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Fr Nick Stephen: Being a witness of Christ not only in church but also in public places

Fr Nicholas Stephen animates the faithful before blessing the palms, SPC Ranau, 8 Apr 2017.  Assisting him is seminarian Simon Lau.

RANAU – In his homily, Father Nicholas Stephen, pastor of St Peter Claver here said the act of being a witness of Christ is not limited to when someone is in the church, but also when one is in public places like bus stops, restaurants or workplaces.

He said this at the Sunset Mass on 8 Apr 2017, Passion/Palm Sunday.

“We must always become witnesses of Christ because God can do great things through a small and simple thing. This should be the reflection we look at the palm leaves. It is the symbol of hope, of life and of victory,” he continued.

He added that Palm Sunday is also World Youth Day.  It is “more significant” as it calls the youths to become the light, that is, witnesses of Christ.

“Today in the Palm Sunday procession, we shout ‘Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest’. We ask ourselves, can we also shout Hosanna, Hosanna when we are face-to-face with death? Can we profess Christ there in the open?” he asked further.

The readings, he noted, taught us that our Saviour is a suffering Saviour.

“Jesus knows that in order for us to follow him we face many sufferings. For me personally, these past several days have been sorrowful because of the development in Russia where Christians are barred from publicly professing their faith,” he said.

He lamented that the church everywhere, especially in Russia, suffers much persecution because “we are following Jesus.  Like us, Jesus also had two choices: whether to enter Jerusalem and face the cross or run away and hide.”

Fr Nick said Jesus could have fled from being insulted, tortured and crucified and let those who are lost be lost, those who are sick not healed, and those who lose hope, die.  But Jesus was adamant in his mission to redeem mankind from sins.

Towards that end, Fr Nick urged the faithful to follow the example set by Christ who humbled Himself by facing all the persecution until his death on the cross before the Father raised Him back in glory, so that we, too, by facing our own persecutions, will one day be raised again in God’s glory in Heaven. – Clarence George

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