We Are Challenged To Respond To God, Like Mary Did

KAMPUNG PANDAN:The Nine day Novena to our Lady of Good Health culminated on Sept 12 with an hour long candelight procession in honouring Mary, on her Nativity. The icon of Our Lady mounted on a beautifully decorated float led in the procession, followed with the clergy and the faithful around the vicinity of the

Chapel. They recited the Rosary.The uniqueness of the procession is that some of the residents lited tea-candles along some stretch of the roads fronting their houses and came out to watch.

Prior to the Procession, the evening Mass saw some 1,650 strong crowd participating in the Multi-lingual Mass presided by Fr VA Michael from Bestari Jaya, with Chapel Administrator Fr Lawrence Andrew SJ and Fr Mari Arokiam as con-celebrants.Large tents were erected in the Chapel grounds to accommodate the larger crowd this year.

At the beginning of the Mass, Fr Michael said it is wonderful to see people of faith coming far and near to celebrate joyously the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the feast day of this Chapel. “We come here with an intention or vow to fulfill, to seek the Blessed Mother intercession. We have come here to worship the Lord God. We have come to pray for our needs and others, for our nation”.

Touching on the theme ‘Incarnating God’s Love’, Fr Michael in his homily said some Catholics felt they don’t need the intercession of Mary, especially those former Catholics or other Christians who don’t like the name Mary!

Fr Michael added that we are gifted in the Catholic Church to have this gentle, beautiful Mother to take and care of us and the whole world. Mary apparitions here and there where she spoke about her Son, Jesus Christ. At Cana, she said ‘Do whatever He tells you..’ Mary never want us to be her devotees, but rather to her Son. She never said ‘I’m queen of heaven’. After discernment and prayers, the Church has brought up this title. Mary is the humble and simple servant of the Lord. Always in the background, never in the foreground. Always supporting her Son during his life and at His Crucifixion, to see His Son accomplished His mission of salvation here on earth. Mary continues to intercedes for us, even today.

The diocesan priest exhorted that many parts of the world, there appears to be no peace. Like in Syria, 2 million refugees are crossing over to Lebanon and moving towards Europe.Pope Francis has asked all parishes to open their doors for these refugees. Fr Michael said this peace of Christ not only for the Church, but for the whole world, for those suffering and for those in pain; to bring salvation to the whole world.

Further quoting from Micah, Fr Michael said you will receive inner peace. Jesus tells us through prophet Micah that I have come to give you peace that is everlasting. “People are looking for external peace that not lasting”. Quoting from Matthew 1;18-23, Fr Micheal said the Blessed Virgin Mary is mentioned that will bear the Saviour of the world. December 8 was the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and after 9 months on September 8, we celebrate her Nativity. A beautiful day the Church has set aside to celebrate her birthday, a beautiful lady who praises God all times.

Fr Michael said though her Birthday is not stated in the Bible; in the Protoevangelium of James, it is written about Joachim and Anne, their prayers was answered, when Mary was born. St John the Baptist telling the people to prepare the way for the Lord. Mary also prepare the way for the Lord for Jesus’ Birth.

Apparently Fr Micheal also quoted from the Koran, Surah 3 that spoke about Mary’s birth. Mary was dedicated to the will of God. The Hadis stated that only Jesus and Mary wasn’t touched by Satan. The Catholic Church said is true that both Jesus and Mary are sinless.

Fr Micheal told the assembly that Mary’s ‘Yes’ to submit to God’s plan and never a hindrance to Jesus to accomplished His plan to bring salvation to the world. She was always cooperative to her Son in His mission. Mary responded to the call of the Father. Today, we are challenged to response to God. The call of living today in Malaysia, we are called to be witnesses of Christ to cooperate, we have been chosen, set apart to take part in the glory of God, like Mary. To pray for Malaysia- the country situation is not good. People ridicule Mary, she went through alot of crisis and trials- when Jesus was lost in the Temple, when He was hanged on the Cross. We today have to go through alot of crisis in time to come. We need to surrender our minds and hearts to Jesus. Whatever we are facing – economy, political situations. Yet God said I will grant you peace through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Fr Michael called on the faithful to pray and fast and seek the Lord and ask him to take care of us in times of crisis, and always proclaim the greatness of God.

After the procession returned back to the Chapel, Closing Prayer and Hymn to Our Lady conclude the celebration. All later adjourned for a dinner fellowship.

Fr Lawrence in his speech said we had a beautiful celebration. He thanked Fr Micheal and all the other preachers for their meaningful and touching homilies and all those coming for far and near to celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary birthday and the Chapel’s feast. To all those generous donors, those involved in erecting the arch, all those involved in the liturgy and procession – my sincere heartfelt appreciation to all.

The Chapel’s Administrator added that Pope Francis is revitalizing the Church and is visiting America. Pray for the pontiff so that he can bring positive changes there.

Fr Micheal thanked Fr Lawrence the Chapel’s Administrator for his guidance to all.

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