Hopping into the Year of the Rabbit
The Chinese community ushered in the Year of the Rabbit at the 11.30 am Mass celebrated by Fr Louis Loi, with Fr Dom and Fr Martin also in attendance.
Fr Louis began the Mass by saying that this is a time to give thanks to God for the past year and to move forward into the new year with hope and joy.
The Scripture readings selected for the day was a reminder of God’s great love for His people and of our appropriate priority and response in entering into a new year.
The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone. (Is 9:2)
Rejoice in the Lord, and I say it again, always rejoice in the Lord. (Phil 4:4)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. (Matt 6:33)
In his homily, Fr Louis spoke about unity, especially within the family. He quoted St Paul in the day’s second reading who wrote to the people of Corinth in response to their differences, “…for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, to be united again in your belief and practice.” (1 Cor 1:10) The Chinese New Year celebrations, which begin with a family reunion dinner is a good reminder for all of us on the importance of unity within the family. While it is true that there would always be differences on one issue or another, we should try to agree to disagree in love for each other, and never make these differences come between us.
Fr Louis further touched on the Sunday of the Word of God that was also celebrated by the Church on the same day. He shared that it is indeed apt for the occasion to be celebrated on the first day of the new year as it makes a good reminder to begin the year with the Word of God. He added that the Scriptures have everything that we need. In His Word, God has given us a response for every single one of our needs. For example, those who are fearful and in need of protection can turn to Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” For those who are sick or tired, the Lord encourages, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28) Fr Louis ended his homily by challenging the congregation to turn to the Bible for every need that they face this year. “I assure you there is no better solution to your need than God’s Word,” he stressed.
“Grant that by this invocation of your Holy Name, all of us, who will partake of them, may receive the health of body and protection of soul, be prosperous in all kinds of good works and the practice of Christian virtues. Let us feel in our hearts the sweetness of your love for us.” (Excerpt from the prayer for the blessing of oranges)