S. John Paul II Homil. 30584


Municipal Stadium Mudung of Kwangju, Friday, 4 May 1984


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

1. I am very pleased to be with you for this celebration of the Eucharist. The Church in Kwangju rejoices in welcoming into its midst seventy-two new members through their reception of the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

This moment is an important one, not only for those who are about to be baptized and confirmed but also for the Christian community as a whole. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ take on renewed meaning for all of you: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (
Mt 28,19).

Moreover, this event has another deep meaning in that the Church in Korea has presented the occasion for the Bishop of Rome to preside at this Liturgy and to confer these sacraments. In this way there is expressed your communion with the Church of Rome and with the Catholic Church throughout the world. As universal Pastor of the Church, I express my deep appreciation to the Bishops of Korea who have extended this invitation to me and to the many priests who have come to concelebrate with me. I join you all in praising God: he never ceases to call men and women of every age to hear the Gospel of salvation and to respond to it in faith by embracing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, by being baptized, and by living according to his will.

2. I wish to address my words to those who are about to be baptized and confirmed, and to reflect with them on the meaning of their encounter with Christ in these sacraments.

Our first reading today, taken from Saint Paulís Letter to the Romans, sums up what you as catechumens are about to experience. Baptism is an immersion in Christ: you are buried with Christ into his death so that you may be freed from sin and walk in newness of life. Baptism means that the old self is crucified with Christ. Sin is destroyed; you are liberated from the slavery of sin.

235 This "death to sin" means a rebirth in the Holy Spirit. You are freed from original sin and from all the sins committed before Baptism. You become sharers in the Resurrection, sharers in the new life of Christ. As Saint Paul says, you are "alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rm 6,11). You are made like Christ and become adopted children of God through his grace. You are heirs of the eternal life which Christ promised and which he won for us by his own death and Resurrection. This is the spiritual rebirth that is brought about by the Sacrament of Baptism - the same rebirth in the Spirit that you catechumens will experience through the symbolic sacramental action of washing with water and the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity.

Make no mistake about it: this is a radical step you are about to take, and I know that you have thought deeply about it. It requires you to put aside the old ways of sin in order to live as "children of the light". It calls for joyful confidence in Godís mercy and love.

3. "Dying to sin" and "being alive to God in Christ Jesus" is a commitment for your whole life and it requires effort for the future. It means keeping yourselves free, by Godís grace, from hatred and rancor. It means pardoning those who may have sinned against you. It means being reconciled to one another and to God to forgiveness and love. But forgiveness is an act which is greater than our poor hearts: it belongs to God alone. I am keenly aware of the deep wounds that pain your hearts and souls from personal experiences and from recent tragedies, which are difficult to overcome from a merely human point of view, especially for those of you from Kwangju. Precisely for this reason the grace of reconciliation has been granted to you in Baptism: it is a gift of the mercy of God manifested in Jesus Christ, who suffered, died and rose again for us.

This part of Christís saving message is particularly relevant for those who are haunted by the memory of the unfortunate events of this place. But now you have been conformed to the image and likeness of Christ through Baptism, and each one of you is called to follow the example of Christ, the authentic peacemaker and perfect model for reconciliation. By accepting the consequences of our baptismal commitment, we become instruments of reconciliation and peace in the midst of dissension and hatred. In this way, as effective signs of Christís healing power working through us, we can ease the pain of injured hearts that are filled with anxiety and bitterness. At the same time we can offer hope to those who suffer from oppression, and thus become instruments of Christian liberation and signs of true freedom.

4. Jesus says in todayís Gospel: "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink" (Jn 7,37). My dear catechumens, believing in these words of our Lord, you have all come to him today to be baptized into new life.

Thirsting for him who is the fountain of true life, your admirable ancestors left all to seek him who is all. Even before they were baptized, from the very moment that they became believers in Jesus, they knowingly and willingly accepted the loss of fortune, fame, family and even life. In truth, they died to sin, enduring even death in this life, so as to live only unto God, their true Father. This deep filial piety, this firm sense of being children of the same Father in Christ, united your ancestors in love and gave them heroic fidelity. Your earliest catechisms and prayers are imbued with this spirit, as eloquently witnessed to by Paul Youn Chiníung. Just before he was martyred he said: "Once I have come to know that the Lord of Heaven is my Father, I cannot even bear not to follow his commandments".

