Richard Ho Lung: Whom do I serve?
I represent the Lord. It is my calling, my vocation in life. What is my work? My work is the work of the Lord. I labour for God according to His words and His will. Who is your leader or authority figure? I must obey God above all.
This is the source of my life, the reason for my existence: humble service of the Lord, even when it hurts.
The Lord has commanded me to serve out my life in Jamaica, for the poorest of people, and to pour out myself for the most forgotten throughout the world.
I left behind my university degrees. They made no sense to me. They did not conform to the Kingdom of God - which is beautifully detailed in the Beatitudes - the very purpose of Christ's Kingdom:
"Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God;
Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied;
Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh;
Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you ....
and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!"
Those terrifying and exhilarating words are the statement of purpose of Christ, and I am here to do His will. If I don't, I would be disobedient.
Those works of love for the poor and service of them are not easy to fulfil. There are those who curse us and insult us. Even death threats have come our way; two of our Brothers doing this work were murdered ten years ago, Marco and Suresh, who are now martyrs.
There are also evils we have had to counter - abortion, the proposition to kill the baby in the womb before they become ghetto youth. There is also hedonism which promotes the flesh market, even while young boys drop their trousers in popular style, and young women prostitute themselves.
Everything goes in Jamaica and is justifiable, as long as it brings about popularity or notoriety and money. The destruction of morality under the label of productivity and pro-choice is exactly what all of us as Jamaicans must confront today. I remember teaching at Boston College in Massachusetts and at the University of West Indies in Mona. I was reprimanded by some colleagues for speaking about good and evil, right and wrong, heaven and hell, and, the conscience embedded in the hearts and mind of all people.
Though all these matters of morality are in all great literature written by the pen of every great master and artist, I was told that what matters is style in literature, that must be my concern. In other words, truth, a moral law, and any concern for the interior principles that have to do with the laws of God, the soul, judgment, heaven and hell - are not to be considered - though they are truths that dignified the human person and the human race.
I fear for Jamaica, not only morally and spiritually, but also materially. There is a connection between morality and prosperity. Morality is the laws of God written on the hearts of men. In the past, when we were a more God-centred and God-fearing people, Jamaicans were more self-controlled, decent and law abiding.
I agree that there was not enough concern for the poor, whether it be from the society, politics or the church. Now there is more awareness. But you do not wish to throw out the baby with the bath water. The churches have laid down the fundamental and the most important principles for a good life and respect for people, but these are disappearing. Right and wrong, heaven and hell, love and hate, have all been cast out as old fashion, irrelevant, or even foolishness.
But we cannot have a society that prospers without justice and righteousness, without a moral order. There cannot be fruitfulness and a land of plenty without correction, direction, control and purpose that is transcendent. Unless there will be self-sacrifice and service at the heart of the nation, we will build and tear down endlessly, having double standards and lies, deeply eroding our way of life, which can only end up in destruction.
Now what must I do under my beloved Lord? I must obey him: 'If you love Me you will keep My commandments."
Sometimes I am told that my role in Jamaica is to be prophetic. I do not know if that is the case. I do know that I have to be committed to the truth, whether I am hated or loved.
I am sure that I must do what God commanded by His word in the Beatitudes. I am also sure that I must speak about good and evil no matter what are the consequences. When our island is going the wrong way morally, which I do believe is the case today, causing the immorality and lack of respect so prevalent, I must speak out. It is not an option to speak out or not to speak out.
Wrong is wrong, right is right, good is good, and evil is evil, then there is heaven and hell - all this is clearly delineated by the God who loves us and calls us to be true to Him.
To do wrong or evil is congenital to us. I am a sinner. I will be the last one to say I am not. I confess my sins in repentance to a priest. I seek penance and I am contrite about my wrongs. What I do not want to do is to call right wrong and wrong right, this is the sin against the Holy Spirit.
Repentance, then forgiveness. Over and over we sin, we regret, we beg forgiveness of the Lord and our community. We also pray for strength to go on, to change our ways and to give thanks that God will never stop forgiving us as we approach eternity, His heavenly home awaiting us.