Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year 2014 – Reflections

 Following Pope Francis in becoming more Christ-like  
As we leave the year2013 and step into 2014 it is timely for us as Christians to pause to reflect on our experiences of the past year so as to enter the new year with greater hope and zeal to do what Jesus commanded us.
Two major events in 2013 were significant for the church locally and worldwide. The first was the Allah issue in our country. While the whole world, including the Muslim world, accepts the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims, our government and our judiciary, refuse to grant that freedom for us in Malaysia. In fact a simple issue has been turned into a major political one that has adversely affected the Muslim-Christian relationship in the country and threatens the peace and harmony between the majority Muslims and minority Christians in the country.
It is extremely sad that our judiciary had succumbed to the pressures of their political masters to totally disregard all the historical and legal facts that favour us in our fight to safeguard our religious and constitutional rights that are enshrined in the Federal Constitution and clear for everyone to see.
The Christians must be commended for their patience and willingness to take blows of injustice peacefully without hatred for their fellow Muslim brothers.This action of Christians is indeed Christ-like who took all the blows before his death with love and compassion,even forgiving all those who struck him mercilessly to death.
The Allah issue is just the tip of the iceberg, as the bigger issue at stake is not religious but political. The fear of proselytization of Malay Muslims by Christian Bumiputras from Sabah and Sarawak whose population in Peninsula is increasing steadily is causing shivers to Umno which has a strong hold on the Malay Muslims in the country. Any dilution of this Malay-Muslim population will be a severe blow to its strength in the federal government. Therefore it has to go all out to stop this influence of Christians on the Malay Muslims.Umno is least bothered about the Chinese and Indian Christians as they know the Malays will not be significantly affected by them.
The Muslim-Christian relation has come to a dangerous standoff that must be diffused with care.One party must give in and the question is who should be that one who can swallow their pride and give in for the sake of greater peace and harmony in the country.
Will the year 2014 be any different for inter-religious harmony?It all depends on the moderate Muslims in the country who make up a mere 10% of the Muslim population.Can the Christians appeal to this minority who are sympathetic to their to champion their cause for religious freedom? Will the moderate Muslim Malays rise up and try to influence their brother Muslims to get rid of the unfounded fear of their fellow Christian Malaysians?
What more can we do to regain our rights? As true followers of Christ we cannot fight them by confrontation, we cannot beat by force them but can only win them over with love. Are we prepared to do that? The answer depends very much on us and the Allah issue is not that matters as there are much more important issues at stake for us Christians and other non-Muslims in the country.
The other important development in the Church in 2013 was the election of Pope Francis as the new Pope of the Catholic Church. Although a relatively unknown figure in the Vatican hierarchy, Pope Francis very quickly moved to put a his stamp on the Church with his concern for the poor and marginalised who were long forgotten by the church.His election comes at a time when our Catholic Church was going through some very difficult times,leading to a real crisis of confidence in the world community.His simplicity,humilty and down to earth attitude touched the hearts of millions around the world both in and outside the church.
Pope Francis gave his up luxurious life in the ‘Pope’s  residential palace’, the bulletproof Pope mobile preferring instead to drive around himself in a second hand car, dines with the poor man from streets, hugs and kisses the sick and disabled,forgives sinners saying “who am I to judge them?”, tells priests and bishops to go down to the people especially ‘rebels’ and sinners,personally calls those who write to him for help and visits the slums and illegal immigrant camps.These Christ-like revolutionary actions earned him the TIME’s Person of the Year Award for 2013 describing him as the pope who pulled the Church out of the palace and brought it onto the streets.
As Christians we must not just write off these actions of the Holy Father as a one off phenomenon that is personal. God has sent him for a purpose which we must all reflect on.What message is God trying to convey to us through Pope Francis?His simplicity,his humility and his love for those in pain and suffering should inspire us to adopt those virtues in our own lives.If these are not Christ-like what are they?
At a time when the people are losing confidence in the Church for failing to uphold the principles of Jesus in a highly materialistic modern world that is question the very existence of God, Pope Francis is taking us and the Church into a new era,an era to restore its lost credibilities.Will he succeed in such an hostile and sinful environment?
 The year 2014 promises some exciting times ahead with Pope Francis leading the way carrying his new banner bearing the words – The Church must be poor. As we move into 2014,let us follow the leadership of our Holy Father in becoming more Christ-like in all we do and say.It is not enough to just to read or preach His Word  but to live by the Word.We too much strive to become a little poorer in wealth but richer in love.
Let us build a Church that takes care of the needs of all the parishioners, poor and rich alike, regardless of  whether they are active, inactive or even lapsed as they are all children of God who need to be kept intact in His flock. 

