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Holy Week & Easter during RMO period

Christians all over the world, specifically Catholics, just celebrated the Easter Triduum over the weekend.

When the Restricted Movement Order (RMO) was extended the first time from 31 March until 14 April, I was crushed because it meant we would not be able to celebrate this important time in our faith together as a community of brothers and sisters in Christ.

This is to document how COVID-19 has affected our celebration of faith, apart from the fact that we could not go to church for Masses but only joined via live streaming. This is also to serve as a future reminder that we should appreciate the richness of the Sacrements and not take our faith for granted again…

And so the Triduum began on Maundy Thursday. On this night, we remember the Last Supper and Jesus’s washing the feet of his apostles. Due to COVID-19, and the importance of social distancing, the foot washing part was not done. (Although some families do opt to do the foot washing among family members that live together during the RMO.) After the mass, holy hour/adoration of the Blessed Sacrement was also done via live streaming.

On Good Friday, the last Friday of Lent, the last Station of the Cross was done via live stream and at the service where we remember the death of Jesus on the cross, the veneration of the cross is not done, except individually in our respective homes with our own crosses, while following the live stream.

On Saturday night, the grandest celebration of the Easter Vigil, when Christ rose from death, churches worldwide were empty and we can only participate via the live stream mass. The night that is rich with symbols of fire, water and light… could only be celebrated to the best of our abilities in our own homes.

To conform my surroundings to how it would be celebrated if we were in Church, I switched off all the lights at home where I was streaming the mass and lighted my candle after the Easter Candle was lighted, followed by the Exsultet.

Save for a dim yellow light from another part of the house, I listened to the seven Old Testament readings attentively and thanked God for the opportunity to listen to ALL of them instead of selected ones only (as is the norm at other times, especially if there were many people to be baptized).

When the Alleluia was intoned and the church bells rung, followed by the Gloria and the altar was set up, I switched on all the lights and also my altar light. It was a great reminder that Christ is our Light and He has risen! Of course, there was no baptism due to the current situation, but we had the blessing and sprinkling of the Holy Water and renewal of our baptismal promise. On my end, I signed myself with Holy Water and lit my candle for the renewal.

Alas, that was the best I was able to replicate since I did not have incense at home… and I have not received Holy Communion since the RMO began almost a month ago. But in faith, we believe that Christ is present with us and we make the Spiritual Act of Communion prayer during the Sacrament of the Eucharist every time we join the live stream masses.

Given the circumstances we are in now, I cannot be thankful enough for the graces to be found while joining the live stream masses, provided one truly participates in it as opposed to just “watching” it like you would any other video. One good that has come out of this is that I have committed the Spiritual Act of Communion prayer to memory by practice. Another is, I was able to join daily masses ever since the RMO as my “commute” to the altar was literally a few steps away. But the best thing that I have found during this period is, without a doubt, the closest thing to having Padre Pio’s gift of bilocation! Just with a few clicks, I can opt to go anywhere in the world for Mass – LIVE!

And that was how I celebrated Maundy Thursday in Kuching, Good Friday in KL and Easter Vigil in Brunei. On Easter Sunday, I joined the live stream mass of my local parish in Bintulu.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! CHRIST is Risen! HE has conquered Death! HE will conquer this pandemic.

Here’s to a JOYFUL EASTER SEASON!!! – in spite of the RMO being extended for another 2 weeks from today (15 April) until 28 April.

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Day 8 RMO: Extended another 2 weeks!!

Malaysia Prime Minister just announced that the Restricted Movement Order (RMO) has been extended for another 2 weeks until 14 April 2020.

I already expected it as I wrote yesterday’s post

Even though it is expected, it still hurts.

Palm Sunday falls on 5 April 2020, which marks the beginning of Holy Week.

Good Friday is on 10 April 2020.

Easter Sunday is on 12 April 2020.

And this year, all of it will just be celebrated at home, alone and unable to have Mass in Church.

Holy Week and Easter – the most important season in the Church and we cannot come together as brothers and sisters in Christ to celebrate the Eucharist.

A sad sad day and a sad sad time.

Only God be our strength at this difficult moment.

