Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Saviour. There are many important lessons we can draw from this great event.
A most important lesson is that of God’s unconditional and boundless love for us. The mystery of the incarnation – God becoming man – is about divine love in action.
“For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16)
Our Lord teaches us that love is not merely some lofty idea, or abstract concept. True love expresses itself concretely in actions. God did not just speak to us about his love for his people in prophecy but communicated it by entering human history.
In this way men and women would encounter God’s love through the senses; they were able to see, hear, touch and experience him the way we experience one another and thereby form an intimate relationship with God. The mystery of the incarnation represents God’s solidarity with us, who though transcendent, is also so near to us.
As we celebrate Christmas with joy, let us remember that Jesus was born under difficult circumstances to reconcile us with God. Having received the reconciliation effected by his birth, let us also share that gift of reconciliation with others.
Drawing from the lesson of the incarnation, you and I must be moved to action to bring about reconciliation in our lives. Let us begin with our family and the people around us. For those relationships that have been broken, let us be initiators of the healing.
I would like to share with you two exciting things the leaders of this parish have planned for 2019 that is in line with the vision and mission of our parish. One of our mission statements is, “To discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit to respond to the signs of the times.”
You can read the rest of our mission statements here: https://blessedsacramentkuching.org/parish-mission/
The Parish Pastoral Council and I have discerned the urgency to make our church a place safe for the young. Since September of 2018, several of our parish pastoral council members have been tasked to set up a team comprising members of the laity, to look into implementing safeguards for our children and the vulnerable. Our Archbishop Simon Poh has also urged parishes to look into this issue.
To start off, there will be sessions in the first quarter of 2019, to speak to different groups in the parish. Emphasis will be placed on certain standards that are expected from us. They will also address issues pertinent to providing a safe environment for children.
I believe our parish is the pioneer in our Archdiocese to concretely work towards creating structures for receiving and handling complaints, and for providing support for victims of sexual misconduct and abuse.
I anticipate a steep learning curve in achieving our goal. The seriousness of the issue demands for us to take action now, even if we realise we will not be able to get everything right with our initial attempts.
We will also be looking into improving and upgrading the facilities in Blessed Sacrament parish. This will greatly benefit those who come for the many pastoral programmes we run.
A team comprising lay leaders and reporting to the Parish Pastoral Council, has been asked to consult with parishioners at large to ensure that our plans and decisions for this project will be relevant to the needs of our people.
This exercise also aims to empower members of our community; it encourages participation and gives them voice in our parish development. This participation is also a concrete sharing in the pastoral responsibility of our church.
With the challenges that lie ahead of us, we can only make meaningful progress if this work is God’s. I therefore ask for your participation, and prayers for the parish. Also to ask God to give wisdom, discipline, diligence, humility, passion and charity to the leaders of our community.
In our endeavours, we additionally seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother, Mary, the Star of the Sea, who guides us to her Son. Let us be assured that if our work is aligned to God’s will, our efforts will certainly bear fruit – If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit (Jn 15:5).
On behalf of the parish of Blessed Sacrament Church, I wish you all a most blessed Christmas and a happy New Year. May our profound joy overflow to positively touch the lives of others.
Fr. Felix Au