Proverbs 21:1 -6,10 – 13
Luke 8:19 -21
Today we honour and learn from the Korean Martyrs.
Pope John Paul II canonised St Andrew Kim Taegon, St Paul Chong Hasang and their Companions – 103 in all who gave their lives for Christ our Lord in the Persecutions that happened in Korea mainly in the 18th and 19th Centuries. St John Paul in his homily at the ceremony in May 1984 at Seoul spoke of how as many as 10,000 Christians mainly Catholic but also other Christian believers gave their lives for their faith during a time of harsh persecution by the authorities. The martyrs we celebrate were men, women, and children who showed exception bravery because they believed in the Love of God and the Promise that Jesus gives to those who follow his way. The Pope said this Church was really founded by the laypeople themselves who sought out the teaching of Christ from those who took the annual tribute to the Emperor in Beijing China. Theirs is an extraordinary story of faith, of fellowship and of courage.
You can imagine Jesus is engrossed in breaking the Word of his Father to the people listening with eagerness to his teaching. The crowd is so intent on what he says with wisdom and gentleness.
Someone tells him: “Hey Jesus. Your mother and your brothers are outside and want a word with you.” We have no idea what the matter was. Most of us in Jesus shoes would say: “Please just have a few words to each other while I catch up with my Mum and cousins.”
But Jesus astounds us: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
He tells us that more important than family ties are our relationship in the Kingdom of his Father – by our faith in the Word of Jesus we are bonded into a new family where we are born again in the Life of the Spirit and we are sharing the Love of the Father in living the Word of Jesus in a dynamic way. This is stronger even than our family ties or ties of blood. Do I value my fellow Christians and learn to know and cherish them as real brother s and sisters? The Korean martyrs lived and practised their faith with conviction and devotion. Let us learn from them.
Pat McIndoe CP, a Passionist at St. Gabriel’s Retreat, Boroko, Port Moresby