Lord, have mercy on us!

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It is the Beginning

I had been in COLA after work everyday the past week, for Mass and etc. and while I am physically exhausted, I am spiritually ecstatic!

I focused a lot on achieving my Lenten goal, but I realised that after I achieved it (although it wasn’t a perfect score, it counted for something) I didn’t know how I was suppose to carry on with life as if nothing ever happened. Indeed, Lent is over…and I just realised that while Lent, one way or another, brings most of us back to our Faith, Easter seems to be the goal – the finish line; that when Easter is here, we shrug off and get back to our “busy lives” as if to say: “He died on the cross for our sins and now He is risen, so we are saved already what. Why do we need to do anything more? It’s time to party. It’s time to let loose…”

Imagine this: You need an organ transplant (let’s say that organ is a heart) and if you didn’t get the transplant, you would die. And someone comes along and that someone LOVES you so much that that someone was willing to give you his/her heart. That would mean that he/she would die of course, but he/she was willing – as long as it meant you would live.

Now, in such a scenario, would a party with good food and good company and having a good time be sufficient to honour such love? NO! If anything, we would be even MORE in love with that someone for the sacrifice that someone made for us. How much more should we then honour Christ who loved us that He suffered for us and died on the cross so that through His Ressurection, we might live? It took us 40 days to understand and appreciate His sacrifice but it would take much MORE for us to appreciate his Resurrection. That’s why Easter lasts 50 days (up until Pentecost).

So indeed, Easter is here. Let us remember that Easter is NOT the end but only the Beginning.

To Bro Cibol, I don’t know what happened, but whatever it was, I am glad that this Lent/Holy Week/Easter had such an impact on you, as it did me. May we both not ever wander far away again…Praise The Lord! Alleluia!

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Alleluia!

The Lord is Risen!

Forty days ago, I decided that I would try and abstain from meat for the whole of Lent. That means no red meat (thus fish and seafood is allowed) or processed red meat (like hotdogs, burgers).

So how did I manage on my “vegetarian mission”?

Well, at first it was difficult, but a few days into it, it was surprisingly easy. All that while, I never really had to struggle since there were a variety of vegetarian food like seafood-, vege- and tofu-based products available. I almost thought it wasn’t much of a “mission” afterall….UNTIL the last few days.

Cool animation! All-in-one: Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good friday and Easter

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Holy Week, and it was the 2nd week whereby I was actively getting involved in COLA. It was also the final week of Lent…I was tempted…3 times…and 2 times out of that 3 times I failed! Lapses? Why oh why couldn’t I have resisted? It was ONLY expensive finely-cooked hotel food…Darn. Why did the Seminar have to take place on that week…?

No point blaming anyone but me. Only when one is tempted then will one know how strong one is right? I got my answer…So because of the lapses, I decided I would add-on to my personal Lenten observance by (though this should actually have been done since 40 days ago…would I dare?) cutting out on entertainment i.e. TV, internet (thus why I am only here today) and music, and praying/meditating more. It helped that Bishop lend me this book called “The Return of The Prodigal Son” during that tempterous week. Also made me wonder that he perhaps read my last post...

Anyways. So, considering all that, I would say I scored 97% on my whole mission. The 1% is error margin and 2% is for “lapses”. It would have been much lower if I hadn’t bucked up towards the end…

So yeah, as I expected it to, putting an effort to actually sacrifice some part of yourself, part of your normal routine, REALLY makes Easter feel like salvation, like what its meant to feel like… 😀

HAVE A BLESSED EASTER!!!

God bless.

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Easter Eve

In Chemistry:

He turned water into wine (Jn 2:9)

In Biology:

He was born of a virgin (Lk 1:34)

In Physics:

He overcame the law of gravity by ascending to heaven (Lk 24:51)

In Economics:

He multiplied and fed 5000 (Mt 14:19)

In History:

He’s the Beginning and the End (Rev 21:6)

In Politics:

The government shall be upon His shoulders (Isa 9:6)

In religion:

No one comes to God the Father except through Him (Jn 14:6)

[Author unknown]
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Just something I wanted to share…
Have a Blessed Easter y’all!
God bless…