Thursday, November 23, 2017

Bigger Churches and More Christians

In the last half of the 20th century, industrialization and democratization of Korea brought about a great increase of the number of Catholics. From 3% of the population to over 10% growth  needing the building of new churches and 5 new seminaries. It was a growth  rarely seen in the church and a reason for pride.

A priest writing for other priests in a pastoral bulletin asks his readers: Do we have a better way of life from the increase of the number of crosses on church buildings and the number of Christians in Korea? Are we happier society for the increase? You ask 10 people and you get the same answer: No, is the very natural response  to the question: no ifs, ands and buts.

Jesus' came into the world  to reform it.   He gave his life for the cause and we his followers are given the same mission of making this world one according to his will. Why then since we have an increase of twice to three times what it was,  we so called Christians have not made any difference in the world we see? We perceive no sign of change. Rather with the passage of time why do we feel more anxious, tired and  unhappy? Let us suppose that  the majority of the population  joined us would there be change? Seeing the results of the increase we have experienced our answer  wouldn't be yes.  Why?

The writer feels we have forgotten the responsibility we have as Christians. Often is heard the structures of the church are vertical, clericalism is rampant. Few are the members of the clergy who have reflected long and deep on the situation and are  concerned with the situation. Tearing down buildings, extending present buildings and building new buildings is what is important. The building of churches and the increase of believers has little to do with the evangilization of the world.

We do not want to misunderstand what the work of the community of faith is. Church is here to work for the establishment of  God's kingdom. The Church is not the kingdom but a means to bring the kingdom here to the world. When we are only interested in extending the church and fail to spread the message of the Gospel and absorbed in security and our own growth we become a business enterprise.

He concludes the article by reminding the readers that when we only think of building up the church making it larger and forget the mission of the church we forget the shabby looking  Jesus who stood before the sign of  authority and power of Pilate. 

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