“Knowing that one is forgiven is perhaps one of the deepest, most liberating of joys. It is the source of the inner peace that Christ wants to communicate to us. That peace will lead us far; it will radiate outwards for others and for the world.” (Letter from Chile)
How not to think about the last paragraph of the Letter from Chile during Good Friday morning in Kuching, East-Malaysia, while reflecting with around 900 young people on the Passion of Jesus as a Sign of God’s Love and Forgiveness for each one of us. From Jerusalem on Easter Morning, the Good News radiated and people have been touched by it in all parts of the world. And while singing “God is forgiveness” you could sense the joy in the heart of the young people here from all over the Archdiocese of Kuching: both indigenous people and people from the Chinese-speaking community. The Archbishop invited the youth of all the parishes of his diocese to spend the Easter Triduum (from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday) together, reflecting on the center of our Christian faith with the Gospel according to Saint Mark. Prayers with songs from Taizé were held every day, and soon everyone knew them by heart and the singing was of a rare beauty. Singing “Jesus remember me” in English, “God is forgiveness” in Bahasa Malay (the national language of Malaysia), “O Christe Domine Jesu” in Chinese (spoken by many here in East Malaysia)... while praying and venerating the cross on Friday was a very special moment, where we could feel that God wants to be close to each one of us and shares in Jesus the suffering of all.
On Easter Sunday some of the young people shared something about the burdens in their daily life and how the love of God helps them not to give up but to continue on their way. In these testimonies it became clear how the Resurrection of Jesus can transform people’s lives.
A few hours previously, during the Easter Vigil, which all the participants of the youth meeting celebrated together with all the generations in the Cathedral, we attended the baptism of 220 people, mostly young. A strong sign of the new life given through faith was the baptism by immersion. All lined up and descended one by one into the water of the pool where they were baptized. Then they came out of the water wearing their white baptism dress. Afterwards they received their baptism candles and during the confirmation we sang “Veni Sancte Spiritus”. It became visible during these days, that the Holy Spirit accompanies us and acts in the world. God’s Spirit nourishes inner peace within us and gives us joy, we could feel this during the days in Kuching. These young people are a sign of his presence and will continue to radiate the peace of Christ in the world.
Visits in Sarawak
One of the brothers of the community was in Sarawak (East Malaysia) in 2010. One of the high points of the visit was the the meeting between young adults from two parishes situated on either side of the frontier between Malaysia and Indonesia, both of them are in Borneo. The young people belong to the same ethnic group and speak the same language. A group from the parish of Entikong was brought to the parish of Tebedu, on the Malaysian side, by the leader of the youth group. After taking part in the Sunday Eucharist, there was a time for meeting and sharing, ending with a meal together at the community house.
In the evening, at Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, there was a beautiful prayer in the hall of Archbishops House, attended by over a hundred young adults, not only from the city, but also from far away parishes and young people from different denominations.