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2021 Malaysia Day Message by Archbishop John Wong

FIFTY-EIGHT years ago on 16th September 1963, Malaysia was born. We thank God that over the years, this nation has proven that nation building is possible within a multi-ethnic and multi-religious setting.

No doubt, the diverse cultures, demands and aspirations of her 32.7 million population have put pressure on inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations, and at times, have resulted in some tensions. But, praise God, sensibility and the spirit of tolerance have kept us going. Let us pray that the harmony we have experienced will continue to prevail as we move towards the status of a fully developed nation.

This is the second year Malaysia Day is celebrated in a low-key manner, mostly done virtually. The pandemic has deprived us of the real celebration that could have been manifested through fellowships and social interactions.

With the hike in positive cases and casualties, COVID-19 has diverted and drained much of our energy, resources and attention. Our public health system is stretched to its limit and frontliners are simply burnt out. The economic sector suffers tremendously and many are hit by loss of job and income. As the only viable form of communication relies heavily on media technology, digital divide among the rakyat is further widening, especially between rural and urban areas. Squabbles in our political front too are not contributing well to the already stressful situation.

This prolonged pandemic has turned life upside down. There are uncertainties in every dimension of life. To many, the new norms are “abnormal” because they are quite alien to the very nature of man as social being.

It is in such atmosphere that Malaysia Day is to be celebrated this year. Somehow, we need to rise above and find alternative ways to express our sense of nationhood especially towards national recovery and unity.

As believers, let us turn to the Lord to seek His consolation and wisdom. The scripture text 1 Corinthians 2:9-12; we are reminded by St. Paul to read the signs of the times by turning to the Spirit of God, who “searches everything, even the depths of God’s purposes.” The trials and tribulations we go through as individual, family or nation are sometimes beyond our comprehension. To a certain extent, our social analysis may lead us to identify the root causes of the situations. But unless we transcend our mind and resort to our faith to help us through at this difficult moment, the ‘blaming game’ will lead us nowhere.

As disciples of Christ, we are called to be “salt of the earth and light of the world”. Instead of cursing the darkness, let us each light our own candle and together we can find a way out.

I pray that with the help of the Holy Spirit, Malaysia Day can be an occasion to make the difference. Where there are lies and deceit, let us uphold truth and integrity. Where there are hatred and vengeance, let us show pardon and forgiveness. Where there are bullies and exploitations, let us stand firm and defend the human dignity of everyone irrespective of colour and creed. Where there are negative forces at play, let us defeat them with the forces of love.

Let our love for our nation bring forth the best in us as we march forward through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

God bless Malaysia!

Archbishop John Wong

Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese

READ the Message in Bahasa Malaysia , Chinese , Kadazan

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