Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim and the Korean Martyrs
Today’s responsorial psalm proclaims, “How great are the works of the Lord.” Paul continues with that theme, asserting, “How infinitely good is the mystery of godliness.” Proof of that goodness is made infinitely clear in the Incarnation.
God’s boundless love is made present in the person and ministry of Jesus, who made manifest in his person, his preaching and marvelous work, his Father’s great love and mercy. Such a person and message caught the hearts of many who sought Baptism and inclusion into the followers of the Way. Even in the first century, conversions were plentiful, but not without the risk of punishment, imprisonment, and even death. Such was the lot of Jesus’ disciples as they went beyond Jerusalem and Palestine, spreading the message of the Good News. Conversions came at a cost, but also with an assurance of eternal life.
Today we celebrate the martyrdoms of Saint Andrew Kim and the martyrs of Korea. They stand in a long line of martyrs who chose torture and death rather than reject the faith in Jesus the Christ. The Eucharist had been their refuge and strength throughout their lives, giving them the courage to face what was before them.
I am reminded of the exhortation of Tertullian, an ancient Christian Father, who wrote that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Leonard Bernstein’s opera, The Mass, offers another version of that quote, “You cannot imprison the word of the Lord.” Pope Francis has noted that there have been more martyrs in this last century than in the first century of the Christian community.
The millions of martyrs before Andrew Kim and his associates found their strength in the Jesus who had been broken and poured out for them on the cross.
Let Us Pray:
Jesus, your whole life of immolation, as you preached the Good News and healed all who came to you, was a sign for us as we, your followers, are called to be broken and poured out in the service of our sisters and brothers. As you suffered on the cross for us, give us an abundance of grace that we might willingly and graciously reach out in loving care, mercy, and love to all those in need. Amen.