In the Catholic Times the Desk columnist presents us with two Korean maxims which he wants us to reflect on as we come to the end of our calendar year. "Time to see the old year out and the new year in." And secondly: "Find a guide into tomorrow by taking lessons from the past." The second maxim we need to follow at all times, but fail to do so because of laziness.
These two maxims he says should work together. The first one has to do with a government official who has been changed and a new one has arrived. When the new person comes there is a new environment that begins. But at the same time we remember to learn from the past so we wont make the same mistakes in the future. Whether it was failure or success, we learn from the past and with the new knowledge and understanding we begin again. History becomes a way of learning for the future.
With the new year we throw to the winds the hurts of the past. We don't want to tie ourselves to the frustrations and despair of the Sewol disaster. We learned from the disaster to guide us during the new year. The new allows us to say goodbye to the old, but we also learn from the old how to live in the new.
Pope Francis approached the parents of the victims of the tragedy not because of some teaching of the Church, or some ideology or political position, but because they were hurting. He was showing mercy and concern.
This mercy was shown in the way the synod was recently conducted and the way next year the discussion on the family will continue. Pope Francis is following the method of changing what needs to be changed to be closer to the teaching of the early Church and the apostles. The elements that do not serve the purpose he wants to discard and those that help us to be more Christ-like he wants to retain.
We Christians with the experience of baptism and the cross rid ourselves of worldly values, and recover the values of the Gospel. We work for our personal reformation in which we throw out the harmful, but also learn from the old to prepare for the new.