Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Christmas is here the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Here in Korea a national holiday. Both Catholic papers had editorials on the meaning of Christmas. For the Catholics along with others, a day of rest to enjoy. For the believers, the celebration is a day to meditate on the reasons Jesus came to earth. We don't celebrate the day in the way the non-believers do.
The situation in Korea is not much different from other parts of the world. The bishops of Korea have given their Christmas messages to the nationwide parishes. We are divided into many different camps. Opposition and accusations abound. The ruling and opposition parties, labor, and civil society all try to protect their interests. The North/South situation seemed rosy with the inter-Korean Summit and the United States and North Korean talks but all hope quickly disappeared.
Christmas shows us how in the form of the lowest in society humanity's values of peace, reconciliation, and love are made known. The true meaning of Christmas is seen in the humility, peace, reconciliation, and love shown by the baby Jesus lying in the eating trough for animals.
The church needs to continually remind itself of the connection between the Gospel and Love. It was because of love that he came and died on a cross. The constant practice of the Gospel and the practice of love is the reason for the existence of the church. Consequently the need to check to see if these values continue to be the center of every activity.
The age of grace was opened. Christmas is always after the winter solstice the longest night of the year and the need for light is the symbolism that is associated with Christmas. Christ is the light of the world. The bishops of Korea, each's in their own way urged the believers to be a bridge of peace to the world as children of the light who share the good news of the Christmas message. In particular to imitate God's humility in love of others.
Are the Christians a sign of this love? Embarrassingly this is not difficult to answer and a tragedy this is what it is. The bishops urged reconciliation and forgiveness, and we be a means of healing and gift-giving to each other. We need to be a source of nourishment to others for peace. The reality is far from what we dream and hope for.
"The true light that illuminates all has come into the world" (John 1,9). As Christians, if we do not follow Christ who has come as the "light of the world," we cannot illuminate others in darkness. May we Christians who are trying to live the light of life in celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus be able to see the contrary signs and the dark shadows of nationalism and conflict among the powers of vested interests.
Merry Christmas and may the graces help us all to be open to the ways we are called to be the children of the light.