Monday, June 21, 2010

Micah 6:8 - 9 years on

On 20 June 2001, my Bishop laid his hands on my head in the Church of St Anne’s in Singapore, oiled my palms with Holy Chrism, and ordained me a priest. I celebrated my ninth anniversary of my sacerdotal priesthood yesterday, and it gave me cause to reminisce and ponder this path that my life has taken as a response to God’s call of love and service to him and his people.

I took as my ordination holy card scripture passage Micah 6:8, which reads “this is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God”. I recall that it was at a retreat during my seminary days where this scripture passage stood out and was somehow seared into my mind. I took it somewhat courageously (or prophetically) as a personal motto and slogan for the rest of my priesthood. Looking back these nine years, I would love to say that I have lived this as boldly and truthfully as I would have wanted to, but truth be told, it has been wanting, especially at times when I seemed to be swimming against the current of what is known as the sea of weak, human, self-preserving tendencies.

But to be sure, Micah 6:8 is a passage that is equally fitting for both laity as well as the ordained to seriously reflect upon and perhaps to take as some type of spiritual gauge. Each of us, married, single or ordained who bear the dignity of being baptized into the life of Christ is essentially called to do that – to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with our God.

Acting justly is a very challenging task for anyone. I need to bear in mind constantly that my every action becomes an extension of God’s saving action in the world. The more I refuse to cooperate and collaborate with God’s grace to do this, the more I prevent God’s Kingdom from coming. Oh, how is it that there have been numerous times when a just act is an act that is just not received well? This must be the challenge of the Cross.

Loving tenderly is very easy when there is reciprocal love. It would be so easy if it was mutual all the time, but we only need to glace at the Cross of Christ to see that real love is always a decision, and not a reaction. Loving tenderly becomes then the call of every Christian to love even when hatred, harsh judgment and ingratitude are about the only things that one receives. That image of Christ on the Cross is a reminder of just how tender love can be – where every open wound becomes tender because of a love that is exposed and uncovered, as all wounds are wont to be tender.

And finally, to walk humbly with your God is a call to each one who is called God’s child. Actually, it is a promise of great hope and consolation because it is not a call to walk ahead of (where we lead the way), nor straggling behind (where we reluctantly need to be dragged and inveigled), but walking with. It takes a whole lot of humility to accede to the fact that God wants us to walk with him. It requires of us a heart that is mellow, malleable and also one that is constantly grateful for God’s divine ‘walking-with’ in our lives.

My heartfelt thanks go to my family, my brother priests, my friends and benefactors all these nine years for journeying with me in my priesthood. Through this blog now, I hope to touch the lives of many more, and I’d like to say a special thank you for those who take time to drop in for a read each Monday. Your support has encouraged me to keep up with this regularity. May God bless each of your paths towards holiness.


  1. Since this is the ninth anniversary of your priesthood, allow me the liberty to write the following:

  2. Father Luke, may there be several more spirit- and love-filled years ahead for you. Thank you for your heart-felt postings in this blog and for all the similarly heart-felt homilies you delivered at OLPS. We in the east miss you! You have a gift for communication. May it serve you well to bring more people into His loving fold. God bless.

  3. Hi Fr Luke,

    congrats on yr 9th anniversary of yr ordination. I pray and wih you many more years of happy priesthood..

    God Bless!

    IHM parishioner

  4. happy belated father's day, which aptly coincides with your ordination anniversary (:


  5. Dear Fr Luke

    Happy 9th Sacerdotal Anniversary.
    May you continue to spread the Good News of God in your infectious lively spirit as always; uplifting souls in the process of your journeying with the people of God.

    Galations : Those who sow in the Spirit reap everlasting Life in the Spirit.

    May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always.

  6. Congrats Fr Luke!

    Mary B

  7. Dear Fr Luke, Happy 9th Year of your priesthood! God is good. He has indeed blessed you with the gift of ministering to His people in many many ways.I thank God for bringing you into our parish in OLSS.

  8. Congratulations Fr. Luke on your 9th sacerdotal anniversary! It is truly wonderful to hear that you have been a priest for 9 years. May the Lord continue to guide and bless you.

    Pax tecum.

  9. Happy Sacerdotal Anniversary on your 9th year as Father Lukie! And happy belated Father's day!

    Thank you for the reminder that love is decision...and love goes beyond feelings.....and to love someone also means to make the decision to carry on loving even though it hurts....

  10. Dear Fr. Luke,

    Congratulations on your 9th sacerdotal anniversary :) I am a new "follower" of your blog and I have found much encouragement and consolation in your Monday messages: thank you for all the sharing and reflections.

    The parishioners of OLSS are truly blessed and fortunate to have you minister to us. May the good Lord bless you with many more fruitful years in His service.

    "You are a priest forever, a priest like Melchizedek of old." Hebrews 7:17

  11. hey frLuke, despite all your idios (hahaha), you have indeed lived your motto truthfully and boldly and know that you are much loved.

    May our dearest Lord bless you every day of your priesthood, thus blessing us sheep (good and strayed) also with His good shepherd.

  12. Fr Luke, I like this entry too.

    " Real love" as you've said "is always a decision....." that's true enough.

    However,Micah exhorts to "love-tenderly" - I feel that, that can only be possible through a shared 'wounded-ness', a shared experience of human fragility and frailty...perhaps that's what's meant in the oft heard hymn - 'deep within us, shared among us....the heart & mind of Jesus Christ...' The loving tenderness
    ( solicitous love) of God is made possible because of the wounds of the Son ??

    Wishing you again, a happy & holy anniversary of your 9th Ordination - tessa

  13. Hi Fr Luke, reading your blog above reminds me of how the Lord ask Moses to bless Aaron and his sons in the book of Numbers:


    How many of us dare to see the face of God and even if He choose to uncover it to us, would we be at peace with him? On our last day, we have no choice but to see His face, pray that we be at peace with him NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF DEATH!

  14. hi Father, my best wishes and blessings on your anniversary as our earthly shepherd. Think many would agreed with me that your insights and love for God had breath God's love to our journey of love. We thank God for sending you to us lost sheep. God Bless!

    Baby Therese, Geslyn and Pat.

  15. Dear Fr Luke,

    A Blessed Anniversary!

    May you live out par excellence your promises mentioned in Micah 6:8.

    And should you stumble (you have always said the journey with God is one that of dance...2 steps forward and a step back), may the picture of the priest holding on and gazing at Christ on your Sacerdotal Ordination card (yes, we still have it)comes to mind to lead you back.

    By the way, this picture reminds me of your homilies and talks where you said, in so many different ways, that it is in the constant gazing at our Lord that we find God's love - in our marriages, in the mundane things that we do, and also in our joys and sufferings.

    Know something? God would look upon you today and say, "I like what I see."

    With love,

    "Take O Lord and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will. All that I have and all that I call my own, you have given all to me and to you I return them. Everything is yours. Do with them what you will. Only give me your love and your grace, for with these I am rich enough and I desire nothing more."
    Prayer of St Ignatius (also printed on your ordination card)

  16. Dear Fr. Luke,

    Jesus did a wonderful thing for us all: He istituted the priesthood.

    How else could we have our sins forgiven in confession and participate in the miracle of the Eucharist at every mass?

    Congratulations on your 9th anniversary, but mostly - Thank you for being a priest.

    God Bless

  17. To all who took pains to write your kind wishes to congratulate me on my ordination anniversary, I say a big Thank You. I pray that God will continue to use us all so that we can become his images in this world that is so in need of his love and healing. Thank you once again, and God bless.

    Fr Luke