He was a young adult then and he had attended a formation led by Fr. Lim Ooi Chai. Midway through the formation, Fr. O.C. was reading passages from the Scriptures, from the Psalms and Gospels from a thick book. Suddenly, he dropped the book. The heavy thud on the floor jolted all the participants.
“We thought it was the Bible, but it was not,” said Archbishop Julian when delivering the homily at Fr. O.C.’s funeral service this morning. Apparently Fr. O.C. had gotten hold of a random book, slipped into its pages pieces of paper with the Scripture passages written on them to give the impression that it was the Bible.
“He taught me not to assume things. What we hear and see may not be the reality,” he said to the family gathered at the funeral parlour. The number of people allowed for the service had to be restricted to 15 people due to government restrictions and safety concerns over the looming Covid-19 pandemic. Archbishop Julian decided to conduct the funeral service alone and allow more of Fr. O.C.’s family members to be there.
Under old normal conditions, the funeral service would have seen an overflowing of parishioners, believers, fellow priests, lawyers, politicians and activists from all religious beliefs and backgrounds coming to pay their last respects to the 76-year-old. Despite all the restrictions, a great many people turned to the live streaming to follow the service.
Tributes and condolence messages have been flooding social media for this former lawyer who left it all to become a Jesuit priest and who was ordained in 1992 when he was 49. He passed away on June 5.
“We mourn his loss, a loss for the Church, a loss for the nation. Still, we celebrate his life and what he had stood for. A voice that stood for justice. He was always present to the overburdened, downtrodden. He gave a voice to those who were voiceless, he shouldered their burden, their yoke with gentleness and humility,” said Archbishop Julian.
“We will be put to the test. We will all have to face our Creator one day. What will we hear our Creator say to us? Will, we hear the words ‘Welcome into the kingdom prepared for you, my faithful servant?’. I believe Fr. O.C. Lim is hearing these words spoken to him. A faithful servant, a faithful son to the Church, a brother, a son, an uncle, a granduncle to the family."
“May his legacy continue to live in our own hearts and in our lives. May we never forget to respond to God’s call. May we continue to respond to this call and we pray that we will have some portion of Fr. O.C. Lim’s courage, his faith and his love for the people.” With those words, Archbishop Julian ended his homily.
Homily by Most Rev Julian Leow, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur at the funeral service for Rev. Fr. O.C. Lim