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In exile from the Eucharist

KOTA KINABALU (CS) – By now all have tasted the deprivation of Holy Mass and the sacraments.

The worst has happened with the COVID-19 pandemic – all Masses (weekend and weekday Masses) and parish gatherings have been suspended in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu Mar 14 until Apr 1.

The painful decision made by the Head of the Archdiocese, Archbishop John Wong, necessitated “the incalculable loss of the inestimable value of Holy Mass and the sacraments for health and life”, commented Fr Cosmas Lee in his pastoral message to his parishioners at St Simon Catholic Church Likas.

Fr Lee wrote, “We are here to help, not to add to greater and real risks to the common good of health and life that God has given”, acknowledging the critical contribution and sacrifice that the Catholics have made by the suspension advisory to her faithful.

However, there is a positive and much needed side to it in the providence of God who does not abandon us, the St Simon rector insisted.

Drawing from the exile of Israel in early Christian times when they were deprived of temple, priests and sacrifice, he maintained that “we too are in exile”. We are in exile from the Eucharist!

“But the Lord who has exiled us does so precisely to purify and strengthen His people to return to the Eucharist and sacraments, our Promised Land,” Fr Lee said prophetically.

Urging the people of God everywhere, he instilled passion for the Eucharist “It is time to shake off some of our carelessness. It is time to feel the great importance of the sacraments, to appreciate them more deeply, to prepare ourselves more worthily.”

If we take this positive attitude readily, we would know the urgency and the need “to pray, and to pray more and more earnestly, not just for our needs but in support of each other so that we will resurrect from the suspension in newness of life,” asserted Fr Lee.

     May our response to the suspension be prayerful, humble, trusting and coming forth from a united community of faith. – AC @ Catholic Sabah

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