Julita, SOCCOM Tawau
Tambunan : The 3rd Sabah Youth Day resembled the World Youth Day in the local context, drew some 3,000 youths from across Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, the Philippines, Mongolia and West Malaysia. Participants were seen arriving at Holy Cross Church Toboh, Monday 20th August as early as 7.00 am and an hour before the Opening Mass at 9.30 am, the Church was packed with a number of others having to stay outside. The Mass was presided over by Rt. Rev. Datuk Cornelius Piong the Bishop of Keningau con celebrated by priests from the archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, Diocese of Keningau and the Diocese of Sandakan.
Bishop Cornelius began his homily by bidding the participants a warm welcome to the Diocese of Keningau. The presence of the youths from all over, far and near had touched and inspired him. He hoped that their presence may be filled with the Holy spirit, enkindled with the fire of active participation, and coming closer to Christ as their model of life.
The Gospel reading from Mathew 19: 16- 22 – 30, themed 'The Rich Young Man ~ What good must I do to gain eternal life?' was most apt for the occasion. The prelate addressed the youths by saying, 'the Gospel reading today has the wonderful message to all of you as regards to the influence and effect of globalization in the modern world.'
'As young people of God you are always seeking for something meaningful in your lives minus the element of faith. Without a strong grounding in your own spiritual lives then nothing can fulfill your desire on all earthly matters. Your lives are not to be rooted in your own ideology or the ideology of the world. The real meaning of lives is to be centred in Christ as the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI said that our faith must be rooted in the Gospel by imitating the personality of Christ Himself.'
The prelate continued by quoting the words from
St. Augustine 'our hearts will never experience peace till we encounter our Creator, from whom
we come and to whom we go.'
'When you were baptized, you have received Christ in your life. If we unite ourselves with Christ through prayer, reflecting and discerning the Word of God, we shall then be saved from the power of darkness. God is the light, the source of our strength and wisdom' he said.
'Your presence here today showed that you have the desire to meet Christ personally so that you may be strongly rooted and be built up firmly in Christ. Like the fish in the sea though living in salted water but never taste its saltiness. May you too, even living in challenging environment but will never be succumbed to the negative influence of the globalized world. Be proud and be blessed by your identity and be focused and clear of your vocation in your life.'
The prelate in his final word called upon all youths to renew and remain firm in their spiritual life, to live and be true witnesses of Christ by reflecting and imitating the very person of our Lord Jesus Christ.