5. Furthermore, by believing in Christ you have been "made to drink of the one Spirit" ((1Co 12,13), as Saint Paul says in the second reading. This Spirit is the Spirit of Christ given at Pentecost, after his glorification. And it is this gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the sign of the Messianic age, that you will receive today in a special way in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Through the power of this Spirit you will be able to follow continually the path that leads you to Christ. Confirmation is the sacrament of spiritual strengthening, which complements the spiritual rebirth of your Baptism. In Confirmation you will deepen your friendship with God through an increase of divine grace. This sacramental grace will complete within you the effects of Baptism, enabling you to profess your faith courageously and to defend it, to accept Christís command to take up your cross daily and follow him. By a special sacramental character, Confirmation will conform you more closely to Christ - prophet, priest and king - and enable you to bear witness to him more faithfully within the Church and before the world. You will be forever sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

My dear friends, in the sacraments Christ shows himself to be the Good Shepherd who watches over and cares for the flock entrusted to him by his heavenly Father. He does this through the Church which administers Baptism and Confirmation "in the person of Christ". In this sacramental service the Church is built up in the unity of the Holy Spirit, who works in each person for the good of all.

6. You are seventy-two in number. You symbolize the hundred thousand or more Koreans who by the grace of God are baptized each year into life with Christ and become his witnesses. As Jesus once sent out seventy-two of his disciples, two by two, to spread the Good News of salvation, so you too will be sent out today to be his heralds. The gift of Christís life is a gift to be shared with others in gratitude, so that all may have fullness of life.

As Korean Catholics you have been given a marvellous heritage to sustain, guide and inspire you in this mission. Your ancestors not only sought the faith in the midst of persecution; they also spread it to others under the harshest of conditions, often living as outcasts from society. Think of the tireless apostolate of a Paul Chong Hasang, and of the sheer fortitude of the young Peter Yu Taechíol. Why would anyone have accepted a message fraught with such dire consequences? The answer is simple and clear: they believed in the Gospel message. By their faith and strong love for Christ they overcame all.

Now it is your turn. Be generous, be strong, be true. Above all, live for others as Jesus did: the Spirit of the Risen Lord is upon you. As baptized and confirmed Christians you are called to share in the Eucharist, which is the source and center of all Christian life. In the Eucharist, Jesus himself will sustain you along the path of reconciliation and true justice, and lead you to the fullness of life in the Kingdom of his Father, where he lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.


Taegu (Korea), Saturday, 5 May 1984


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

dear young man who are receiving the priesthood in this impressive assembly of faith and fervent prayer,

1. Here, this morning, in Taegu, in the presence of your Bishops, before so many guests, surrounded by so many priests, religious and laity of the People of God in this land - and by so many enthusiastic young people who love you dearly and give you the support of their prayers - you are receiving the gift of the priesthood. It is a gift to you and to the Church from Christ himself.

On this day dedicated to the theme of sharing, it is good for us to realize that it is God himself who first shares his gifts with us. "What have you" - asks Saint Paul in the reading we have just heard - "What have you that you did not receive?" (
1Co 4,7). Indeed, it is through Godís gift that from now on you will be considered "servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God" (Ibid.). I am sure that you have meditated deeply on these words and that they are engraved on your minds and on your hearts. They spell out for you your identity as priests of Jesus Christ.

2. In becoming priests, you receive a sacramental outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Christ is giving you a share in his priesthood: he joins you to himself in the work of Redemption. It is certainly a privilege for you to be chosen, but a privilege that involves a service - service like that of Jesus who came to serve and not to be served (cf.Mt 20,28), like that of Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord (cf. Luc Lc 1,48).

Christ has chosen you as servants and stewards. In what way are you to serve him? Here are his own words: "If any one serves me, he must follow me" (Cf Jn 12,26). As priests you are called to follow the divine Master in a particular way. You are called to a discipleship that reaches down into the deepest level of your person. You will receive a sacramental configuration to Christ that touches every sector of your life. We are talking, in fact, about the priestís particular way of sharing in the Paschal Mystery of our Saviourís Passion, death and Resurrection. Let us listen once again to Christís words: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (Ibid.12, 24). The Church rightly insists that your ordination to the priesthood is a "dying to self", for it is precisely this giving of oneself that opens the way to fruitfulness: if the grain of wheat dies, it bears much fruit.

