Friday, October 24, 2014
A priest professor at the diocesan seminary writes about the Social Gospel in the Peace Weekly.The topic this week was living together with the world's family. He had just arrived for a talk at the Seoul Cathedral Parish, and had time so he looked around at the recent landscaping in front of the Cathedral. In the past he would see many Catholics who would be going into the Cathedral to pray, but on this day Chinese tourists were taking pictures outside the Church. The Cathedral had become a famous tourist attraction.
After the talk he left to go back to the seminary and it took him almost an hour to get out of the city. A trip that would ordinarily take 10 minutes. On the way home he reflected on how changed Korea was from the past. Korea is no longer a small country on the outskirts of a world society but a country with many foreigners: a globalized society which he found hard to believe.
When the priest was a child he remembered the foreigners as being an important part of the Church. Outside the church life he would rarely see a foreigner. It was in the church that he would see the foreigner. Once a year he would come in contact with Maryknoll Bishop William McNaughton who would come on the pastoral visit and for Confirmation.
The professor was baptized as an infant by a Maryknoll priest. He was confirmed by Bishop McNaughton. He also entered the seminary and was ordained by the bishop. His first parish assignment was as an assistant to a Maryknoll priest. He thanks the missionary priest for helping him during the first year of priesthood. He learned some of the ways of the West and pastoral methods from the priest. After this one year, he left for Rome to study and the year with the foreigner did make his life in Rome easier.
Today it is not difficult to encounter foreigners in our daily life. There are many from other cultures who are living with us as neighbors.We see many foreigners in the work place, and in our colleges for overseas studies.
We no longer can speak about a homogeneous country or people. We are part of the world family--globalization is part of our reality. But still many have a stereotypical and intolerant mind cast which brings shame on the country.We hear in the news stories about the difficulties of the foreign workers and the prejudice shown to other religions.
In a world of over 7 billion people we have many different ethnic groups, ways of thinking, and religions. We can't trample on the dignity and look down on the values of those different from ourselves. The darker the skin color and the poorer the country they come from are reasons for the different degrees of prejudice that is often shown.
"The world community must be presented, over and over again and with ever increasing clarity, as the concrete figure of the unity willed by the Creator. The unity of the human family has always existed, because its members are human beings all equal by virtue of their natural dignity. Hence there will always exist the objective need to promote, in sufficient measure, the universal common good, which is the common good of the entire human family” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church #432 ).
The seminary professor concludes that if we want to be a member of a happy family we have to not only think of ourselves but of the global family. We are all members of this world family and need to work for the common good, the way to world happiness.