KOTA KINABALU: At the recent Feast Day celebration, Archbishop John Wong reminded the St Simon Catholic Church Likas parishioners to trust in Jesus and listen to what God is telling them through the Good News.
Citing the Gospel of Luke, the prelate spoke about how Jesus spent the whole night in prayer before handpicking His disciples. “Do you know the difference between a disciple and an apostle? What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus as well as an apostle of Jesus?”
He said the disciples, not accounted for in number, were chosen before the apostles. “This group of disciples were with Him…. stayed with Him, learnt from Him… (and) only then know the mind of the Master before they are being sent as apostles to preach and continue the Good News of Jesus.”
He then turned the table on the parishioners and asked them which ones are they: An apostle or disciple?
“The Gospel tells us Jesus chose very ordinary people with their own strengths as well as limitations to be His apostles. They were, in fact, very ordinary men but were being sent on an extraordinary mission by Jesus.
“It is because they trusted in Jesus, they followed Jesus, they stayed with Jesus and they listened to Him and learnt from Him, and did what Jesus told them to do.
“In order to have a good celebration of this feast day, first and foremost, we must trust in Jesus. After trusting Him, everyday… we stay with Him, spend time with Him, listen to Him, learn from Him, then we will do what He tells us to do,” the archbishop said.
VIDEO: The Year-in-Review which was presented at the parish hall on the feast day celebration:
The good news, he said, is that despite human imperfections, like the apostles and disciples, “we have the choice to be generous in our response to Him”.
“They can give excuses such as ‘I have no time’, ‘I am not qualified’, ‘I am too young (or too old)’, and ‘I am a nobody’.
“We can also be very generous and pray… ‘take me, Lord, and use me for Your glory’. We just have to trust in Him, constantly following Him, staying with Him, spending a life in prayer and communion with Him; then we listen to Him and know His will and do His will in our life.”
Traditionally, he said, after Pentecost, St Simon went to Egypt while St Jude went to Mesopotamia to spread the Good News of Jesus. “Later, they went to Persia to continue their mission but, unfortunately, they were martyred.”
In a rhetorical question, the prelate asked: What made these two men give up their lives for Jesus to the point of death?
“They (Sts Simon & Jude) found Jesus was someone very, very important for them in their life. They were also called to share the Good News that God is love,” he said and reminded the parishioners how God sacrificed His only Son out of love for mankind.
“God is also concerned for our well-being. In our life, do we also care about the people around us? And God is here, brothers and sisters… calling each one of us to join Him and His son Jesus Christ to proclaim the Good News to all creation,” Archbishop Wong said.
“We might face a lot of oppositions, temptations and challenges along the way but we must never give up doing good deeds in every day of our life.
“Instead, we must continue to allow God to use our ordinary life for His extraordinary mission,” he said, advising the faithful to be an apostle of faith by bringing God’s kingdom to those around them by preaching the Good News.
Among the highlights of the celebration, concelebrated by Archbishop Emeritus John Lee and parish rector Fr Cosmas Lee, at the main church included young people being confirmed and First Holy Communicants receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.
Meanwhile, at the parish hall, the invited guests, parishioners, newly-confirmed and First Holy Communicants, were treated to brunch.
Among the highlights of the post-feast day Mass celebration was the launching of the fundraising bazaar slated for Feb 4, next year, as Fr Cosmas presented a slideshow on the upcoming Catholic Centre.
The three-in-one fundraising event is hoped to raise funds for the centre as well as SM Shan Tao and SRJKC St James, with half of the proceeds going to the former.
Also on hand to deliver the opening speech was Parish Pastoral Council Chairperson Anne Wong and followed by the cake-cutting ceremony while the choir sang the St Simon Feast Day song. © St Simon Soccom
Last edited: Nov 30, 2017 to amend “Catholic Centre”.