KOTA KINABALU: The St Simon Catholic Church Likas parish celebrated Mass for Children and Young People on World Communications Day which falls on the 7th Sunday of Easter as well as Mother’s Day on May 8.
At the beginning of the Morning Mass, parish rector Fr Cosmas Lee congratulated the children and young people not due to their own merits but because “God loves you”.
Fr Cosmas’ demeanour with the children and youngsters was of good humour and candid – as seen in the way he interacted freely but truthfully with them. The grownups were just as thrilled to be part of the Mass, as there was no shortage of laughter.
Meanwhile, recounting his earlier sermon to the evening crowd, he said God does not love us in “some distant way… like WiFi”.
“No. God loves us very, very personally, concretely and intimately. An example of His very personal, concrete love is that we have a father, a mother – especially (Mother’s Day) today.
“The kind of love a mother has for us certainly is the love of God.”
He shared with the congregation some of the questions he asked the children earlier, among them was: “Who was the first one in communication with you?”
“Your mother,” he said, adding that they should be nice to their mothers. “Because that was the first way that God chose to love you so closely, concretely and personally.”
“That’s communication,” he said.
Referring to the Gospel that day, the rector said that “Jesus made one earnest prayer. In fact, that was the only petition, supplication He made to the Father before His betrayal and arrest: that His disciples may be one. That they may be united – united not in any ordinary or earthly way but united in that unity of God Himself, God the Father, Son and Spirit.
“And so I asked the children this morning, ‘How do you know that your family is good?’ ‘How do you know that your father and mother are good?’
“I said, ‘If your father and mother are always united not only in happy times but in the most trying times, if they can stick together, that is the proof it is a good family.
“Good father, good mother, good husband, good wife – because they are united. United by the strength of God that is beyond our human capacity, that despite the issues (ie. who is right or wrong), and yet be able to be like God, united like Jesus on the cross. He could not understand why He had to die so unjustly, yet He said, ‘into Your hands I commend my spirit’; ‘forgive them Father for they know not what they do’.
“Today we listen to almost the same words that the disciple of Jesus (St Stephen) said before he dies. Because Stephen was filled with the Spirit of God and therefore loved – and in unity (one) with God until the very end.”
Fr Cosmas again recounted on his sermon in the morning as he spoke to the children and young people: “Any other proof that you got a good family? Jesus prayed for unity that we may be one so that He may be in us, so that wherever we are, He is.
“The next proof is: presence.How do you know your father and mother love you? They spend a lot of time together. Sometimes with words, and as they get older, I hope less words.
“I hope many of you, mothers especially today, that as you sit with your family, the father of your children, the father of your motherhood, you sense not just someone loving you, but you sense ultimately God Himself loving you faithfully, unconditionally and then you will be a very good mother, a very good grandmother. Not just based on your feelings to love, but founded on the unconditional, pure love of God Himself.”
Referring to the second reading on the Book of the Apocalypse, he said: “We hear Jesus said, ‘I am the Alpha, I am the Omega, I am the first, the last, I am the beginning and the end’. That is very true of everything that there is, especially on love, on unity, that God seen in Jesus is the beginning and end of all true love, all through motherhood.”
On World Communications Day, the rector quoted Pope Francis and said the pontiff “has asked the family to communicate mercy”.
“I think there are very few people as merciful as a mother… if mothers are more merciful, the whole world will become more merciful. And, of course, the greatest of all mothers is Mother Mary, the mother of God.”
Concluding his sermon, he urged mothers to turn to Mary and ask her to intercede for them, “that you may be truly good mothers.”
Meanwhile, after the Morning Mass, a cake-cutting ceremony was held at the parish hall in conjunction with Mother’s Day.