The Muslims are celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri. It is the day that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month. Hari Raya is the longest holiday in Malaysia especially for the Muslims. They return to their family home (balik kampong). Even school children and non-Muslims too are enjoying their holidays for a couple of days.
During Hari Raya, the Muslims meet up with their families and friends, seeking forgiveness from one another, visit graves of their departed loved ones, praying at the mosque and visiting friends and relatives. Some of you would have visited and greeted your neighbourhood friends, working colleagues and schoolmates and wished them Selamat Hari Raya. You would have tasted their delicacies like ketupat, lontong, ayam masak merah, beef rendang, satay, lemang and kuih-muih. YUMMY!
I remember tasting all these delicacies when I was in secondary school. I used to hang around with my Muslim school friends almost every weekend and we cycled almost everywhere. We played football together. We went swimming and jungle tracking too. We paid visits to each other’s homes not only during festive seasons but every school term holidays and public holidays. We rejoiced in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood at that time. Many of you would have experienced this personally in your lives during school days.
Over the years we have lost this spirit of friendship and relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in our nation. Personally, I feel it is because of the interest of certain politicians. They have created a lot of fractions among the races and religions, which cause hate and intolerance. Today, we fail to see the good will among everyone and we lose a part of who we are as people of faith. Now, with all these extremists and ISIS and the personal interest/agenda of politicians we are living in fearful times and also fear for the future of the next generation.
Our Catholic Church consistently invites the Muslims to dialogue. When will we put aside our personal prejudice and embrace each other as one nation? Let us hope and pray that Muslims and non-Muslims will move towards living together in peace and harmony in Malaysia.
Last Saturday (2nd July), 38 confirmands received their Sacrament of Confirmation. Thirty of them were Form 5 students; four were adults from the RCIA of our own parish and the remaining four from Church of the Risen Christ. On Sunday, 3rd July, I invited our newly confirmed form five students to come for a one hour class with me. During the session, they came forward one by one to share their experiences on how they felt before and after receiving the Sacrament. They were able to identify the movements of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit during the celebration. We hope and pray that they will treasure what they have experienced and learnt during their catechism days. It was a conclusion catechism class for them. On behalf of the Catechetical Ministry, I would like to say a big “Thank You” to all the teachers and coordinators who have formed them in Christ in these past years.
God bless you!
Fr. George Packiasamy.