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EQUIP YOURSELVES TO CELEBRATE EASTER



A group of seven students, led by Professor Mohamad Hasmimie from Universiti Islam Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah, visited our Church a week before Ramadhan for an exposure-based study program. We briefed them about the history and establishment of St. Thomas Church Kuantan and discussed the Catholic Church’s understanding of fasting and community service programmes.

 

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims, and this year, Ramadan began on 12 March. It is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar and is considered a time for fasting, worship, charity, good deeds, communal gatherings, and spiritual development in order to purify and cleanse oneself. Fasting during Ramadan is mandatory, and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. If observed diligently and steadfastly, it is considered a blessing. May Allah give all Muslims during this Ramadhan the strength and grace to observe fasting with full determination, and grow with Ramadan values such as forgiveness, kindness, compassion and generosity.

 

As we enter the Fifth Week of Lent, leading up to Holy Week, we are invited to reflect on how our Lenten penances and good works have helped us in our personal conversion and built upon our relationships with one another. For the past five weeks, we have been practising the three pillars of Lenten observance: prayer, penance, and almsgiving. These pillars help purify and strengthen our love for God and our neighbours. The season of Lent encourages us to live with simplicity and humility.



Do we love each other as deeply as we did at the beginning of our relationship? In our relationships, we all make mistakes and fail to reconcile, which is why we must be patient. Without patience, we may face friction and division in our relationships. Therefore, we should strive to be patient - constantly loving one another, and cultivate a forgiving attitude in the same way God forgives us. Remember, “All of us often make mistakes” (James 3: 2), so let’s be patient with each other and work together to build strong and loving relationships. Making simple and ordinary changes for the sake of our relationship can bring us closer together.

 

During Lent, remember to be charitable and merciful to those in need, especially the poor. Reach out and find a way to help them. We must persevere and remember the value of prayer in building ourselves up spiritually and mentally. Although failing to meet our Lenten aspirations may feel like a loss, we must not give up. We must remain determined to stay strong and focused, even when obstacles arise. By doing so, we can be confident that we will experience the transformation and renewal that we seek during this holy season.

 

This weekend, we are reminded of the psalmist’s plea to God for a pure heart - “A pure heart create for me, Oh God!” (Ps 51: 12). This should be our ultimate goal during this holy season, so that we may be better equipped to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord at Easter.


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