KAJANG – In his maiden speech as Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur on 6 Oct 2014 at the Church of the Holy Family, Kajang, Selangor, Most Rev Julian Leow Beng Kim addressed the Malaysian population: “It is with humility and meekness that I accept this appointment as the fourth Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur. I am humbled by the Holy Father, Pope Francis’ trust and confidence in me, for thrusting such a heavy responsibility onto my shoulders. I feel like Jeremiah in Jer 1: 6-8, but the Lord’s presence assures me not to be afraid for the Holy Spirit is with me.
Hence, I take up this office at a time when this nation is at a juncture when all that we have built-up, sacrificed for and taken for granted, may be lost forever if we, as a nation, make the wrong choices.
We need to re-write the script that is being read and acted out today, the one that is tearing our nation apart. We must produce a new and fresh narrative, one that is not only of having a shared destiny of peace, prosperity and harmony for the present and the future, but of understanding our shared past of mutual respect, dependence and cooperation. If we have not reconciled our past, of how we each have struggled side by side to build this nation, if we do not acknowledge the contribution and sacrifices each person had, has and will continue to make for the betterment of this nation, we will continue to stagnate and will never progress to be who we can and could be as Malaysians. A nation divided in herself can never stand tall.
This new narrative is not about competing with each other to see who is first, who is superior or who is more successful, but to gauge our strength as a nation by the way we treat the weakest and the most vulnerable among us. The most neglected of society must be our priority, to move this nation forward. We, as Church, must care for the frailest because we are only as strong and as united as our weakest member.
The future of our nation will depend on this new narrative being taught to our young. The values we need to instill in all, beginning from the young is this. Malaysia needs united Malaysians in mind, heart and soul.
We must inculcate values of mutual up-building, prospering your neighbour, debt of mutual love, out-doing each other in doing good, wanting the best for the other, recognizing the divine in each person as we are all made in the image of our Creator. We must stand up and speak up for the voiceless, the oppressed and the neglected for we shall be judged by what we do to the least of our brothers and sisters (Matthew 25:41). “For whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, you do it to me”, said Jesus. Let us not be contented with looking after what is ours only.
My Pastoral priorities would be the 4Ls: the Lost, the Last, the Least and the Little. I want to bring back the LOST, those who have strayed away from Mother Church for whatever reason.
The LAST are the Migrants in our Archdiocese who have left everything in search of something better. I want to make them welcome, to let them know that they have a safe place in the Church and that God loves them very much.
The LEAST are the voiceless, the neglected, the oppressed, the forgotten of society. There is refuge and a place for everyone and the Church must speak out for them. We must provide and care for the weakest in our midst.
The LITTLE are the Youth and the young, who need a solid understanding of the Faith, preparing them for the challenges they will encounter.
Not only is understanding our own faith important, but to know the faiths of others around us. Interreligious dialogue is so crucial in a country like ours. This will dispel misconceptions and create a healthy atmosphere of mutual respect.
Greatness is when we have contributed something for another, for their benefit: prosper thy neighbour. Great men and women are remembered by history when they have given to society, how they have enriched humanity by their philosophy, theology, by their thoughts, words and deeds. What do I want to be remembered for? What do we, as a nation, want to be remembered for? What is our contribution to this nation?
We are at the cross-roads of our future as Malaysians. A future from a shared past that we, as people of many faiths, have built up and sacrificed for. I pray that common sense will prevail and that difficult but right decisions will be made always by us and by our leaders.
With your support, your sacrifice and your prayers, my dear People of God, and especially, my sons and closest companions, my priests, I dedicate myself and my office to the task of healing and building our Nation Malaysia. – Herald