Chinese New Year Homily_2024_Year of Dragon
In comparison to last year’s zodiac animal which was the timid rabbit, there is no lack of Chinese idioms for this year’s candidate – the majestic dragon. As you are aware, I was not born into a Catholic family and my first impressions of how Catholics viewed dragons came from the way Catholics celebrated the Lunar New Year. They didn’t seem to have taken issue with the lion with the abundance of lion dances, but the same could not be said about the dragon. Only later, did I come to realise that the dragon, in the eyes of your average Catholic, was not regarded as an auspicious animal, even though it is considered the most auspicious animal in the Chinese zodiac.
How did the dragon get such a bad rap? Well, let’s be clear that the “dragon” in the Book of Revelation is a seven-headed ancient serpent, and nothing like the benevolent Chinese dragon. This is a case of mistaken identity. The word “dragon” in scriptures comes from two sources, one in its original Greek and the second from Old Testament sources. The English word dragon is translated from the Greek δρακων. It usually describes something that needs to be subdued or conquered; monsters that need to be killed. These δρακων in Greek mythology look completely different from the Chinese dragons. They have seven heads, ten horns, and the body of a python. The Chinese dragon has only one head, two antlers, a pig’s nose, catfish whiskers, and four limbs. Something that would most likely end up on your Chinese New Year menu. If you were to juxtapose the pictures of the two beasts, they won’t even look like distant cousins.
Most Chinese dragons are regarded as good, auspicious and noble, but there are also a few bad ones, called evil dragons or violent dragons. Due to its esteemed nobility, the dragon is usually regarded as the totem of the emperor. The emperor was called the True Dragon Emperor. Chinese people have also regarded the dragon as their mascot, and dragon motifs can be found everywhere, ranging from furniture, clothing, to musical instruments. For thousands of years, the image of the dragon has become a symbol of the Chinese nation. It basically represents nobility, dignity, justice, and power. For this reason, Chinese parents like to name their children with the character dragon, such as the Chinese names of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. So, let’s set the record straight – δρακων is not a “long” or a Chinese dragon.
It is interesting to note that the character for the Chinese character for “Grace”, has the character of a dragon placed beneath the roof of a home or family. This weekend, being World Day of Marriage, it would be good to pray for God’s graces to enter into your homes, literally welcoming the dragon under your roof.
As is customary, I would like to share four auspicious idioms for the Year of the Dragon and attempt to integrate these cultural sayings within the practice of our Catholic faith.
–生龙活虎 “Live like a dragon and a tiger”. Describing a life full of vigour and vitality. I hope everyone can live a healthy and vigorous life like a dragon in the new year. Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
-龙腾虎跃 Dragon Rise Tiger Leap: Fly like a dragon, jump like a tiger. I know this sounds like the famous martial arts movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” but that’s a different idiom. This particular saying describes a majestic posture and vigorous movements. It is a metaphor for taking action and making a difference. The Psalmist proclaims that the “Lord (is) a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”(Psalm 3:3). When we face challenges or feel discouraged, we can find comfort in knowing that God is our shield, our fortress, our strength. He inspires us and gives us strength, courage, and hope. Just as a shield protects us, God protects us and gives us the ability to overcome adversity.
-龙马精神 Dragon Horse Spirit: The Dragon-horse was a mythological horse shaped like a dragon in ancient legends, and thus it has become a metaphor for a person’s strong spirit. One is inspired to achieve self-improvement through self-cultivation. It is with this conviction that St Paul can boldly declare: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13) and as he exhorts us to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10).
-龙腾四海 The dragon rises over the four seas: The implication of this last idiom is a blessing – I wish you success and excellence in all areas of your life.
****Blessings for the Year of the Dragon: I sincerely hope that in the new year, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, everyone can exert the spirit of the dragon and horse, work together to evangelize, deepen spiritual life with a life of prayer, and with a heart of simplicity, trust, and trust, With a praying heart, always pray, be thankful at all times, and be happy in everything; looking forward to the New Year of the Dragon, we will be with the Lord every day, and be “descendants of the Dragon” with God accompanying us.
Finally we come to the special blessings for the year of the dragon. All the idioms and couplets associated with this season boils down to four important principles – prosperity, good fortune, success and good health. It’s just that the Chinese gets to say it in a hundred different ways. The direct translations of these sayings may sound strange, but in Chinese, the play on puns, similar sounding words, are music to the ears of those who understand. The English translation does not do sufficient justice to the original, but here we go:
Congratulations to those who are doing business: Good fortune will come in the Year of the Dragon, and happiness will be with you! May your business be prosperous! May your wishes come true!
For students and workers. May all your wishes come true! Good luck is coming! The New Year is here, and may you ascend the ladder of success one step at a time.
To brothers and sisters in Christ, may the beautiful dragon (a euphemism for the hibiscus flower, something of beauty) emerge from the waters of your life.