3. Are you sometimes afraid of the demands that Christ is making on you? You are certainly aware that your priestly service will often require from you the courage of self-sacrifice. It is then that you must look at Jesusí reaction to these same fears, as described in todayís reading from the Gospel: "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ĎFather, save me from this hourí? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour" (Jn 12 Jn 27).

Your purpose as priests is to be one with Christ in the work of Redemption: "Where I am, there shall my servant be also" (Ibid. 12, 26). May the example of your Korean priest Martyrs speak to your hearts, revealing to you the true nature of your vocation, banishing any false expectation. May these men who shared to the full in Christís Paschal Mystery be your models of generous service and priestly sacrifice.

4. Where is Christís Paschal Mystery being actuated now? Above all, it is actuated in the great gift of the Eucharist of which you are being made stewards. Christ entrusts this supreme gift to you. In the celebration of the Eucharist, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, you re-enact and apply the one Sacrifice of the New Testament, the Sacrifice in which Christ offered himself to the Father as a spotless victim for the forgiveness of sins (Cf. Lumen Gentium LG 28).

Not only does he entrust this gift to your ministry, he also invites you to share ever more fully in it. In this way the Eucharist becomes the nourishment of your priestly life. Just as the life of Jesus receives its full meaning and is completed in the Paschal Mystery, so too it is in the Eucharist that the priest finds the full meaning of his life, the source of his strength, and the joy of his dedicated pastoral service to the People of God. At the table of the Word and of the Bread of Life you make Christ present for the building up of the ecclesial community.

237 5. It is especially from the Eucharist that you will draw the strength to follow Christ and to be where he is: "Where I am, there shall my servant be also". Jesus Christ is where the Gospel shows him to us: in poverty, humility and vulnerability at his birth; sharing the joys and sorrows of his people; close to the daily life of the men and women of his land; blessing the children; in conversation with the young; compassionate towards all. Above all we see him praying to his heavenly Father, seeking silence and solitude in order to reflect upon the Fatherís will, and accepting that will in obedience unto death (cf. Phil Ph 2,8). Christ was to be found wherever the Father willed him to be. And in our day too he is close to the poor, the sick, the outcasts, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the sinners. That is where Christ is. That is where the Church is. That is where you are called to be, as priests. All of these people are still waiting for the Good News of the Redemption, the hope of the Beatitudes.

Christ has something to give to every man, woman and child whom he has redeemed. He opens the treasures of definitive truth and the treasures of the Fatherís love to all those who hear him and accept him. But in order to live "for others", you too must live by this truth and this love. Do not be deceived by any other message, even if it is proclaimed in Christís name. You are called to be witnesses of the paradox that Christ proposes: "He who loves his life loses it, he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (Jn 12,25). Yes, you are called to be bearers of the hope of eternal life, a hope that illumines and completes all temporal realities: "If any one serves me, the Father will honour him" (Ibid. 12, 26).

6. Dear brothers: "What have you that you did not receive?" (1Co 4,7). The priesthood is Godís great gift to you. It will take root in your hearts more fully, and produce more abundant fruits, the more you realize the gratuitousness of the gift. Like Mary, you too ought to rejoice in God your Saviour, who has looked down upon you in your lowliness (cf. Luc Lc 1,47-48). A realization of the gap between the supernatural greatness of the gift and your own unworthiness will keep you from becoming proud: as the first reading reminded us, it will keep us from "boasting" as if it were not a gift (1Co 4,7).

Above all, you will be moved to respond to Love with love: to give yourselves for the salvation of the world with total generosity and courage: to meet Gift with gift. This is the real challenge of your priesthood: "It is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy" (Ibid. 4, 2). That you may be trustworthy: this is my prayer for you; that must be your response to Christ and to the Church; this is the proof of your love for your brothers and sisters in this land who look to you for guidance and inspiring leadership.

7. The Pope has a special greeting too for the many young people present at this ordination. I am truly happy to see so many of you. You are full of life and hope, gathered together here to take part in the Paschal Mystery of the Lord in the Eucharist, and also to witness the wonderful event in which young men are being ordained to the priesthood. All of you must wonder in your hearts how it is that these young men, so much a part of your generation, come to be priests today. Each one of you too is confronted by the challenge of giving full meaning to your life, the one life you are given to live.

