BEC Zone Mass at Sungai Ara, Penang

The BEC Mass for Zone M of the Church of Divine Mercy was held on the 14th September, 2012 at the Springfield Condominium Hall. Mass began at 8.30 pm to allow for parishioners enough time to come after work on Friday. Msgr. Bernard Paul celebrated the mass.

Being the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time and the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, his homily centered on the cross. He mentioned that among Christians, the cross was viewed in three kinds of ways. Some saw only the bare cross without Jesus on it and interpreted that it was because Jesus had risen; secondly some saw only Jesus without ever noticing the cross and lastly, others saw Jesus on the cross. He explained that in ancient times Romans had two main ways of punishing people they wanted put to death. One was by way of stoning to death and the other was by crucifixion.  Crucifixion was a popular way because it was a slow way to die (by suffocation) and it was humiliating as the person was stripped bare for all to see.  When we look at the crucifixion of Jesus this showed us the ‘suffering love’ of God who sent his only son to die for us. We should also look on the crucifixion as a reflection of our sins. It was because of our sins that Jesus had to suffer that fate.

Msgr Bernard also said that there are three different attitudes of people when they look upon the cross. The first are those who show antipathy. These are people who need proof before they believe. “Come down from the cross and show me your power before I will believe.” The second are those people who show apathy. They are busy looking out for what they can gain from the situation. They see no need to bother making the world a better place rather it is important for them to see how they may benefit from it. The last group is those who show empathy. These people will provide support for those in need of help. This was shown by Mary and the women and single apostle who stood by the cross at the last moments of Jesus on the cross. He reminded all those present at the mass, to be at the cross but also on the cross sharing the pain for our sins. Thus we should always look at Jesus on the cross because the bare cross is just a piece of wood and signifies nothing.

The readings at the mass were read in Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia while the gospel was read in English to reflect the racial composition of the Zone. The homily was also translated into Chinese and read out at mass. At the end of the mass, Roland Victor, the Overall Zone Leader introduced all the BEC Leaders of M1 to M4 and the person leading the Chinese apostolate for the area. He expressed the heartfelt thanks of the congregation to Msgr., the choir and all those helped in making the mass a meaningful event. Msgr then said grace and then shared fellowship with about 160 parishioners at dinner.

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