MIRI — At the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy on 27 November, which was also the first Sunday of Advent, Bishop Richard Ng reminded all present to continue to be missionaries of mercy even though the Holy Year has ended.
“This is not the end,” said the prelate. “This is just the starting point”.
He explained that the Jubilee Year of Mercy was declared by Pope Francis at a time “when the world seemed to have forgotten about mercy, justice and compassion”. By doing so the Holy Father wished “to bring upon our conscience that we need to be an inclusive church – a church that is alive and beating with the heart of God and mercy”. And through this initiative “hopefully all of us will be more inclusive and compassionate and will try our best to be agents of mercy,” he said.
Thousands of faithful filled St Joseph’s Cathedral for the Mass which was concelebrated by Fr Vincent Shim, Fr Martin Sta, Fr Guido Gockel, Fr Michael Sia and Fr Gino Henrique from Singapore.
Bishop Richard in his homily also called upon all faithful to be prepared and vigilant for the coming of Christ when they would be judged before God.
“We have to be prepared and ready because life is unpredictable,” he said as he recounted one of the parables found in the gospel reading whereby two men working in the field of which one was taken and the other left behind. “So how can we be prepared?” he asked.
The first reading from Prophet Isaiah promises hope, which comes from trusting God who is in control. “It is a message of hope, not of fear. Our judgement before the Lord should never be one of fear but one that is filled with hope and confidence because God, through our faith in Jesus, has promised us salvation”.
The second reading from St Paul tells one to prepare oneself by living in the light and turning away from darkness. The best way to prepare oneself, the Bishop said, is to follow the lead of Pope Francis by carrying out his initiative.
During the Holy Year, which started on 8 December 2015, plenary indulgence was granted to those who passed through the Holy Door after making a pilgrimage to one of the designated pilgrimage centres, partook in the Sacrament of Penance and the Eucharist, prayed for the intention of the Pope and performed some simple works of mercy.