Raphael, my first baptism and my first homily in Chinese
As a chaplain at S.Teresa hospital, near our parish, one day a nun invited me to visit a sick person and give him a blessing. Having arrived in his room, the patient asks me not only for a blessing, but for baptism. Some days later he died. We celebrated his funeral in English and Chinese, to let all the participants - non Christians - to understand our prayers.
Hong Kong (BC.it) - As a chaplain at S.Teresa hospital, near our parish, one day a nun invited me to visit a sick person and give him a blessing. Having arrived in his room, the patient asks me not only for a blessing, but for baptism. The man was dying, with a liver tumor that had spread throughout his body. He told me that he had often thought about becoming a Christian and that many times he had visited and prayed in church, but then seeing the difficulties in becoming a Christian, he postponed the decision. In Hong Kong, to be baptized you need two years of catechism, with weekly meetings: a bit difficult for people who are always in a hurry! In any case, he assured me that Jesus had helped him many times in business (!) and in difficult times for his family. The next day we baptized him, and since it was the feast of the Archangels, we gave him the name Raphael, God's medicine.
Raphael died after a week. His wife asked me to preside at his funeral. But the dead man was the only Christian in the family. In these situations, several parishes have a group of faithful volunteers who take care of participating, praying and singing at funerals. We held the funeral in two languages: English and Chinese (Mandarin) because the rest of Raphael’s family lives in Singapore and knows English well, but the deceased's wife knows Cantonese Chinese and Mandarin, but not English. And so to honor Raphael and his wife, I dared to give my first homily in Mandarin Chinese. Since November is the month of devotion towards our deceased, I think it is worth publishing this homily, in meditation for everyone, together with the homily in Chinese.
Homily for Raphael
It is usually said that Hong Kong is like New York: a city that never rests. At all hours here in Hong Kong there is traffic on the streets, shops open, night events, people travelling.
All this gives the impression of vitality and gives us enthusiasm. But if we look not at the big picture, but at people, at individuals, we realize that not resting is not good for us, it affects physical and sometimes even mental health: we become sad, grumpy, violent, dissatisfied. in short we realize that we are not happy.
We work day and night, we work at all hours because we want to be happy. but then we realize that we need rest and this rest, this pause seems to steal something from our happiness, destroys our happiness. We want to be happy, but we can't do it on our own. And at a certain point death arrives which ends every commitment and erases every dream of happiness.
We human beings need to rest and at the same time we need someone to give us happiness, because we cannot get it with our own hands.
The Christian God, Jesus Christ, promises rest and happiness gratuitously. He becomes our friend and gives us his love, which is stronger than death. He won death because He was risen and because of this he guarantees us that we too will live and nothing can hinder our happiness. Because happiness is not being rich, powerful, strong: it is above all discovering that you are loved with a love that is forever.
Raphael discovered the love of Jesus in the last days of his life in hospital. Marked by pain and morphine, he clearly asked for baptism because - he told me - "Jesus helped me many times".
To be a friend of Jesus and be happy you must "take his yoke which is light", that is, accept to be loved by Him, treat him like a family member, talk to him, receive him in the sacraments, in baptism, which is the gift of his death and resurrection, and in the Eucharist, which is the gift of His Body and Blood, the gift of Himself. Today Raphael continues to receive Jesus’ love in Heaven. For this reason, despite having pain, we are not sad because Raphael is with Jesus and lives, and from Heaven he will help his wife and us, who are his friends.
人們常說香港就像紐約一樣：永不休息的城市。 在香港，街道上隨時都有車流、商店開門、夜間活動、人們出遊。 這一切都給人一種生氣勃勃的印象，讓我們充滿熱情。
教友的天主，耶穌基督無償地應許了安息和幸福。 祂成為我們的朋友，給我們祂的愛，這愛比死亡更強烈。 祂勝過了死亡，因為祂復活了，因此祂向我們保證我們也會活下去，沒有任何事物可以阻礙我們的幸福。
因為幸福不是富有、強大、強大：最重要的是發現你被一種永恆的愛所愛。 拉斐爾在醫院生命的最後幾天發現了耶穌的愛。 以疼痛和嗎啡為標誌，他明確要求接受洗禮，因為 - 他告訴我 - “耶穌幫助了我很多次”。