You are young and you want to live. But you must live fully and with a purpose. You must live for God, you must live for others. And no one can live this life for you. The future is yours, full of perils and possibilities, hope and anguish, suffering and happiness. But the future is above all a call and a challenge to "keep" your life by giving it up, by "losing" it - as the Gospel has reminded us - by sharing it through loving service of others. And the measure of your success will be the measure of your generosity. In a word, you must live in Christ Jesus, for the glory of the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Youido Place - Seoul, Sunday, 6 May 1984


"Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory"? (
Lc 24,26)

1. These words, taken from todayís Gospel, were spoken by Jesus as he was going from Jerusalem to Emmaus in the company of two of his disciples. They did not recognize him, and as to an unknown person they described to him all that had happened in Jerusalem in these last days. They spoke of the Passion and death of Jesus on the Cross. They spoke of their own shattered hopes: "We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel" (Lc 24,21). These hopes were buried with the death of Jesus.

The two disciples were downhearted. Even though they had heard that the women and the Apostles, on the third day after his death, had failed to find the body of Jesus in the tomb, nevertheless they were completely unaware that he had been seen alive. The disciples did not know that at that precise moment they were actually looking at him, that they were walking in his company, that they were speaking with him. Indeed, their eyes were kept from recognizing him (Ibid.24, 16).

2. Then Jesus began to explain to them, from Sacred Scripture, that it was precisely through suffering that the Messiah had to reach the glory of the Resurrection. The words alone however did not have the full effect. Even though their hearts were burning within them while they listened to this unknown person, nevertheless he still remained for them an unknown person. It was only during the evening meal, when he took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them that "their eyes were opened and they recognized him" (Ibid. 24, 31), but he then disappeared from their sight. Having recognized the Risen Lord, they became witnesses for all time of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Through them, through all the Apostles, through the men and women who were witnesses of the life and death of Jesus Christ, of his Gospel and Resurrection, the truth about him spread first to Jerusalem, next to all Judea, and then to other countries and peoples. It entered into the history of humanity.

3. The truth about Jesus Christ also reached Korean soil. It came by means of books brought from China. And in a most marvellous way, divine grace soon moved your scholarly ancestors first to an intellectual quest for the truth of Godís word and then to a living faith in the Risen Savior.

Yearning for an ever greater share in the Christian faith, your ancestors sent one of their own in 1784 to Peking, where he was baptized. From this good seed was born the first Christian community in Korea, a community unique in the history of the Church by reason of the fact that it was founded entirely by lay people.This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could already boast of some ten thousand martyrs. The years 1791, 1801, 1827, 1839, 1846 and 1866 are forever signed with the holy blood of your Martyrs and engraved in your hearts.

Even though the Christians in the first half century had only two priests from China to assist them, and these only for a time, they deepened their unity in Christ through prayer and fraternal love; they disregarded social classes and encouraged religious vocations. And they sought ever closer union with their Bishop in Peking and the Pope in faraway Rome.

After years of pleading for more priests to be sent, your Christian ancestors welcomed the first French missionaries in 1836. Some of these, too, are numbered among the Martyrs who gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel, and who are being canonized today in this historic celebration.

The splendid flowering of the Church in Korea today is indeed the fruit of the heroic witness of the Martyrs. Even today, their undying spirit sustains the Christians in the Church of silence in the North of this tragically divided land.

4. Today then it is given to me, as the Bishop of Rome and Successor of Saint Peter in that Apostolic See, to participate in the Jubilee of the Church on Korean soil. I have already spent several days in your midst as a pilgrim, fulfilling as Bishop and Pope my service to the sons and daughters of the beloved Korean nation. Todayís Liturgy constitutes the culminating point of this pastoral service.

For behold: through this Liturgy of Canonization the Blessed Korean Martyrs are inscribed in the list of the Saints of the Catholic Church. These are true sons and daughters of your nation, and they are joined by a number of missionaries from other lands. They are your ancestors, according to the flesh, language and culture. At the same time they are your fathers and mothers in the faith, a faith to which they bore witness by the shedding of their blood.

