“Deliver us,

Hear our call, deliver us

Lord of all, remember us

Here in this burning sand

Deliver us!

Send a Shepherd to shepherd us!

And deliver us, to the Promised Land.

Deliver us to the Promised Land!”

These are the iconic and haunting words which greet us at the opening of Disney’s “The Prince of Egypt”. The movie recounts the story of Moses and how he was chosen to save the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt. Illustrating the events from the book of Exodus, Chapters 2 to 15, this movie is a classic.

The lyrics from the song came to mind as I saw Father Terrence leave for his further studies. Not that he was fleeing for his life, but rather the whole scene reminded me of our need. That we too need to be delivered from our ignorance. That in an age where God is increasingly forgotten, and our first fruits are swept away by a tide of relativism and materialism, we too need more shepherds to shepherd us. Slaves to our appetites, we are at the mercy of the latest fad and trend, building monuments of folly. That is why, though most of us would not be crying aloud to God as how the Israelites were in the Prince of Egypt, we do so in our relentless quest to fill the void in our lives with the material and hopefully with some of the spiritual. Thanks be to God for Father Terrence and the other priests who have been sent, so as to lead us to the Promised Land.

As a fellow sojourner on the road of formation, the Promised Land is to be in the Paradise which God had intended from the beginning of time. To be in harmony with God, with our fellow men and with nature. Our Promised Land is the restoration of that triple harmony and so be free from being slaves to our appetites. For as St Augustine would say, “our hearts are restless O Lord, until they rest in You.”

However, the course of formation is not an easy one and despite our competencies we are all challenged to grow in ways that the Lord desires. Truly as St John puts it in Chapter 15 of his Gospel; “Christ is the Vine and the Heavenly Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch in Him that bears no fruit is cut away. And every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.” I suppose the more we desire growth and the more we bring forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit the clearer it is that we are doing what Christ desires. Yet, it is the pruning aspect which seems unescapable. For me, my pruning occurs when it comes to the study of Latin. I’ve never been that good with my languages and so the pruning away of distractions and increasing the amount of practice time has been painful. Yet, it is necessary to carry our Cross and follow Him and so we sojourn.

We pray for all undergoing formation especially our shepherds who are in an Egypt of their own; Father Samuel Lim, Father Jovita Ho, Father Jude David and Father Terrence Kesavan.

Elohim, Adonai, can you hear your people cry? Listen now and deliver us!