24 Hours for the Lord

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This programme is part of a series of parish-level Year of Mercy events. – pix by Douglas Yu and Joan Pang

KOTA KINABALU: To complement the home visitations as part of the parish-level Jubilee Year of Mercy programmes, the St Simon Catholic Church Likas community took part in a “24 Hours for the Lord” event on May 13-14.

The event started with an Evening Mass on the first day of the programme, which included exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, confession, Benediction and concluded with another Mass the next day.

Throughout the day, servers and parishioners visited the chapel to spend quiet time and reflection with the Lord. It was evident from the faces and demeanour of the participants how it was spiritually fulfilling for them.

At the conclusion of the event during the Mass at the chapel on May 14, parish priest Fr Cosmas Lee shared his own reflection, particularly in preparation for Pentecost Sunday the next day.

He said the main focus was “on the Holy Spirit as our advocate. The Greek name is Paraclete – Advocate. During this time of prayer, I felt so strengthened and consoled that the Holy Spirit is God’s own Advocate for me.

“So that in no way my rights would be violated. Today the words of Jesus said, ‘you did not choose Me, I have chosen you’. In the opening prayer… we asked God that we may be counted among the elect, the chosen ones. God’s chosen ones have rights, and these rights are advocated by God, the Holy Spirit, Himself.”

The Mass celebrated at the end of the event.

Fr Cosmas said while spending time in the chapel, he thought “how wonderful to have the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit would always take me to my right to the Father, my right to Jesus, His Son.”

“It is wonderful to have the Holy Spirit advocating for us, always bringing us to the Father and the Son – and protecting us.

“Today, we celebrate St Matthias. I told you in the beginning of the Mass: God never leaves us, Jesus never abandons us. He said He would send us the advocate and that promise is true by His appointing of the 12 apostles. One of them abandoned his office.

“But today we see Matthias being chosen by the Holy Spirit to continue the work of God’s mercy. We Catholics very strictly believe in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. It’s the way that God has planned, that Jesus has chosen to pick 12 people – so that you and I may be picked, may be elected as children of God.

“So Matthias was asked to replace Judas. He replaced Judas to bear witness to the Resurrection. The Resurrection is the ultimate of God’s love and mercy for us. He conquered, defeated death for us – what else can we ask God to do? He even defeated the last enemy – death – for us.

“It is the ultimate act of mercy for us. Like St Matthias, all of us are also chosen by God. I hope we will be witnesses of the resurrection.”

Referring to the Gospel again, he said “you see Jesus talking about being personal. He’s talking about the love that God has shown to Him. The person of the Father, to the person of Jesus, the Son. And He talked about He, being loved, loved in return and kept His Word. And He asked us to do the same: ‘If you love Me, keep My commandment’.”

He went on to say that unless the faithful are able to see God, the Spirit and the Son as persons and able relate to them as persons, “then mercy is meaningless – mercy cannot come in”.

“God says, ‘you did not choose Me, I chose you’. ‘I chose you and to make you know about all these so that My joy may be complete’… That you’d know that He is life for you, that you’d know that He has told you everything about His vulnerability – His love and mercy.

“Through the apostles, all of us have been chosen to enter into this personal relationship with God, a relationship that is founded on love and mercy. Be proud that you’re chosen. Be proud that the apostles are still with us, led by the Holy Father and the bishops.

“Be proud that we’re still His, and we now offer all our prayers in this Eucharist that the Year of Mercy may be fruitful among our people – that more and more would begin to know about the love and mercy of God, would experience Him and become like children of God, and become merciful like the Father,” he said at the end of his sermon.

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