Monday, September 21, 2015

Anyone who welcomes a little child in my name, welcomes me


Last Sunday’s Gospel reading from Mark 9:30 -37 was very meaningful as the message that I took home was very relevant to our lives today. I was particularly impressed by what Jesus told his disciples when he saw them arguing which of them was the greatest.
Jesus was very clear with his answer to that question, 'If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.'  He then took a little child whom he set among them and embraced, and he said to them, 'Anyone who welcomes a little child such as this in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes not me but the one who sent me.' 
These may be very simple words but are extremely powerful as they imply something is so rampantly wrong in our society today. Everybody wants to become first in everything and they will do anything to remain first but none are willing to do the right thing and be the last. Our leaders have become masters but they are not willing to serve those whom they are supposed to serve. In our own church despite the Pope repeatedly asking the priests to be the servants they remain masters of the people. They become of the cause of many people leaving the church and do nothing to reconcile with them. We too may be in positions of power but are we willing to serve those under our care? 
Jesus went on to demonstrate his point by asking his disciples to be like a little child who is innocent and knows or does no evil, whose heart is clean with no hatred for anyone. He asked them to see God in little children and welcome them into their lives.
The following video illustrates these fine qualities in children – forgiveness, goodwill and love which should become our ways as well. We cannot say we welcome God into our lives if we do not adopt these values into our own lives.

Gospel, Mark 9:30-37
30 After leaving that place they made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know,
31 because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, 'The Son of man will be delivered into the power of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.'
32 But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.
33 They came to Capernaum, and when he got into the house he asked them, 'What were you arguing about on the road?'
34 They said nothing, because on the road they had been arguing which of them was the greatest.
35 So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, 'If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.'
36 He then took a little child whom he set among them and embraced, and he said to them,
37 'Anyone who welcomes a little child such as this in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes not me but the one who sent me.'

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Prayer for our nation in crisis

Lord, our Father Almighty, today our beloved country is in total turmoil, social, economic and political. The country that we were born and love so much in going through very difficult times. There is economic and political instability, injustice, racial discrimination and massive corruption. There is blatant abuse of power and the breakdown of law and order. The very people entrusted to protect us are threatening to harm us. There is breakdown of our cherished value system. Our system of justice has broken down. We are now living in fear, anxiety and hopelessness. The country that we slogged for with the hope it will give us a bright future for us and our children is now turning into a place of despair and possible doom.
In this depressing situation we turn to you Lord for your divine intervention to deliver us from all harm, evil and doom. Enlighten the minds of our leaders to lead us in the right direction. Grant them the wisdom to do the right thing for the people. Grant us peace and racial and religious unity and harmony.
Guide our people to shun away all forms greed and extremism and lead them in the path of righteousness, adopting goodwill and love for fellow Malaysians especially of different race and creed. Help us to get rid of the racist tendencies in our hearts and replace all hatred, suspicion and jealously with love, forgiveness and peace.
Lord look on us with mercy and forgive all our wrongs and return us and our nation back into the path of righteousness and peace. Grant peace and justice for every citizen and make us embrace one another in the brotherhood of love and compassion. 
In you we place our hope and trust.
God bless Malaysia

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

BM mass and national integration

Recently I attended a Sunday mass in Bahasa Malaysia(BM) in a slot which used to be usually scheduled for English. At the mass we were told that in future there will be BM mass every month. The reason given was that by not using BM we are distancing ourselves from the mainstream of national development. According to the priest the use of BM in mass will go a long way towards national integration which I doubt very much.

More than 50% of the congregation consisted of older parishioners, with a large proportion belonging to the senior citizen group. Being a senior citizen, like many others, was upset with the change of the regular Sunday mass from English to BM. This is not because I don’t love the national language or the country but because I am so used to English in mass and BM did not bring out the same sanctity as English. I was also disturbed at the repeated use of the word “Allah” at mass which I feel was unwarranted and artificial. In fact am more comfortable using the word Tuhan than Allah as the former was more meaningful to me, being brought up to think and speak in English.

I do not think we are ready for the switch as we all still think and converse in English not BM. Why deny our rights to worship just because you want to change more for of political reasons than spiritual sanctity. Change to BM may be inevitable in the long run with the younger generation but why the rush to do so?

The intension of the church may be noble in wanting to integrate itself with the national aspirations of the people by using BM but must it do it at the displeasure of its older congregation? To me our younger generation is being left out of national development not because the church is not using BM in its services but more so due to the failed education system that intentionally isolated our children from the very beginning for political reasons. Many of our children today can hardly converse well in BM, let alone getting integrated into national development.

By converting to BM in our Sunday services, we are just kidding ourselves into thinking that we will be acceptable in the mainstream of national development. We need more humane leaders with greater wisdom, goodwill and tolerance to accept everyone as equal citizens regardless of race and creed and it needs much more than using BM in our services.