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“We have received Baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name only and not in fact?” ~ Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn

“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed,” Jesus proclaims in the opening words of today’s Gospel Passage (Luke 8:16-18). “Rather,” the Son of God goes on to say, “he places it on a lamp-stand so that those who enter may see the light.”

As the quote which kicks-off today’s Reflection suggests, uttered by the man who with his fellow martyred Christian companions we celebrate today, we the faithful are christened and continually called to be children of the light by virtue of our Baptism. Saint Paul would always urge the recipients of his many prolific Letters to live as children of the light, perhaps most famously when writing to the people of Ephesus (Ephesians 5:8-14). Some time ago, while reflecting on Mark’s rendition of this teaching (4:21-25), I suggested that the pursuit of the great spiritual gift of wisdom was critical for all those who sought to become children of the light

It is an undeniable fact that far too many in the world today live in a darkened state of fear, despair, and hopelessness. Yet we know that God’s light, illumined by the mercy of Jesus and the sublime Gifts of the Holy Spirit, possess the power to scatter the darkness.

“For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,” Jesus goes on to say in this short but provocative passage, “and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” These words resonate as one of the more striking statements from the mouth of our Lord in the New Testament. As human beings, we do not have the ability to ascertain that which resides in the secret and inner recesses of another person’s soul, that which is ultimately made manifest in their thoughts and actions. Jesus does. As such, He sees all. Understanding this reality can and should change the way we live our lives. This desire to dwell in the light of Christ, otherwise known as sanctifying grace, is the soul’s only genuine desire. The pursuit of any other misguided passion is just that: misguided.

Do others see Jesus and the fruits of the Holy Spirit alive and glowing within you? If you’re not bringing others to Christ’s light, odds are you are driving them ~ perhaps subtly, perhaps not-so-subtly ~ towards the darkness. In matters pertaining to eternal life, there is no standing still. You and I are either moving closer to the light or farther away from it, as are those whom we encounter. Saint Maximilian Kolbe said “The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers." We do this by livingour lives as though all will one day be brought to light…because one day, it will.

Let your light shine before others, that they may see good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father.” ~ Matthew 5:16

As mentioned earlier, September 20th marks the Feast Day of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn and Paul Chong Ha-sang and their Christian Companions. Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn was the first Korean-born Catholic Priest and is the Patron Saint of Korea. Paul Chong Ha-sang was a lay apostle and married man who along with Tae-gŏn and over 120 companions were martyred during the Christian persecutions of the mid-1800s throughout Korea and other parts of Asia.

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Since the year 2000, Catholicism has grown by a staggering 50% in South Korea, where there are 5.8 million Catholics spread across 1,734 parishes that are served by 5,360 priests. These intrepid children of the light show us that even in the midst of persecution, the church can grow and flourish. They reinforce the fact that the blood of the martyrs is indeed the seed of the faith. Or in the words of Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, “No matter how fiercely the powers of this world oppress and oppose the Church, they will never bring it down.”

Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chong Ha-sang and Companions, pray for us.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.” ~ Psalm 126

“Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.” ~ Psalm 126

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