Wishing all a Peaceful  and Meaningful New Year

Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy New Year to TBCians

to all 
TBC members, past and present

Thank you for all your support and encouragement for all activities in 2013.
For any ill-feelings or misunderstanding caused in the course of our work we are deeply sorry.

Building God's Kingdom is no easy task as we all know by now
We have to take the blows and insults as they come
For doing what we feel is right
Let's not give up but persevere with HOPE and patience to build His Kingdom here among us.
With His divine blessings we will succeed

May God bless us and out TBC

Dr.Chris & Joice

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas reflections 2013

Jesus is born in hearts that are humble and poor 
Jesus born in a stable meant for animals
We are now few days from Christmas and many are of us may be busy to celebrate this important day in ways unique to each of us. Parties, dinners and drinks are all part of the celebrations. Many too during this season of Christmas commonly undertake works of charity, visiting orphanages and old folk’s homes with food, gifts and cash. Many of us become very generous during Christmas, which is indeed very encouraging. It is only right and proper for us to celebrate this auspicious day with great joy, but it may also be pertinent for us to reflect on what more should    Jesus born in a stable meant for animals
Christmas mean to us. What does the birth of Jesus mean to us who call ourselves to be his followers?
It is extremely significant that Jesus chose to be born in the wilderness in a stable meant for sheep in the presence of poor shepherds who kept watch over their flock. He could have chosen to be born in a palace among kings and princes, but no, he chose the most humble settings. What was the message he was sending to us by preferring such a poor place to be born? If we want Jesus to be born in us, our hearts too must be humble and poor like the stable in Bethlehem.
Today with a highly sophisticated and technologically advanced world if Jesus were to be born where will he choose to do so? Will it be in a five-star private hospital in a highly developed country or in the slums of a poor underdeveloped and war-torn third world country?
However advanced we are his choice of a poor environment is very significant as it tells us what we should do despite our advancements and wealth in 21st century. Poor and marginalized societies are still there in many places even in rich developed countries and they are there to stay as long as man continues to be driven by greed, selfishness and hate for one another.
In a world that is so fast moving and materialistic today, we tend to forget many things; our humble past and the hard way we have come to be what we are today. We lose touch with the plight of those who do not have food to eat, house to stay and no money for education and healthcare. We forget the many who are suffering from incurable illness, in death beds and those hit by some form of tragedy, natural or man-made. We forget the children without parents and whose families are broken by divorce and infighting among siblings. We forget the elderly sitting in loneliness in old folk’s homes, hospitals and even imprisoned in their own homes where nobody has any time for them.
By being born to poor parents and under impoverished surroundings Jesus may be telling us that He is in the midst of the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the sick and those suffering in pain of sorts. He is telling us to look for him in these people during this season of his birth. It is in reaching out to them can we meet Jesus during this Christmas. As Pope Francis says, Christmas is our opportunity to encounter Jesus in these unfortunate brethren of His.
In the midst of our celebrations of the birth of Jesus, let us pause a little to see where are heading. Let us include the poor and suffering in our celebrations so that they too can experience the joy of the birth of our Savior.

A blessed and meaningful Christmas to all

Video Reflection of Christmas 2013


Monday, December 16, 2013

A tribute to Pope Francis on his 77th. birthday

A beacon of hope

An ordinary man, an extraordinary Pope

At a time when the world is in utter chaos with violence, hate and lawlessness. When long cherished moral values are fast eroding from the lives of man. When God is increasingly believed to be non-existent or ‘dead”.
When humanity is losing hope for cure for its ills and even the church is in disarray, standing ashamed by its scandals and misappropriations. When its flock is fast losing its direction as a result of misguided shepherds
He has come in like a stranger from the end of the world where few choose to tread. His debut into the trouble world arena is indeed a miracle of God which few can understand
He took over the helms of an age-old Church that was in ruins, fast losing credibility and relevance in the lives of man. He is not God or a saint but his actions are God-like and saintly which has caught the admiration of many, believers and non-believers alike
He pulled the church out of the palace where many stayed in comfort and luxury and took it to the streets among the poor and despised, saying that the Church must be poor like Jesus. For he was he was conferred  the Person of the Year Award
His humility and simplicity has touched the hearts of many especially the downtrodden and marginalized in a world ruled by money, lust and power. He has brought love and comfort to those in pain and dying. His down-to-earth ways have  impressed and moved many within and outside the Church
Within such a short period he managed to bring a little hope for a world that was at the brim of despair where truth and justice appear to be worthless and dying. He is indeed a beacon of hope for the Church and the world
On this 77th birthday we unite with millions around the world to pray that God grant him many more years of good health and vitality. We pray God grant him the wisdom and courage to continue promoting His message of love and goodwill among all men.
We are sure Our Lady, to whom he is so devoted, will always be there at his side to guide and guard him in all that he does.

Papa Francesca we love you and Happy Birthday