Saturday, August 16, 2014

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

Pope Francis is in  Korea at a time when not all is well between the two Koreas. August 15th was Independence Day commemorating the end of colonial rule by the Japanese. We hope the pope's visit will be like a second liberation.These are words of a  poet teacher, writing in a diocesan bulletin.

These thoughts bring to mind her grandchildren. She hadn't seen them for some time and they were now grown up. She heard them quarreling over what program to watch on TV and heard her grandson say:  "Grandmother said to watch the soccer match." The granddaughter responded: "Grandmother is on my side." She heard crying from the sitting room and  went to the room: "Grandmother you are on my side, aren't you?" asked the child running to the grandmother. "Except for the times you are wrong I am always on your side."  She  consoled the two children. "Yes, when wrong, God is not on my side." The grandmother reminded the children. "I have to be on God's side." These words she says came to her lips without thought. She always thought that God was on her side but  suddenly she realized that God is truth, and when she is wrong, God is not on her side.

In sports events on what side will God be is a problem for some. God is for the ones who play fair and square.

The pope knows that Korea was exploited under the rule of the Japanese for 36 years. Korea was weak, but we became Catholic without the help of missioners. The first Protestant missioners came to Korea with the Gospel of Mark translated into Korean.  She is happy with the news that Pope Francis in his visit to  Korea, is not differentiating between Catholic and Protestant.

The Pope today is saying the Mass for the beatification of 124 martyrs in the center of Seoul, but that is just one of the stops, today he will also go to the Flower Village which makes our writer happy. Kkotdongnae, Flower Village, is the largest Catholic welfare center in Korea. It is not without controversy both from within and outside the church, but Pope Francis was not interested, and in his manner of acting wants to show solidarity with those who are weak in  our society.

She confesses that in reading the Gospels, and in the  passages where  Jesus showed partiality to Peter, James and John she was not happy. Recently, however, this has all changed. She feels  these disciples are the ones that needed more formation for their work.

This is the reason for Pope Francis' visit to the Flower Village. He is showing concern and love for those  often ignored by our society and wants to be with them. This is the lesson she has learned from the visit of the pope to Korea.

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