25th Tuesday in Ordinary Time
THE SOULS OF THE JUST ARE IN THE HANDS OF GOD. Saint Andrew Kim was the first Korean to be ordained a priest. He is also the best known martyr in his country of South Korea. But he has many companions in witnessing to Christ Jesus by his life. After his time there were other persecutions in Korea. Some years ago I was able to visit the magnificent shrine dedicated to memory of the best known of the Many Korean Catholic Martyrs, of whom Andrew Kim is the most prominent. There were some ten thousand Korean martyrs in the 19th century. That number probably includes the Anglicans who have a shrine not many miles away from the Catholic Basilica which is quite accessible to nearby Seoul.
The Catholic Cathedral is located in the very heart of Seoul, the largest city in Korea. The Catholics under Cardinal Kim had such a high reputation that even the non-Catholic preachers would come to the adjacent square to preach, for the government would not arrest anyone in the large Catholic area where there was a large school with nuns teaching as well as the large Cathedral Church.
This feast evokes in us today a strong awareness that in the Middle East similar persecution is being waged against Catholics and all Christians. In fact in our own country some Christians are being oppressed, threatened in their job, even fined large sums because of fidelity to their faith. Our present government is activity pursuing anti-Christian policy in regard to abortion.
We are called upon to witness to the fullness of Catholic teaching today by fidelity to our own vocation of prayer and community life. The Church of many periods of time also experienced strenuous opposition to the faith. May we, with the intercession of Saint Andrew and the many Korean martyrs, always experience the strength of grace that we be ever faithful to God’s love.