The following are selected quotes from an interview with Fr. Luke a few weeks after his ordination.
When Fr. Joe Weber vested me during ordination in May, he said “Hello Father.” He was the first to call me “Father.” I couldn’t get at my handkerchief to wipe the tears streaming down my face.
At the Mass of Thanksgiving the following week, I preached about feeling a tremendous sense of existential clarity, that this is truly real and not just an idea. To me now, the world seems more real.
One vocational question that I was wrestling with was, “Should I be here?” I knew God wanted me here, but I had to accept that.
“I accepted that God wanted me here but I never knew why. That’s the question that crept up for me. Why am I here, God? What do you want me to do?”
I had been so focused on climbing the hill [of formation] and I knew I had to make it to the top, but to what end, I didn’t know. Now I’m at the top of the hill looking out at what’s before me. I’m beginning to see and take in what’s before me. It’s overwhelming, humbling, and exciting. Yet there is something profoundly ordinary about it.
People have kids every day. Every year people are ordained. This isn’t an extraordinary event. People get married all the time. It’s ordinary, this is what is supposed to happen. And in that ordinariness is the profound presence of God. God is the ordinary. It’s exciting to see how beautiful and wonderful the ordinary things are that God has given us. And now I’m a part of that.
There’s a new sense of God’s love, God’s presence, and I find myself not needing miracles. This ordinary thing called Ordination has been going on for millennia, and with that profound sense of God’s presence in that…yeah, I don’t need miracles.
Pope John Paul, II wrote a poem while at Vatican II that said (to paraphrase) “Peter, you are a floor upon which people walk. The marble of the floor is like the rocks that support the sheep across the pasture. You don’t know where they are headed, but you guide their feet.”
I resonated with that idea of being a floor that people walk on, that I guide their feet, but I don’t know where they’re going. It’s not my responsibility to be their Savior, but I do have to be their floor.
From Hebrews 5; 1-10 we learn at some point everyone struggles with the question of worthiness. Knowing just how human I am, and knowing my weaknesses, there is great worry.
But every high priest has been chosen from among men, the passage says. It is precisely because of men’s weakness that allows them to deal with everybody with patience and charity. Jesus was human and He chooses His high priests from among men, fully aware of that reality. In that sense, weakness is a strength.
Right now I’m supposed to be a floor, deal patiently and with love to guide people’s feet.
I think what people have missed, that Pope Francis is bringing back, is a sense that they can see themselves in him. Francis is changing the narrative—he isn’t saying anything new, but he is changing the narrative.
He’s making the same message accessible in a new way and that’s something I’ve always tried to do in my preaching. He’s been a model and an affirmation of where I’ve tried to go in my preaching and in my ministry. Hopefully I can be that sort of relatable presence, particularly to my own generation and in Denver where the area is changing and becoming the young adult center of the Archdiocese.
This is bringing the best of me out and challenging me to grow in the right way while not stifling my personality.
How do you express gratitude for someone giving you livelihood? It’s absolute generosity. I feel guilty sometimes and that I need to do something more. I depend on everybody for everything in some sense and yet people give it. In one sense it feels incredibly selfish because I’m happy doing this. They’re giving me an opportunity to be myself—they’re giving me life. A thank you card isn’t going to cut it.
One of our donors once said, “You give me more than I have ever given you just by your being.”
I hope I can be worthy of their generosity and their trust and con-fidence. I’ll spend the rest of my life working to be worthy and who they need me to be. That’s what I’m here for.