Sandakan : The Season of Advent came to a close and the weeks of waiting and praying was replaced with the beginning of the Season of Christmas ~ a celebration of joy and peace. The Christmas Midnight Mass last evening at 9.00 pm, 24th December 2012 at St Mary's Cathedral was presided over by Rt Rev Julius D. Gitom, the Bishop of the Diocese of Sandakan. Some 2,000 parishioners thronged the Cathedral, occupying all pews and seats in the main building, the choir loft, the left and the right wings leaving many standing outside the Cathedral.
Prior to the Eucharistic celebration, Bishop Julius blessed the Christmas crib beautifully and creatively prepared at the newly completed left wing of the Cathedral. The crib shall be a reminder to all parishioners of the Lord Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary.
|The first reading ~ Isaiah 9 : 1 -6|
|The 2nd reading ~ Titus 2 : 11 - 14|
The Star of Yahweh Covenant Community (SYCC) Choir led the entrance hymn, 'Excelsis Deo' - (angels we heard on high) with the parishioners singing in high spirit heralding the coming of Christ, thus setting the beginning of a joyful celebration.
In his homily, the prelate said that God sent His Son out of love and compassion for us. He became man for our sake and for the sake of our salvation. This is the greatest gift offered us and we are to respond ~ we are to open the doors of our hearts and let Jesus be born in us, grow and dwell in us. All our actions and words should reflect peace and holiness in other to maintain the true spirit of Christmas.
The prelate cited John 20 : 21, 'As the Father sent me, I am sending you.' Jesus came to love the world and He calls us to do likewise in every facet of life, in every way ~ to give God's love to others. It is through us that others will ever find the joy and happiness be it, in our family, work place, community and society at large. Let Him be manifested through our words and deeds. Faith is only faith unless shown in works of charity.
Deprived of love, one would feel rejected, isolated and abandoned. There would be deep hurt, harmful not only to self but to others. Peace would not prevail and the completeness, the direction and the purpose of life would be at stake.Therefore, may we rejoice for the marvelous work God has done for us and be glad to receive this new born king among us. So we are to create a place for him in our heart and allow Him to remain not just during this Christmas season but throughout our lives so that we may inherit eternal joy that no one can take from us.