Sep 20 – Memorial for St. Andrew Kim Taegon and Companions, Korean Martyrs; Memorial for Sts. Laurent Imbert, Bishop Jacques Chastan, Priest (martyrs of College General, Penang, Malaysia)
There are 103 martyrs in this group, consisting of priests, missionaries and lay people who died in the early days of the Church in Korea. Most were murdered during waves of persecutions in 1839, 1846 and 1867.
Andrew Kim Taegon’s father was a martyr. Andrew was baptised at age 15, then travelled 1,300 miles to the nearest seminary in Macao. He was Korea’s first native priest, and the first priest to die for the faith in Korea.
Laurent Imbert was a missionary to China. He taught at the College General, Penang from 1821 to 1822. He was named Vicar Apostolic of Korea on 26 April 1836. He and St. Jacques (or Jacob) were arrested for the crime of evangelisation, and then tortured and martyred.
1 Timothy 6:2-12
This is what you are to teach the brothers to believe and persuade them to do. Anyone who teaches anything different, and does not keep to the sound teaching which is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, the doctrine which is in accordance with true religion, is simply ignorant and must be full of self-conceit – with a craze for questioning everything and arguing about words. All that can come of this is jealousy, contention, abuse and wicked mistrust of one another; and unending disputes by people who are neither rational nor informed and imagine that religion is a way of making a profit. Religion, of course, does bring large profits, but only to those who are content with what they have. We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it; but as long as we have food and clothing, let us be content with that. People who long to be rich are a prey to temptation; they get trapped into all sorts of foolish and dangerous ambitions which eventually plunge them into ruin and destruction. ‘The love of money is the root of all evils’ and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith, and so given their souls any number of fatal wounds.
But, as a man dedicated to God, you must avoid all that. You must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses.
Jesus made his way through towns and villages preaching, and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom of God. With him went the Twelve, as well as certain women who had been cured of evil spirits and ailments: Mary surnamed the Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and several others who provided for them out of their own resources.
Preaching, and proclaiming the Good News
Priests and other religious people study several years prior to their profession of vows and ordination. And they continue to do further study thereafter, locally and overseas. It is really evident that they prepare themselves to serve the community. Indeed, they are called to walk the path to shepherd our community. They study and train so well for them to be effective preachers. But that mission is not exclusive to them. Not everyone can enter priesthood and religious life. As members of the lay Christian community, we can also be missionaries in spreading the scriptures. We may not be trained to speak behind the pulpit, but we can live the scriptures through our actions.
We must first have the love for others. I believe that when we hate others, there is still love. Why? It is because we care to have that kind of emotion towards another person. We have invested feelings and it shows that that person is somehow significant in our life. However, being indifferent is not caring at all. And that action is the one with no love.
If we hear our co-workers gossiping about another co-worker, what do we do? Do we join the conversation, or do we just walk away? Of course, we know that we should refrain from joining the gossip. Do we just walk away? Some may argue that just walking away is the right thing to do because we will not do anything wrong. Yes, it is correct. We will NOT do anything. And not doing anything is not the same as doing the right thing. It would really take courage to confront those people to stop gossiping about our fellow co-worker. Well, as missionaries of Christ, we must expect that our tasks will not be very easy. Following Jesus is our way of spreading the scriptures. But doing so requires a lot of sacrifices. However, I tell you, it is worth it. At first, you may not realize it. But eventually you will.
Remember this — being called a missionary is a great title. But that great title comes with great responsibility. Being a missionary is not something to show others how great you are. But rather, that you are doing great things for others and for God.
It doesn’t matter whether what you do is big or small. As long as there is love and it is for the greater glory of God, you are a missionary of Christ.
(Today’s Oxygen by Beryl Baterina)
Prayer: Father God, please grant me the grace to understand and proclaim your word as I encounter it in the scriptures. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we are grateful for giving us the privilege of knowing You and spreading Your word. Amen.