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KOTA KINABALU – In his Easter message, Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom of Sandakan calls on all the faithful to rise from mediocrity, to strengthen the family, to preserve religious freedom, and to care for creation.
The message was released in March 2017.
Quoting Pope Francis, the prelate wrote:
Mediocrity is a sickness that buries us in complacency and never to be able to rise to make the leap of faith in making real commitment for personal growth. Ultimately Easter is an invitation to live in the newness of life which includes “going beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out in search of truth, beauty and love. It is seeking a deeper meaning, an answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our faith, our fidelity and our very existence. – Pope Francis’ Easter Vigil Homily, 2013
The bishop then called on all to “work hand in hand with ‘family policy makers’ in confronting the challenges faced by families today.”
He also pointed out the numerous challenges confronting the Malaysian society, one of which is the infringement on religious freedom He said:
It cannot be denied that the majority religion has the tendency not only to limit the freedom but also at times, infringing the rights of the minority groups to practise their religions as enshrined in our Federal Constitution, sometimes even to the extent that cases related to this matter are to be heard in the court of law for adjudication. In fact, freedom of religion is a basic human right as mentioned in Dignitatis Humanae (1965) which says “that all must allow religious freedom, a freedom which must also be permitted by states.”
He noted that” the lack of understanding and respect of each other’s religion has also contributed to disrespectful exchange of words especially through social media, which leads to tension and mistrust among communities.”
On the final point, the prelate touched on the God-given duty of all to care and protect God’s creation. He said:
“Tilling refers to cultivating, ploughing or working, while keeping means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving. This implies a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature.”
He concluded his message with the certainty that the Lord’s resurrection from the dead “shows us that we can get across from darkness to light. Jesus will warm our hearts and illuminate our steps, even in the dark moments of our life. No matter how difficult and challenging it may be, our Risen Lord had given us His assurance: ‘See, I am making all things new… To the thirsty, I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life’ (Rev 21:5-6).”