KAMPUNG PANDAN:- The feast of Our Lady of Good Health continues with a Mass at 7.30pm on Sept 9, 2016 with the sub-theme “Being Signs of Mercy In The Community”.Some 550 faithful came early for the Rosary and Novena half and hour before Mass begins. Fr Don Bosco presided the bilingual Mass with Chapel’s Administrator, Fr Edwin Peter as con-celebrant.
The Gospel (Matthew 25:32-46) was proclaimed by Fr Don. In his homily, Fr Don shared about a true sad story of a tragedy that befallen thousands who perished by the gaint wave, including the children of John and his wife who have lost everything. They overcame their grief and one day went to a nearby village which was also hit and found 16 orphaned children who also lost their parents in the said tragedy. Overcome by compassion, John and his wife made a resolution to take back these 16 orphans back home and started an orphanage. Their act of mercy caught the eyes of others in the village and volunteered their services at the orphanage. Through the acts of mercy, both John and his wife are living signs of mercy in the said community.
Fr Don went on to say Pope Francis calls us all to conversion in our own lives, so that we can be and bring the face of God’s mercy to the world. Then quoting the Gospel text for today, we heard Jesus said when I was hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked and in prison; you gave Me food and drink, welcomed Me and clothed Me and visited Me. Jesus told the righteous that whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for Me.
The Indian priest again shared about a story of a pious old lady who had a dream in which Jesus told her He would visit her the next day. She got excited and clean the house, put on the best dress, prepared dinner and waited. Early morning someone knocked her main door, she thought it was Jesus and open to find an old beggar asking for some clothes. She turned him away.Again at noon a poor beggar came for some food, but she got irritated and turned him away saying she has no time for him as Jesus is coming. She waited and waited and evening came and again a knocked at her door, a miserable man stood there , full of sores, but she chased him away, saying please go away, I’m expecting a visitor today. She waited for Jesus till night fall but He didn’t come. Disappointing she went to sleep and she heard the voice of Jesus saying i came three times to your home but you did not receive Me. The old lady then remembered: What you have given to the least of My brothers you have given to Me.
Fr Don said from this story, we get the message that Jesus rewards us for everything that we do for the poor and the needy as though these were done for Him. “When we see another person in need, do you treat them as if they were Jesus? Do we consciously treat people the same way you would treat Jesus? Fr Don emphasized that because how we treat others especially the poor and marginalized in society, reveals the state of our relationship to Jesus. because how we treat others reveals our heart true condition and intention.
Then Fr Don shared about the works of mercy, saying the practice of it is a sure sign of the real presence of the Spirit of the Risen Jesus in a disciple’s life. He said as we celebrate the Chapel’s feast of Our Lady of Good Health, let us feed the hungry; clothe the naked and shelter the homeless; visit those in prisons; comfort the sick; give drink to the thirsty. Fr Don gave several examples on what we can do like making donations to the local food bank or give our time in helping at a local soup kitchen for the homeless. Use our voices and our votes to petition and pressure our politicians to make the fight against world hunger a higher priority for our government. Fr Don went on to say we can assist the homeless by building new homes for them and the poor. Donate your clothes or get some from the local thrift shops for those naked and without. Raise money for other good causes, such like for a local hospice or hospital. He also said we can visit those in prisons to build friendships and to prayer, to give the prisoners opportunity to do penance and reform and to heal, while reaffirming their human dignity, as persons made in God’s image.
Exhorting further, Fr Don said there are some people who are not physically sick or illness but from social isolation. especially the elderly in our communities who whether at home or in welfare homes lived in isolation from their loved ones. “Visiting the sick” can also mean reaching out to the friendless in our local nursing homes, those lonely people and forgotten, who are deprived of friendship. Even some could be in our local parish, that we could have overlooked.
In summing up the pattern of life to which our Lord is calling us, Fr Don said we need to centre on the Merciful Heart of Jesus, whose love is poured into our hearts especially through prayer and the Eucharist. “Let Jesus Merciful love flows through our hearts towards anyone in need whom we meet along life’s way. Whether by deed, word, or prayer”, Fr Don equipped.
In ending, Fr Don said it is always possible for us Christians to practice these corporal works of mercy in our lives.
The Mass was animated by the Parish Integral Human Development (PIHD) Ministry which also comprising the Migrants, SSVP, Women Ministry and Special Needs. The Presentation of the Gifts saw two ladies in wheel-chaired presented the Bread and Wine to Fr John. While another one did the Reading. It provides the enlightenment for the assembly to appreciates the Gospel message and the homily that we all should be signs of God’s mercy and to reach out to the least of these brothers and sisters.
Fr Edwin who is also the parish priest of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in his speech informed that to cater to the elderly and those Special Needs, a special lane for their dinner was setup, as well as designated pews for their use. He also mentioned that in his parish there is a dialysis centre, opposite the Chapel catering to these in need and asked the parishioners to do more to reach out, especially those living in the peripheries, in their BECs areas and elsewhere. Fr Edwin also stated that the icon of Mary, Mother of Mercy (Paint holy picture) and Prayer Booklet and Holy Water are given out free.
Light dinner fellowship was later served to all present, held in the Chapel’s grounds.
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