Blessings to all the families: May your family life be abundantly happy!
Blessings to couples: May your love grow stronger with each passing year as you share God’s grace with each other!
Here, on behalf of our parish priests: Fr Michael Chua, Fr Bonaventure, Wishing you a blessed and happy Chinese New Year, grace upon grace, spirituality and evangelization will be fruitful!
Original Homily in Mandarin prepared by Fr Philip Chua, translated by Fr Michael Chua
Registrations for the ??????? ??????? opens Friday (26/3) at 8.00am. We invite you to familiarize yourself with the registration process and Mass times:
Tamil Mass & Service:
Kindly contact the language representatives for your respective zone to register for Mass
All other Masses & Service:
Pre-registration is required through the parish website.
The registration portal opens Friday (26/3) at 8.00am and closes when we reach maximum capacity or on Sunday (28/3) at 11.59pm.
Registrations can be done at: http://www.hfckajang.org.my/coming-home/
You will receive the Whatsapp confirmation message 2 days before the mass.
All Masses during the Paschal Triduum will be live-streamedWay of the Cross (Week 2)
The Way of the Cross is a traditional devotion in honour of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Join us for the Way of the Cross followed by Mass this Friday, 26th February 2021:
6.00pm in Bahasa Malaysia @ https://youtu.be/cdg-aCDHf2o
7.30pm in Tamil @ https://youtu.be/1lhDNI-o2QoChristmas Season Mass Times
The text and prayers for the Advent Penitential Service are available in multiple languages. Download or print the pdf files to better follow the service which will be live-streamed on the ArchKL YouTube channel.
You may also refer to the Chancery Notice dated 19 November 2020 for more information about Advent Penitential Service.Advent Reflection (for penitential service)
Date: 16 December 2020 (Wednesday)
Time: 8.30pm – 9.30pm
At this time of year, we encounter many distractions which often require that we adjust schedules and priorities. The people begin to prepare the gifts for the celebration of Christmas – baking, buying gifts, decorating the house.
Unfortunately, this year, the world is suffering fear, confusion, pain, loss of jobs, illness, and grief for the loss of many loved ones as result of the pandemic. Most of us are confined to socialise, attend Mass online and work from home. The world has been drastically changing, the individuals and families are suffering anxiety, depression, and confusion.
As we enter in Advent season, a time of preparation, with joy and hope to receive our Saviour’s birth, join us in this Advent reflection as we prepare ourselves spiritually to welcome Jesus. Let us reflect on what this year has brought us and what we can look towards despite the circumstances.
Come together as a family and a parish community and let us prepare our hearts and minds to receive Christ this Christmas and make this a truly special Christmas in our hearts.40th Day Memorial Prayer for the soul of Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez
Families are invited to use this para liturgy prepared by Msgr. Leonard for the 40th Day Memorial Prayer for the soul of Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez. Please use this to pray for Cardinal Fernandez on your own or as a family. Click the link below for the Memorial Prayer:
Proverbs 19:17 – ‘The one who is gracious to the poor lends to the LORD.’
In previous years, PIHD together with MOP, Orang Asal, SSVP (Rumah Keluarga Kami) and Migrant Ministry, would organise the ‘Christmas Gift Tree’ during Advent. In view of the pandemic, we have come up with a special way to celebrate this annual festivity.
A Virtual Christmas Tree that grows with every gift! We look for your joyous participation in giving generously to grow and complete this virtual tree for Christmas.
This will make it possible for PIHD and it’s sub-ministries to channel your generous contributions to every person in this program to receive a gift for Christmas.
Donations can be made to the following details:
Name of Bank: AmBank
Account Number: 186-201-200340-4
Account Holder’s Name: Church of the Holy Family
Payment Reference: PIHD Tree
Every ringgit you donate will contribute to growing the tree. Let us come together with love and charity this blessed Advent that all may feel the love and joy Christ has for His people.
Total amount collected: (RM6,870.00)
as of 26th December 2020
The Catechetical Ministry in conjunction with the Christmas in Our Hearts theme, is organising a Creative Christmas Card project for all the Sunday School going children from all languages.
This project of creating their own personalised greeting cards is a great way for the children to show their love and appreciation for their priests during the Christmas season, since they have been away physically from church for the past few months.
Any children who wish to participate can express their interest by contacting their respective catechists via their class chatgroup. Alternatively, those without a class chatgroup can contact Carol Chong at 016-6348858 for further details.
The children are encouraged to mail their handcrafted Christmas cards to the church office by 19th December, 2020. For those handing in personally to the church, can submit by 19th December, 2020. Please include the name of the student and class details into the card.Advent Calendar Description
The Christmas in Our Hearts Advent Calendar features suggestions and ideas for simple things we can do throughout Advent to welcome Jesus Christ into our hearts.
The Christmas in Our Hearts Advent Calendar is a collaboration project with the Church of the Visitation, Seremban.