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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Good Friday ~ Celebration of the Lord's Passion

Article by DS and photos by
 courtesy of Edon M and Gina
Sandakan : On Good Friday, 18th April, some 700 parishioners attended the outdoor station of the cross. They gathered in front of the Cathedral as early as 9.00 am and walked up the Hill Road leading to the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, stopping at every station to pray and meditate on Christ carrying the cross until His crucifixion. It all leads to the final station, a 10 ft cross placed at the top of the little hill a little below St Mary's Convent.
The Good Friday Service in Bahasa Malaysia began at 1.00 pm at St May's Cathedral, drawing a huge crowd of more than 3,000 people while the same service in English at 5.00 pm attracted some 2,000 people. The Bahasa Malaysia service was celebrated by Fr Philip Muji while the English service was celebrated by Bishop Julius.
The service commenced with the solemn entrance. The narration of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ  was taken from the Gospel according to John 18 : 1 - 19 : 42. Bishop Julius, in his homily said that on hearing the narrative about the crucifixion of Jesus, we may be convinced that those involved in the death of Jesus must be the greatest of all crooks in the world. If we were there at that time would we be better off than those people and the chances are that we would be merely onlookers or bystanders. Or worse if we were Jesus followers we would be like the twelve disciples who went into hiding after Jesus was arrested.
Bishop Julius said that Christ could have been crucified at any place, at any time as long as people would not care, as long as we have no courage to stand up to uphold justice and be honest. Jesus could be crucified in our midst even at this moment, in our home, in our church. There are many examples where human rights or justice are being violated in the world today. 
Our consolation is that God has send his son into the world, not to condemn the world but to save the world. Inspite of our sinfulness, God does not reject us. And it is from the Cross that God expresses his deepest love for us human beings. Christ offers his whole life as a sacrificial lamb for our sins so that we can acquire divine life. Today, together with millions of believers throughout the world we come to venerate Jesus on the Cross.
As we gazed at his crucified appearance, perhaps we may feel the beauty of his love. Therefore let us approach him today with humble admission of our unworthiness and in a state of humble submission we may pray to him, ‘Lord, may your love take hold of me a sinner and give me the courage to be a more faithful follower and guide me in my daily life so that I may have the strength to accept my personal crosses as I try to be a more faithful disciple than I have been before.'

After the veneration of the cross, parishioners left in silence.

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