Pope to Koreans: Trust in the reconciling power of the Cross

Faithful gathered at the Pope's Aug. 18 Mass held at the Myeong-dong Cathedral in Seoul. Credit: Emanuele Princi/CNA.

At the concluding Mass of his historical trip, Pope Francis urged the faithful to embrace Christ's message of forgiveness and reconciliation, stressing earlier in his visit that there is only “one Korea.”

“This...is the message which I leave you,” the Pope told the congregation gathered at the Aug. 18 Mass held at the Myeong-dong Cathedral in Seoul. “Trust in the power of Christ’s cross! Welcome its reconciling grace into your own hearts and share that grace with others!”

“I ask you to bear convincing witness to Christ’s message of forgiveness in your homes, in your communities and at every level of national life.”

The Pope's Aug. 13-18 trip follows an invitation from the president of the Korean Republic, Park Geun-hye, and the bishops of Korea. During his time, the Pope traveled from the capital city of Seoul to Daejon, where he celebrated the Sixth Asian Youth Day with thousands of young people.

He also visited the rehabilitation center for disabled persons in Kkottongnae, as well as a shrine in Haemi for a closing Mass with Asian youth.

Speaking off-the-cuff to young people earlier in the week, the Pope addressed the division between North and South Korea, emphasizing that the two are “one family,” and calling for prayers of re-unification while stressing repentance and forgiveness. He then paused and invited those gathered spend a moment praying in silence for unity between the two countries.

At the closing Mass on Monday, the Pope reiterated this message, saying that his visit culminates with imploring God for “the grace of peace and reconciliation.”

“This prayer has a particular resonance on the Korean peninsula. Today’s Mass is first and foremost a prayer for reconciliation in this Korean family.”

Pope Francis reflected that unity, reconciliation and peace are “gifts” which are inextricably linked to conversion of heart, and which have the power to “alter the course of our lives and our history, as individuals and as a people.”

“At this Mass, we naturally hear this promise in the context of the historical experience of the Korean people, an experience of division and conflict which has lasted for well over sixty years,” he said.

“But God’s urgent summons to conversion also challenges Christ’s followers in Korea to examine the quality of their own contribution to the building of a truly just and humane society.”

The pontiff noted that Jesus asks us, as seen in the day's Gospel reading from Matthew, to forgive without hesitation.

“In telling us to forgive our brothers unreservedly, he is asking us to do something utterly radical, but he also gives us the grace to do it,” Pope Francis emphasized.

“What appears, from a human perspective, to be impossible, impractical and even at times repugnant, he makes possible and fruitful through the infinite power of his cross.”

“The cross of Christ reveals the power of God to bridge every division, to heal every wound, and to reestablish the original bonds of brotherly love.”

Pope Francis then reflected on the blessings he experienced during his visit to “this beloved country,” especially noting the “presence of so many young pilgrims from throughout Asia.”

“Their love of Jesus and their enthusiasm for the spread of his Kingdom have been an inspiration to us all,” he said.

The Pope also praised the work of local priests, “who daily labor in the service of the Gospel and the building up of God’s people in faith, hope and love.”  

“I ask you, as ambassadors of Christ and ministers of his reconciling love, to continue to build bridges of respect, trust and harmonious cooperation in your parishes, among yourselves, and with your bishops.”

“Your example of unreserved love for the Lord, your faithfulness and dedication to your ministry, and your charitable concern for those in need,” he added, “contribute greatly to the work of reconciliation and peace in this country.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, God calls us to return to him and to hearken to his voice, and he promises to establish us on the land in even greater peace and prosperity than our ancestors knew,” Pope Francis concluded.

“May Christ's followers in Korea prepare for the dawning of that new day, when this land of the morning calm will rejoice in God’s richest blessings of harmony and peace! Amen.”


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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