Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How we meet our saviour in this life can prepare us for the next

Most of my readers would know by now that I had spent the last two weeks in America for two different purposes.  The first was to close that unfinished chapter of my life in Washington DC because of my ill-timed leukemia ordeal some two years ago.  The second was for a much anticipated and happier purpose – when I finally met my stem cell donor who enabled me to undergo the much needed stem cell transplant in July 2013.  I would most likely to have been dead by now if I had not been given this second chance at life through the precious stem cell donation, which I received.  I have been made extremely welcome by my new family (that’s what Peter and Lily Mui consider me) in the short 6 days that I have stayed with them, and this blog this week is written in dedication to their generosity, love, care and great Christian charity for allowing me to have that reboot in life.

What does one feel when one meets in person someone who went out of his way to do all he could so that one’s debilitating illness had a chance of a remission?  What adjectives can one find to accurately convey the immense gratitude that pours out of one’s being?  Are words ever enough?  Despite great protestations of “I only did what anyone would do” by Peter, deep inside, I know that this was not what ‘anyone’ would do.  Many would think twice, if not thrice, about saving a total stranger, whether from a sinking ship or a from a grim cancer prognosis. 

It is, and always will be, a surrealistic experience for me.  It usually is not that great a challenge to find the appropriate words to convey my feelings.  One would think that seven years of consistent blogging would endow me with a reasonably large vocabulary arsenal.  But I have come to realise that this was not so much about finding the right words, as it is about identifying the welling up of a whole gamut of emotions when faced with something so close to one’s very life and death. 

Being welcomed so warmly by a new family half way across the world from Singapore because I now share someone else’s lifesaving cells in my body, and also share his DNA is nothing short of miraculous and a matter of God’s amazing grace.  I have always taught and preached about the necessity and reality of living in the Body of Christ, a term which is pregnant with meaning on so many levels.  That we are all connected with one another on this planet called Earth, and are called by Jesus to ‘love one another as he has loved us’ can become something that is loosely used and hardly even contemplated on.  Peter’s altruistic decision to save someone who he may never meet or know, let alone hear from, is a testimony of selflessness.  St Thomas Aquinas defines love as “willing the good of the other for the sake of the other”, and this stem cell donation pretty much ticks all of St Thomas’ boxes.  That there was nothing in it for Peter to gain from, nothing personal to attain and reap, makes the entire act such a powerful display of goodness in true Christ-like imitation. 

In the short time that I have spent being with and getting to know the one who saved my life from the brink of death, I have also met the Christian community of which he is a member, and have seen firsthand how this person’s faith plays such a central and pivotal role in his life and that of his family.  It is almost charming to a fault how though we are living lives half a world away from one another, that our shared Chinese heritage and roots have a familiar commonality about them. 

Undoubtedly, some of you would like to find out what it feels like to embrace the one who gave you that glimmer of hope in life.  It is akin to meeting your saviour which you had always wanted to, and to be immersed in the joy of a longed for reunion. 

But isn’t this our shared ultimate call as followers and disciples of our ultimate Saviour Jesus Christ?  Isn’t our whole life a longing for and an anticipation of that great reunion with Jesus at the end of our lives, when we finally will meet our Eternal Life’s Saviour in Him?  Not many people, I would think, have had the experience I had, in having that experience, albeit on a merely human level.  It was nothing short of miraculous, and something close to heaven. 

If that was great, and indeed it was, then picture what it would be for you, my dear reader, to experience this for your very selves when our earthly journey is over, and we are well prepared and readied for that moment of union with Christ.  My wonderful and undeserved encounter with Christ in meeting my donor is but a foretaste of what is to come.  It will shape and colour and add immense depth to the way that I live the rest of my earthly life, and I pray that this will give much hope, faith-filled anticipation and a joyful awaiting for each person that I meet, relate with and minister to so that they too will have a similar longing in their hearts for their reunion with their Lord and Saviour. 

Our lives are but a foretaste of the eternal joys that are to come when Christ is all in all.  This has to be our ultimate aim in life.  The rest, as they say, is all commentary.   


  1. Welcome home Fr Luke! Glad you've had a 'surrealistic' & spiritually uplifting (& emotionally charged) experience with your life saver & his family in Chicago. Indeed this 'wonderful encounter' is a foretaste of what is to come in our anticipated & eternally joyful reunion with our Lord & Saviour, although the eternal joys ot this
    final reunion will be magnified many times over, beyond anything our human mind can fathom!
    It would be really great if Peter & his family can visit S'pore during our SG50 Jubilee year & meet Fr Luke's parishioners, many of whom (including myself) would like to thank him personally for availing himself to be God's instrument in this "powerful display of goodness in true Christ-like imitation" & thus transforming Fr Luke into GOD'S WALKING MIRACLE. Thank you Peter & may you & your family be blessed abundantly!


  2. “...............faith plays such a central and pivotal role in his life and that of his family.”

    Somehow, I feel that you have hit the nail on the head when you discerned that Faith plays a pivotal role in Peter, your stem-cell donor’s life. Recently, reading through some of the lives of the Saints, I was struck by this definition of faith – that it is the “sharing in the Life of God” and so we would start to see and evaluate everything as if through His eyes. We would then see the traces of God in the world............ in everything. Perhaps, that explains why St Francis perceives God’s loving presence in all the phenomena of nature, birds and beasts and he’s always praising God for both the good as well as bad times. For faith can accomplish in us a complete change from our former way of seeing, thinking, feeling – it changes or transforms our mental outlook.

    So, we are taken aback, surprised by Peter’s -“I only did what anyone would do” because we are not accustomed to look at the world in this way............through the eyes of Jesus. I feel that it is also through the light of faith that one sees the difficulties and pains of others and fully empathizes with them becoming more compassionate, mellow and mindful. It is only through the eyes of faith, that like St Bernadette- we can be able to be grateful even for the failures and suffering and see them as opportunities for sanctification and growth. We need more of faith.

    God bless you, Fr