From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 14
Today is Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-g?n, Priest, and Paul Ch?ng Ha-sang, and Companions, the Korean Martyrs who were the victims of religious persecution against Catholic Christians during the 19th century in Korea. Andrew Kim Taegon was first Korean priest. His father, Ignatius Kim, was martyred during the persecution of 1839 and was beatified in 1925.
All along Andrew had admired to become a priest. Shortly he was baptized at the age of fifteen he traveled thirteen hundred miles to the seminary in Macao, China. After six years he managed to return to his country through Manchuria. That same year he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai and was ordained a priest, fulfilling his dreams of becoming a priest.
Andrew was arrested, tortured and finally beheaded at the Han River near Seoul, the capital. He worked closely with Paul Chong Hasang a lay apostle and a married man, aged forty-five. When Christianity came to Korea during the Japanese invasion in 1592 when some Koreans were baptized, probably by Christian Japanese soldiers, evangelization was difficult because Korea refused all contact with the outside world except for an annual journey to Beijing to pay taxes.
Also among the group of 103 Korean martyrs were three bishops and seven priests, heroic laity, men and women, married and single of all ages. They were canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 6, 1984 when he visited Korea in 1984. He canonized Andrew, Paul, ninety-eight Koreans and three French missionaries who had been martyred between 1839 and 1867.
Historically, Koreans lived under the influences of Shamanism, Buddhism, Taoism or Confucianism, Christian faith was therefore seen as an intruder. The situation is now calm because freedom of religion is now guaranteed by the Constitution in Korea.
Buddhism is a highly disciplined philosophical religion in Korea which emphasizes personal salvation through rebirth in an endless cycle of reincarnation, a religious or philosophical concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, begins a new life in a new body.
The Buddha lived at a time of great philosophical creativity in India when many conceptions of the nature of life and death were proposed. Some were materialist, holding that there was no existence and that the self is annihilated upon death.
Korea must be unique in that the first seeds of Christianity were planted there by lay people. Today, there are almost 5.4 million Catholics in Korea. Recently Pope Francis celebrated a large open-air Mass to beatify 124 of South Korea’s first Catholics at a ceremony in the capital Seoul. He paid tribute to the Koreans, who died for their faith in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
The Pope called for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula, on the final day of his visit to South Korea. Koreans, Pope Francis said, should reject a “mindset of suspicion and confrontation” and find new paths to build peace.
There was no North Korean reaction to the visit, apart from a denial that a rocket launch on Friday was timed to coincide with his arrival.
Andrew Kim Tae-gon was born on 21 August 1821, in Chungchong Province, Korea. Paul Chong Hasang was born in 1795. He was the son of Augustine Chong Yakchong, one of Korea’s first converts to Christianity who was himself martyred in 1801 during the persecution of Shin-Yu.
The first reading of today is taken from 1 TM 6:2C-12: Beloved: Teach and urge these things.
Whoever teaches something different and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the religious teaching is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.
From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions, and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds, who are deprived of the truth, supposing religion to be a means of gain.
Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it. If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that. Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains. But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
The Gospel is taken from LK 8:1-3. Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578