Grace to you,
There are many bearers of the good news around us? News is about people, places and events; and the bearers of good news are people. It’s people who shine the light for everyone to see. It’s people who announce or live the story. It’s people who are witnesses of the Gospel.
When the poor in India saw the unequalled care, love and attention of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, they found, after all, Christ in that woman of incredible virtue. You wouldn’t need to second-guess the qualification of being a brother or sister of the Christ. The answer is straight from the horse’s mouth.
Jesus Christ said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it” (Luke 8:21). The Blessed Virgin Mary did, in the most complete way more than anybody else. Her role as a model is unique. Christians spread the good news.
Several times, you may have seen people in your circles who have been Christ to you; offering hope and inspiration by their words and lifestyle. Thank God for them and thank them too. Christ in us is the seed of that goodness.
From my native African culture, transmission of culture and character is tied to role models, living or lived-examples. In those days, when formal education was not in vogue, it was people who modeled the way for others. They didn’t send people to a formal class for traditional wrestling training, tent making, public speaking and rhetoric, farming and trade, etc. People followed a mentor and became like the mentor; or, hopefully, improved on the skills of the mentor. Isn’t this model similar in many other cultures?
“The Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth...believed in throughout the world” (1 Tim 3:15-16) is rich, providing us with great models. From the contemplatives to the extroverts, advocates to monastics, from the religious to the laity, the military to diverse professions; from every nation and people and language, name it. The Church has models for all and for any.
The Church is truly Catholic—universal; and has an appeal across the centuries and across the world, in the sense that whatever spiritual model you desire, and no matter where you are located, you would find it in the Church.
It’s in this context that we are united with the Koreans is thanking God for the models they have provided for the Church. The first Korean Martyrs, Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and 121 other companions, who were killed in the second quarter of the 19 century for their faith in Jesus Christ, and whose witness to the faith has inspired many in Korea, model the way for many. The active involvement of the laity in the church of Korea, then and now, is also commendable.
In the spiritual life, it’s always inspiring to know many have gone the route of holiness in Christ in his Church before us; and that we would, by the grace of God, be part of the story. Someday.
Not many are granted the grace of martyrdom, to be sure. But the grace of holiness is a universal call for all. Wouldn’t it be the most surprising and amazing story, someday, to see your name with a preface “Saint…” penned on the parchment of history?
This wish is a prayer with a hope-filled divine blessing. Amen.
God love you. God bless you!
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Memorial of the first Korean Martyrs, Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and 121 other companions; Week 24 Ordinary Time A: 1 Tim 3:14-16; Lk 7:31-35]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.