Living the Joy of the Gospel

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Archbishop at Mass

Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM came to live at the Stella Maris Secondary School today.

Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Julian Leow presented the Holy Father’s exhortation to over 150 professionals, religious and laypersons.

The event was organised jointly by the Catholic Doctors Association Malaysia (CDAM), Catholic Lawyers Society, Kuala Lumpur (CLS) and Catholic Teachers Association Malaysia (CTAM).

Mass preceded the event. His Grace explained that there are 288 articles in the Holy Father’s Exhortation. His Grace explained Pope Francis Exhortation that included the following:

  • That it invites us all to renew our relationship with Jesus and to encounter him.
  • That God is never tired of forgiving us.
  • We are to be 'Islands of Mercy' to one another.

His Grace explains that when we have little to hold on to, there is less to worry. The secret of being joyful is when we bring joy to others. To be an evangelizer we must not look as though we have come from a funeral.

  • To be permanently in a state of mission at our work places.

His Grace explained that this is not a call to force the bible down others, rather it is a call for us to live our life by the gospel for others to see. His Grace queried if we see the person or the illness, when treating or dealing with a person?

  • Life is still to be respected. The denial of the primacy of the human person is not an option. On issues of human dignity such as euthanasia and abortion, the church cannot be expected to change her position on these questions.
  • We should say no to financial systems that rules rather than serve.
  • Justice and peace should become our basic principle of exchanges.
To stress the point, His Grace quotes from St. John Paul II who once said, ‘There can be no peace if there is no justice and no justice if there is no forgiveness.’
  • Proclaiming the gospel involves proclaiming it to professionals and those in science and academic circles. We must encounter faith with reason and sciences to develop approaches and arguments that will encourage greater openness to the Gospel.

His Grace explains that there must be someone who made all things possible. Science starts from the known to the unknown. Faith starts from the unknown to the known. Science can only answer the ‘what’, while faith answers the ‘why’! Science helps us to understand. Faith helps us to believe. We need faith and we need reason. There are 5 articles in the Exhortation that speaks to professionals and encouraged us to reflect on these articles.

  • No one should say that they cannot be close to the poor because their own lifestyle demands more attention to other areas.

His Grace explains this with a quote from Brazilian Archbishop Don Câmara who once said, When I give to the poor, they say I am a Saint but if I ask why you are poor, they say I am a communist!’ So he encourages us to pray with the poor instead of just dishing out material things.

His Grace emphasised that religion is not private. Our faith is not for ourselves but to be shared with others. Inclusion of the poor in society is essential. The words ‘being in solidarity’ is something more than sporadic acts of generosity.

  • He encourages politicians to turn to God for inspirations for their plans.
  • We should have dialogues at 3 levels, With the State, with society and with people of other faiths.

His Grace explains that we must capitalise on our riches. Dialogue and proclaim peace. Be part of the solution.

  • Ecumenical dialogue - to bring Christians together

His Grace shared the experience of the Church during the Herald case where numerous other Christian and other religious communities came together to defend and support the Archdiocese while the case was being persued through the court process

At the beginning of the session, Archbishop Julian asked, if we can be rich to be a good catholic? He asked the participants to reflect on the question and the answer that we can be rich and be a good Catholic provided every other person beside us is rich!

The event concluded with CLS President, Allen Miranda thanking Archbishop Julian for sharing the Exhortation. He also thanked the participants for their presence and hope to have further events jointly organised with CDAM and CTAM.

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