With the coming of Pope Francis to Korea, both within and outside the Church, various voices are heard expressing themselves. Some waiting for the pope's words of encouragement and consolation, others showing concern for the pope's health during the hot humid days of August. Voices of citizens who do not want to see government funds used on ceremonies and want all to be kept small, in harmony with the pope's personality and values. There are also wishes for the pope not to visit the largest home for the handicapped in Korea at the Flower Village, but rather to visit with those who are demonstrating against the acts of the government in not respecting the rights of the citizens, and the unjust firing of workers in big business.
The peace columnist of the Peace Weekly feels it is healthy to have these divergent views on the visit. Only one voice expressed during this time would not be a sign of a healthy society. There is one wish he would have; to lower some of the walls and get rid of prejudices.
The pope wants us to think much about what we say and what we need not to say. We need to think deeply about what we say and write, and have a heart at peace.
We have invited the pope to come to Korea, but at the same time he is inviting us to get closer to Jesus. We need to listen carefully to what he will say to us during the visit. More than being concerned with whom he meets and where he goes is what he has to say. We need to lower are walls and listen with equanimity.
The columnist introduces the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) where our Lord said the listening was the better part. Francis is coming to Korea as a messenger of the Gospel: to give witness to Jesus and spread his message. There needs to be a harmony between the two sisters, but Jesus did say Mary had selected the better part, and it was not going to be taken away. The pope wants us all to have a closer relationship with Jesus.
In Joy of the Gospel: "Here we see a first principle for progress in building a people: time is greater than space" (Joy of the Gospel # 222). Where the pope goes is not as important as what he says. In #226: "Conflict cannot be ignored or concealed. It has to be faced. But if we remain trapped in conflict, we lose our perspective; our horizons shrink and reality itself begins to fall apart. In the midst of conflict, we lose our sense of the profound unity of reality. "
The different opinions expressed on the visit are a sign of life, but also we need a desire for unity and to work towards its actuality.