Friday, September 20, 2019

Memorial of St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, priest and martyr, and St. Paul Chong Ha-sang, martyr and companions, martyrs

(I Timothy 2c-12; Luke 8:1-3)

St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon was the first native Korean to be ordained a priest.  After formation he returned to his native country where Christianity was forbidden.  He ministered to his people a while but eventually was taken into custody.  He was tortured and beheaded at the age of twenty-five.  His dying testimony reflects the spirit of Mary Magdalene in today’s gospel.  Andrew said as he was being put to death: “My immortal life is on the point of beginning.”

No doubt, Mary Magdalene felt her life beginning anew when she met Jesus.  She had been possessed by “seven demons.”  Whether or not she had the traumatic experiences of those claiming to be possessed today, she underwent severe harassment.  Jesus relieved the condition and gave her new purpose.  Of course, she wanted to stay close to him.  That is what eternal life is about.

We should want the same.  Jesus delivers us from the roads that lead nowhere: pleasure, power, and prestige.  He gives us not just the promise of “immortal life” but meaning and goodness every day.  Even if it means martyrdom like St. Andrew Kim’s, we stand in the best good company with Jesus.