The first day of prayer preceding the Feast of The Good Shepherd started with Holy Hour followed by Mass celebrated by Rev Fr Joseph Stephen, CSsR, Rev Fr Sebastian Koh, SJ and Rev Fr Christopher Wilvaraj.
Though it was a working day, many people came to seek blessings and discern their vocation. Fr Joe Stephen, a Redemptorist priest from the Penang diocese spoke about mercy and vocation. Both elements must co-exist and will not flourish if exist in silo. In this Extraordinary Year of Mercy, many people will make all effort to walk through the "Door of Mercy experience the love of God who consoles, pardons and instils hope.
In our lives too, we walk through many doors. The door of schools, the door of restaurants, the door or marriage, the door of parenthood, etc. It is always an invitation (the open door) and a response (the decision to walk through that open door). Vocation to the religious life can be regarded as the same. The Father invites us and are willing to overlook our sins but are we ready to respond to His call?
By practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, we are once again bringing Christ’s light to the world. Through our merciful words and actions, may lapsed Catholics may be drawn back to the Church, the loving embrace of the Father. This Jubilee Year serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of God who asks us not to judge or condemn but to offer love and forgiveness instead. In the parables devoted to mercy, Jesus reveals the nature of God as that of a Father who never gives up until he has forgiven the wrong and overcome rejection with compassion and mercy. We know these parables well, three in particular: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the father with two sons (cf. Lk 15:1-32). In these parables, God is always presented as full of joy, especially when He pardons. In them we find the core of the Gospel and of our faith, because mercy is presented as a force that overcomes everything, filling the heart with love and bringing consolation through pardon.
After Mass, everyone spent time in fellowship and visiting the Vocation Awareness booth.