We have chosen a special theme to focus on this Lent season - “Arise and Shine” – and it comes from the Book of Isaiah (60:1) – “Arise and shine, for your light has come, and the glory of Yahweh has risen on you”. We will use this theme for our Parish Lenten Retreat 2023 and for other formations, including Mandarin, Tamil and Bahasa Malaysia throughout this Lent season.
The Lenten Retreat committee has been organising, planning and preparing for this since April 2022. They have been communicating with Rev Fr Michael Payapilly and his team since then, and we are grateful to him for accepting our invitation to conduct this retreat. Fr Michael is somewhat of a celebrity priest, and most Catholics in Malaysia have come to know him since the pandemic when he celebrated Holy Mass via live streaming. Each committee member worked around the clock, and so far, everything is going according to plan, despite the rainy weather condition.
The Catechetical team has started preparing for the Catechism Camp, which will be held on Saturday, 18 March 2023. This year’s theme - “The Light of Christ” - was chosen by the Archdiocesan Office for Human Development (AOHD). However, due to the long school holiday break, we haven’t had catechism classes during this important season in our liturgical calendar. We realise it is a missed opportunity not to spend time with our students - teaching them about the season of Lent, the Way of the Cross and the Lenten observances of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.
In this season of Lent, we should arise from our spiritual slumber, and let His light shine in our lives. We must make the effort to grow in our relationship with God in a more profound way, so that this light may shine brighter. We should also stand up, get out of our comfort zone and radiate His light on those who are in darkness. Our reaching out should create an impact on the lives of others.
During Lent, we are asked to rise up by turning from our wicked ways and from worldly attachments. We are asked to put our trust in the one, true and ever-living God. Many of us have the habit of using unhealthy words, disrespecting the elderly, condemning one another, cheating, blaming, cursing, etc. We use mobile devices and the internet for wrongdoings as we are engrossed and addicted to the negative influence of the internet and other forms of media. Instead, I urge you now to be more concerned about the well-being of your faith.
We still have a few more weeks before we celebrate Easter, so it will be good if we start to amend our ways gradually from now on. Lent shouldn’t be a time for feeling down and out. In fact, it is the right time for us all to arise and begin to shine by letting our faith lead us forward to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others.
Allow the transfigured Christ to transform our lives gradually during this Lent. May His light radiate in our lives so that we can share His light with the world around us.