2021 batch will be commissioned to serve their parishes and ministries.

This week’s Question and Queries. The Q asks: What makes me different from the rest of the universe? (Imprint, Fall 2021 Issue)

Are we similar to plants and animals?

1. Plants, animals and humans each possess the most basic requirements to sustain life: the power to eat, grow and reproduce.

2. Animals and humans have the added powers of being able to move on their own, use their senses and feel emotions.

3. In a desert, plants, animals and humans seek to survive. They seek shade, water and food. But a human operates on a more profound level. They feel the deep sorrow of loneliness, the fear of death, the thoughts of what lies ahead and anticipation of reuniting with loved ones, and in addition, humans may pull out a map, snap photos, gather firewood to build a fire, and pray to God for protection. We are His masterpiece.

Thank you for reading. We are made in God’s image with free will, reason and conscience. We are loved and sent to love. We are His reflections and we reflect Him. Let us continue “Building His Kingdom” together. Bishop Bernard Paul Oct 15, 2021

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