Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Diary of a Ghetto Priest | Friendship is a wonderful gift ... My very special friend, Peter Lue, was a gift from God

Published:Friday | June 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMFr Richard Ho Lung
Brothers from the Missionaries of the Poor.

Friendship is a wonderful gift. As Ecclesiastes says, it is better that two be together than one, for they have the advantage of each other's gifts and strengths.

Once there is friendship, if one falls, he will be supported by the other. If you are alone in your time of trial, when you fall, you will not have anyone to lean upon. But if you have a friend, you will be supported and comforted.

If you have a steadfast friend who carries on with love and kindness, he will be to you as your own self, and you can be confident of his friendship with any other companions. A faithful friend is a strong defense, and if you find such a friend, you have a great treasure.

I am convinced that faithful friends are very few and acquaintances are many. You should have many acquaintances, but know the difference between friends and acquaintances.

When I was a young boy at St George's College, I struggled and experienced shame because I was so poor. It was a privilege to attend St George's College. The boys were bright and well-spoken, but I did not feel worthy of their companionship.

What was marvellous was having the Jesuit priests and scholastics dressed in white habits and sashes. They were such good men. They mixed discipline and a cheerful love for the kids and were very devoted to the Lord.

They warmed our hearts with their care and goodwill for the boys. They used the strap if necessary - if you were rough or imprudent, used bad words, didn't do your homework, or lied. There was always a brotherly or fatherly attitude towards us boys.

Friendship from these holy men was very special. This is what made St George's College a place of distinct character. And we loved it!

Because of their friendship, I joined the Jesuits - I wanted to be in company with them. They dedicated their lives to us and were real friend to all of us.

Within the campus, moreover, I had a very special friend - Peter Lue! He was very bright and very kind. I really think he was sent to me by God.

When I had no lunch at school, Peter brought me to the cafeteria. When I struggled with my homework, he helped me to understand. When I was weak at sports, he brought me to the cricket and football fields.

Even Mass and Rosary were daily events that he urged and encouraged me to attend. That friendship blossomed through the years and brought me great confidence.

Fifty-eight years later, we met. We had gone different ways.

All I can give to Peter is my faith and thanksgiving for all that he did for me.

I want to bring to Peter the wonderful gift of Christ, our Friend among all friends who lived and died for us. Despite all the sins and weaknesses we committed against Him, Christ our Lord has never abandoned us. Thank God, despite the separation of nearly 60 years, Peter Lue has never stopped being simple, kind, and humble.

I know that Peter Lue and his family from Liguanea Grocery have done well overseas. I'll never stop giving thanks to them for their goodness.

Not only was I poor, but I have so many faults derived from the seven deadly sins. Peter reminds me of the tender mercies of the Lord, the power of the Lord, through all the things he has been for me and the multitude of acts of kindness he has given to me through Jesus Christ.

I see this day by day at the centres. Homeless and lively people chatting and laughing, sometimes quarreling - but always together. They are no longer alone. They have the gift of friendship.

"He that is a friend loves at all times, and a brother is proved in his distress." (Prov. 17:17)