This year in the Lunar Calendar we begin the year of the Ox. A time for the exchange of greetings which this year is done mostly online because of the coronavirus. A priest writing in his column in the Catholic Peace Weekly gives us his thoughts on the way many Koreans look upon the New Year.
At this time of the year, many are looking for a bright future that is waiting for them in the 'Secret Art of Tojeong' and similar books used at this time of the year. They go to fortune-tellers, often called Philosophy Rooms.
Although we have entered the 4th industrial revolution with smart technology, those who frequent fortune tellers are looking for answers to the future by the four pillars—year, month, day, and hour of birth, reading the tarot cards, and other forms of divination have continued to increase. Very easy to find apps on hand-phones that will give you a reading for the future.
He quotes one site that said that over 130 thousand frequent these sites each day and what is spent is in the trillions. Those who work in the field of fortune-telling continue to increase. Two Associations that are in the field of divination have over 300 thousand members each and with the non-members counted you have over 500 thousand in each association. They appear often in the Broadcasting Media with the help of celebrities.
When the future is so much in the dark as these days of the virus, many try to clear away the darkness as quickly as possible and divination is one of the ways. Life is filled with aging, disease, death, economic problems, natural disasters, when some possibility arises that is supposed to solve the problems it is easy to grab onto them.
A professor in this field is quoted: There is the rebirth of 'shamanism' in the world today because of the uneasiness we have in politics and society with the easy availability of information bringing about the upheaval in society. In the Old Testament, it is very clear that all kinds of divination and sorcery are forbidden, also part of Catholic teaching.
In a questionnaire that was made by the Seoul Diocese in 2016, 76.4% of the respondents said that even though they knew about the Church's teaching they had experience in many of these means of divination. An indication that the unpredictable future has brought fear and uncertainty into their lives that their faith life was not able to alleviate.
Prophets are the spokespersons for God to the faith community on future events and to warn them and prepare them for the future to be closer to God while those in divination are there to avoid the future sufferings and distancing themselves from God.
Jesus said to his disciples: "This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled" (Luke 24:44). Also, "I shall not call you servants anymore, because a servant does not know his master's business; I call you friends because I have made known to you everything I have learned from my Father" (John 15:15).
At the marriage ceremony the husband and wife promise each other: "I take you to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health until death does us part." No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow, a month from now, a few years from now. We don't go into the future with a fortune teller but with the Lord. He will bring us to our proper destination.