Landings 10th Anniversary Mass
Fr. John Paul’s homily
Today, on the 10th Anniversary of the Landings Ministry, we gather to give thanks to God for such a ministry. In a special way, Landings was introduced to the Archdiocese of Singapore by a lay person by the name of Tony See. He picked up a pamphlet in a church in the US and this little voice kept prompting him until he acted on it.
It is a testament to the working of the Holy Spirit and the initiative of the laity that Landings is able to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Our Archdiocese is indeed privileged to have such empowered laity involved in the apostolate.
In essence, Landings is a ministry of healing and hospitality. Often when our churches are packed on Sundays and we are just battling our car park situation, or worry about if there is going to be enough food in our Sunday canteen, we almost never notice the ones who are missing or who have quietly dropped off.
The numbers give us a false sense of normalcy, and as a church, we slowly become faceless and cold.
Landings is a reminder to all of us that every Catholic counts.
Indeed, there are many and valid reasons why people drop off or leave the church altogether. Sometimes it’s the personal failures of the priest to be patient or compassionate at a critical time. Sometimes, it’s the complacency of the Catholic community to look out for one another.
Whatever the reasons, and however the move happened, catholics find themselves outside the embrace of the community.
Today, dear friends, we are called to define ourselves differently as a church, a community.
Often we are caught up with defining ourselves by the standards of the world.
Priests also fall into the trap of numbers and success ratings.
Henry Nouwen, in his insightful book on Christian Leadership highlighted three temptations of Christian leadership:
- Temptation to be relevant (popular);
- Temptation to be spectacular; and
- Temptation to be powerful.
Landings as a ministry of healing and hospitality; one who invites and welcomes back our brothers and sisters; lives out the paradigm of ministry in todays’s gospel of the Good Shepherd. More than ever, Landings is meeting a pastoral gap in our outreach, and your ministry gives back to the church, in the eyes of those who left, once again a human face. A face of compassion and welcome.
I would like to take this occasion to thank Father Andrew and all our collaborators in Landings for being the face of healing and welcome. Your individual efforts and time in welcoming home our Catholics define for us, what it means to be a church.
In 1 John 4:16, “God is love, he who lives in love lives in God, and God in him”. Saint John tells us that love defines who we are as disciples of Jesus. In all that we do, may we allow love to define who we are and how we do things.
May our Eucharist today sustain us in our efforts to be bread for others.