Priests: Called for the Divine Ministry
“Through your precepts I get understanding ; therefore I hate every false way.” (V. 104)
Sadhu Sundar Singh was born into a Sikh family. Sundar Singh’s mother took him to sit at the feet of a sadhu, an ascetic holy man, who lived in the jungle some miles away, while also sending him to Ewing Christian High School, Ludhiana, to learn English. The death of Sundar Singh’s mother, when he was fourteen, pitched him into violence and despair. He took out his anger on the missionaries, persecuted Christian converts, and ridiculed their faith. In a final defiance of their religion, he bought a Bible and burned it page by page in his home while his friends watched.
Sundar felt that his religious pursuits in Sikhism and the questioning of Christian and Hindu priests left him without ultimate meaning. Sundar resolved to kill himself by throwing himself upon a railroad track. That very night he had a vision of Jesus who opened Sundar’s soul to the truth. Sundar announced to his father, Sher Singh, that henceforth he would follow Christ. His father denounced him, and his brother Rajender Singh attempted to poison him. Sundar’s life was saved by the help of a nearby Christian community. On his sixteenth birthday, he was publicly baptized as a Christian in the parish church in Simla, in the Himalayan foothills. Prior to this he had been staying at the Christian Leprosy Home near Simla, serving the leprosy patients there.
Today’s verse was most relevant in the life of Sadhu Sundar Singh who gained understanding from the precepts of the Lord and who hated all the false ways he had once been through. As he answered his divine call for ministry after his encounter with the Lord, Jesus Christ, he went on to be a priest. Sadhu even to this day is remembered for his life’s testimony: “I am not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord,” he said, “but, like Him, I want no home, no possessions. Like Him I will belong to the road, sharing the suffering of my people, eating with those who will give me shelter, and telling all men of the love of God.” Just like the apostle Paul, who was once the greatest persecutor of Christianity, Sundar Singh turned out to be a great defender of Christianity and is treasured by many as a formative figure in the development of the Christian church in India.
Let us also pray that the Lord may inspire young men and women of our time to answer the call to sacrifice their lives to serve the Church as priests. And let us be ever thankful for our priests, bishops and evangelists who have made this great sacrifice to shepherd and share God’s love in this world.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you have chosen your priests from among us and sent them out to proclaim your Word and to act in your name. For so great a gift to your Church, we give you praise and thanks. We ask you to fill them with the fire of your love, that their ministry may reveal your presence in the church. In your precious name we pray..... Amen
Thought for the Day: He leadeth me, He leadeth me, By His own hand He Leadeth me, His faithful follower I would be, For by His hand he leadeth me.
Mrs. Neethi Prasad, St. Stephen’s Mar Thoma Church, New Jersey