“Have you ever been in love?” asked Fr Martin Arlando, parish priest of the Church of Divine Mercy (CDM), Penang, at the beginning of his homily during the Women’s Mass on the 8th May, 2015. He admitted he had fallen in love himself. He relates that when one is in love, he constantly thinks about the other person and just wants to speak to her all the time, practically about everything and about nothing. It all seems so purposeless and meaningless. That is why love is so unreasonable.
Fr Martin then connected the worth of women to the parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Finding of a Fine Pearl (Matthew 13:44-46) where God’s love for us is like finding a treasure or fine pearl. So every effort is made to possess and keep something precious in one’s life. He related his faith journey when he went on a silent 30-day retreat to empty himself out to God and declared how unworthy he was to serve as his priest. But he heard God speak to him and the voice that told him that he was chosen despite his faults and weaknesses. That he was indeed worthy in the eyes of God. And then the words of the song, You Are Beautiful Beyond Description by O.C. Supertones rang out in his mind. Fr then proceeded to sing the song to the awe of the parishioners at the great meaning of the lyrics. He then went on to tell all women that they are worthy and precious. He proceeded to show a video entitled Who You Are by The AnimaSeries. He repeated the playing of this video but this time around he asked everyone to close their eyes and listen to the words as if they were being spoken to them by Jesus. This brought tears to many present as they heard the affirming words of God to them.
The healing session witnessed some 200 women come forward and Fr Martin laid his hands on their heads and prayed for them. Many felt the crush of the Holy Spirit over them and fell at his feet. After this session, everyone adjourned for fellowship at St Faustina Hall.
At the following Sunday mass on the occasion of Mother’s Day, Fr reminded the congregation that mothers have given up everything for their children. The many sleepless nights interrupted by the changing of diapers and feeding. The restrictions on their social life and the changes made to accommodate their children’s schedules. Mothers live their lives for another and he liken their sacrifice to that of the story of the selfless life of a mother pelican who gave even her own blood to quench the thirst of her offsprings in a time of drought. The same is also true of Jesus who gave everything to save us. The children animated the mass and many were quite amazed at the quality of singing by the choir and the singing of the Responsorial Psalm by a small boy who could barely reach the microphone at the lectern. At the end of mass, the children sang a special song for mothers. The youth also surprised the mothers with a slide show of candid shots of the many mothers who served in different roles at CDM.
Fr Martin also gave a blessing to Mothers and remarked that judging by the number of mothers standing three abreast in front of the altar and the empty pews remaining, showed that CDM must be a mother’s church. Roses were also on sale for husbands and children to show their fond appreciation for their mothers, mothers-in-law, godmothers and grandmothers.
Dr. Ivan Filmer
14th May, 2015.