‘God chose you before the world was made’: Rector tells 10 newly-baptised, confirmed and Eucharised

KOTA KINABALU: “God has chosen you as His own even before the world was made,” the rector of St Simon Catholic Church Likas said to 10 candidates of Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) during the Sacraments of Initiation, here, Wednesday.

“You have been longing for this a long, long time,” Fr Cosmas Lee said in his opening remarks to some 80 attendees, addressing the candidates’ four-month wait following the partial lockdown during the pandemic crisis.

“The one who has longed for this more than you has been God, our Father. He has been anxious because He has tested you,” he said, adding that the pandemic — the postponement — helped them be better prepared, more pleasing children of God.

Fr Cosmas Lee in a group photo with the fully-initiated while well-wishers take their photos after the Daily Mass on Aug 26.
Fr Cosmas Lee in a group photo with the confirmands while well-wishers take their photos after the Daily Mass on Aug 26.

“And he’s still testing you today with the weather,” Fr Cosmas said, referring to the intermittent rain that evening.

“He’s still testing you today with no ‘bunga-bunga’ (flowers and decorations). Unlike Easter Vigil, those to be baptised given all the attention of thousands of people.

“But baptism, confirmation and Eucharist cannot become less precious gifts. They are exactly as precious.

Fr Cosmas Lee lifting the host during the Eucharistic celebration. (Quote from sermon)

“Rejoice, celebrate these gifts of sonships and daughterships — His calling us, choosing us to Jesus by the power of His Holy Spirit to become His very own.”

Meanwhile, in his sermon, Fr Cosmas said it’s not uncommon for people to question or doubt their religious calling in life.

“I was in the seminary from 1965 to 1976 — 11 years — before I was ordained. In all those 11 years, although I looked as if I wanted to be a priest, like most seminarians, there was always this nagging doubt: Did God call me?

Fr Cosmas with some of the newly-baptised, confirmed and Eucharised as well as the congregation turning towards the choir loft for a group photo — physical distancing-style. (Not all seen)

“It’s a big decision to make. In a way, to leave the world — to give up your career, to give up marriage, all those things that are quite legitimate, to give up all these things to be a priest.

“But what if God did not call me and I become the most unhappy priest? Eleven years, there was this nagging doubt. I don’t know how many spiritual directors I spoke to in order to try and say, ‘yeah, God has called and, therefore, I’m good and okay.

“I asked this question until the very week before I was ordained. But on the day of the ordination, I could never ever forget the conviction God has called me. And I gave myself totally to God as far as I could with the help of the Spirit,” Fr Cosmas said, relating his experience as a seminarian.

Turning to the RCIA candidates, he said, “if you have those nagging questions, stop it.”

“When you come here, put yourselves in the hands of God. We come here giving God the gift of our own self. Make it a pleasing gift, make it a fragrant gift. So, give yourself because how much we give will depend on how much we receive God who will never change.

“Seize the power of God’s presence today. Let me give my life totally in the hands of God — not to worry for the future for He will not abandon us.”

The neophytes and confirmands are Beatrice Wong Yung Ying, Daniella Han Hsu Tsyr, Raphael Wong Soon Loi, Christoper Siau Hong Shin, Susan Lai Yun He, Christer Stephen A. Dayu, Natasha Elizabeth Song Yien Yie, Nigel N. Michael Stephen, Jenny Jeanne Lo Oi Ling and Jasper Liew Zee Yin. – by Audrey J Ansibin

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