Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

The Desk Columnist in the Korean Times believes  Pope Francis' exhortation  'The Joy of the Gospel' will be a means of renewal for the whole Church. She mentions  Pope Francis called together the heads of the Church offices in the Vatican to discuss  how to integrate their work with the exhortation. This is what the Bishops' Conference of Korea  has done during their spring bishops' meeting.

The bishops want it to be more than just an exhortation but to have a change in the way the Church functions.  They recommended meetings to study the exhortation in all the dioceses and find ways to implement the teaching in our works.

In Korea signs of interest were seen in the number of copies of the exhortation sold. The way the mass media reported on the exhortation did help. After two weeks,  they have sold over 20,000. Usually in the past with the printing of Roman documents  they sell between 3 and 4,000, so there has been much interest in 'The Joy of the Gospel'. 

What is the reason for this  kind of response in Korea? The answer given by many, she says,  is a style of  writing different from the  past. The exhortation is appealing to read, with an easy presentation of ideas, but also she says, the feeling  many have of living in difficult times. Materialism, egotism, worldliness is rampant; the exhortation helps us to face this reality with a faith filled understanding, which is attractive. The  appeal comes also from the concrete ways we are called to be missioners in this world environment.

The pope, more than anything else stresses how we are to be a poor church. A sign of a renewed Church is the concern and love for  the poor and the promotion of peace. After the end of the Year of Faith, we have the directions given to us by the pope on how to be a poor Church.

This August we will have the visit of the pope and the beatification of 124 of our martyrs. There is the hope that the  whole Korean Church will be energized and gain a new hope for maturity and renewal. At this point in time, to  find happiness we are urged to look at the poor,  share  joy with others, show the beauty of this view to others, and invite others to the banquet of joy to which we have been called. This is the vocation that we have been given in the exhortation.

Our ancestors in the faith in order to follow the commands of God suffered all kinds of difficulties, but were not delinquent in their carrying out the command to love. They had the hope of  the resurrected life that Jesus showed us.

We are celebrating the Feast of Easter. At this time, we meditate on the happiness that the Easter message gives us, and remember what is necessary to receive this joy. Decisions necessary should be self-evident. A Happy Easter to all.

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