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TAWAU/KOTA KINABALU – The Chinese community of Holy Trinity Parish Tawau experienced double blessings for the Year of the Goat. Not only were they privileged to have Bishop Julius Gitom presiding over the Chinese New Year Thanksgiving Mass on Feb 19, but also to have him making his rounds visiting the homes of a few Chinese parishioners.
It was indeed a privilege and a great cause for joy for the Chinese community to be visited by the Bishop, accompanied by Fr Johnny Raju, Religious Sisters, PPC Chairman, Seminarian Walter and some lay leaders. The visit is a gift of love and care, a way of reaching out to members of the church, building communion and above all enhancing solidarity.
The prelate’s presence is a sign of staying close to the people he serves, likened to ‘shepherds living with the smell of the sheep’ (quote from Pope Francis). The visitation as a whole is a source of blessing for the people and is an integral part of the church’s evangelistic mission.
Earlier on the Thanksgiving Mass was well attended by over 600 parishioners to thank God for blessings received and to ask for bountiful blessing for the new year. The prelate, in his homily, reflected on the characteristics of the goat and called on the faithful to do so and so be blessed, “As we observe the characteristic of the goats which is restful and contented, let us look at ourselves. At times we are trapped with worldly needs. This leads us to seek more thus making us moving forward to simply accumulate. In our greed, we are always kept busy leaving us limited time for rest.
Unless you learn to be contented with what you have at present, you will then realize that God always provide in all circumstances. As we observe the characteristics of the goat, once they get enough of eating they will rest for a while. You will regain your energy, refresh from your physical tiredness and strengthen your spiritual zeal once you get enough rest.”
The Archbishop underlined that the Year of Goat is a year to live Gratitude, taking the point of reflection from the characteristics of the goat, who knows how to be grateful to the one who provides and protects so that it can live in restfulness and contentment.
He also reflected on the festive greetings of each culture and the Chinese New Year’s greeting of prosperity struck him as one that is connected with materialistic concerns. To be grateful, one would have to be content with what you have, and not hankering to add to one’s material needs more and more.
He pointed out that in our festive greetings, we take great pains to say the right words for fear of wishing ill on others what is to come in the new year. To live in gratitude and in freedom, one is to be confident that God alone is our Provider and all good things come from Him.
Calling on the faithful to turn their eyes on the Good Shepherd, let us follow Him and heed His voice. He will surely take us to good pasture. – SOCCOM TAWAU, Julita/CS, Catherine Wan