By Gwen Manickam
KUALA LUMPUR — The Catholic Lawyers’ Society of Kuala Lumpur celebrated their Red Mass on Saturday, Jan 23 presided over by Fr Michael Chua, the spiritual advisor. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mass was live-streamed from the Kristus Aman Chapel. Some 500 people logged in to watch the Mass live at 10.00am.
In his homily, Fr Chua quoted the day’s gospel passage (Mark 3: 20-21), where “Our Lord encounters a predicament which involves people’s impression or perception about Him. To the crowds, He is a mere miracle worker and so they mob Him. To His enemies, He is a threat and so they plot to kill Him. To His sceptics, He is a charlatan and so they dismiss Him. And finally, to His relatives, He is insane, and they wish to take charge of Him. I guess as lawyers, your duty is to ferret out the truth — which is it?”
Fr Chua added that, however one wishes to look at it, there are only three possibilities: either that Jesus is telling a lie (that He is the Messiah and the Son of God), or that He is mad, or that He is telling the truth. As Christians, we know that there is only one viable option — Our Lord Jesus does not lie, He is not mad, and He is telling the truth. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the One who says: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6). Truth is not an ideology, but a Person.
“In a world where the truth matters little, and winning at all cost is paramount, many would find themselves questioning whether it is worthwhile to stand up for the Truth and suffer the dire consequences of doing so. Those who dare to do so would be labelled as “mad”, as our Lord was, and perhaps face the same fate as our Lord did, short of a Roman crucifixion, though losing cases and clients may come close to this.
“But as Catholics first, lawyers second, isn’t your duty to Christ primary and all other things secondary?” asked Fr Chua. There is no denying that the practice of the law must also be rooted deeply in truth, for as our Lord reminds us, the truth will set you free. Your vocation as Catholic lawyers demands that you unite law and truth, especially in this day and age when so many fill the public square with an artificial recasting of truth, said the former lawyer.
Remember, “You cannot be neutral when it comes to Jesus. We are all presented with the same choice: you can either lie for your survival or be labelled a mad man or worse for telling the truth. Choose well, knowing that it would matter little even if we were judged harshly by the court of public opinion or even in the legal courts where you are called to represent your client.
“What matters most of all is to be able to stand before the judgment seat of our Lord and God, the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and speak confidently, “I have stood for the Truth,” and hear His reply, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
After Mass, two messages were aired, one by the President of the Society, Joseph Lourdesamy, and the other, by the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Most Rev Julian Leow.
Archbishop Leow wished the legal fraternity a blessed celebration, apologised that he could not be there in person and said a blessing: “May you continue to uphold justice as you serve the people under your charge. May God bless each one of you at this Red Mass.”