From the thirteen-year-old Peter Yu to the seventy-two-year-old Mark Chong, men and women, clergy and laity, rich and poor, ordinary people and nobles, many of them descendants of earlier unsung martyrs - they all gladly died for the sake of Christ.

Listen to the last words of Teresa Kwon, one of the early Martyrs: "Since the Lord of Heaven is the Father of all mankind and the Lord of all creation, how can you ask me to betray him? Even in this world anyone who betrays his own father or mother will not be forgiven. All the more may I never betray him who is the Father of us all".

239 A generation later, Peter Yuís father Augustine firmly declares: "Once having known God, I cannot possibly betray him". Peter Cho goes even further and says: "Even supposing that oneís own father committed a crime, still one cannot disown him as no longer being oneís father. How then can I say that I do not know the heavenly Lord Father who is so good?".

And what did the seventeen-year-old Agatha Yi say when she and her younger brother were falsely told that their parents had betrayed the faith? "Whether my parents betrayed or not is their affair. As for us, we cannot betray the Lord of heaven whom we have always served". Hearing this, six other adult Christians freely delivered themselves to the magistrate to be martyred. Agatha, her parents and those other six are all being canonized today. In addition, there are countless other unknown, humble martyrs who no less faithfully and bravely served the Lord.

5. The Korean Martyrs ave borne witness to the crucified and risen Christ. Through the sacrifice of their own lives they have become like Christ in a very special way. The words of Saint Paul the Apostle could truly have been spoken by them: We are "always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies . . . We are always being given up to death for Jesusí sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh".

The death of the martyrs is similar to the death of Christ on the Cross, because like his, theirs has become the beginning of new life. This new life was manifested not only in themselves - in those who underwent death for Christ - but it was also extended to others. It became the leaven of the Church as the living community of disciples and witnesses to Jesus Christ. "The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians": this phrase from the first centuries of Christianity is confirmed before our eyes.

Today the Church on Korean soil desires in a solemn way to give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for the gift of the Redemption. It is of this gift that Saint Peter writes: "You were ransomed . . . not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ". To this lofty price, to this price of the Redemption, your Church desires, on the basis of the witness of the Korean Martyrs, to add an enduring witness of faith, hope and charity.

Through this witness may Jesus Christ be ever more widely known in your land: the crucified and risen Christ. Christ, the Way and the Truth and the Life. Christ, true God: the Son of the living God. Christ, true man: the Son of the Virgin Mary.

Once at Emmaus two disciples recognized Christ "in the breaking of the bread". On Korean soil may ever new disciples recognize him in the Eucharist. Receive his body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine, and may he the Redeemer of the world receive you into the union of his Body, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

May this solemn day become a pledge of life and of holiness for future generations. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and is living in his Church today. "Yes it is true. The Lord has risen". Amen. Alleluia!


Seoul - Sunday, 6 May 1984

"Maria Hall", Catholic medical College

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

240 "go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28,19). This last command of the Risen Lord, sending out the Apostles to the ends of the earth to announce the Good News, is the real reason why we are gathered here today.

In celebrating with joy and thanksgiving the Bicentennial of the Christian faith in your beloved land, you have resolved with Godís grace to bring "A Light to this Land". In this National Pastoral Conference you want to pray and search together - in close collaboration with your Bishops and in union with the universal Church - for ways to make that resolve a living reality.

1. Jesus Christ, who entrusts you with this mission, was not only the first and the greatest evangelizer but was himself the Good News of God (Cf. Pauli VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi EN 7). And so, in order to know what your mandate is and how to carry it out, you must turn to him. Jesus said: "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God... for I was sent for this purpose" (Lc 4,43). From that time he "began to preach, saying: ĎRepent, for the kingdom of heaven is at handí" (Mt 4,17).

But what was this Kingdom all about? On Jesusí own lips, this message of hope and salvation becomes the Beatitudes:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit...
Blessed are those who mourn...
Blessed are the meek...
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...
Blessed are the merciful...
Blessed are the pure in heart...
Blessed are the peacemakers...
241 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousnessí sake...
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account" (Ibid.
Mt 5,3-11).

Christ not only preaches these things. In his life and death and Resurrection he himself is the Good News of salvation (Cf. Mc 1,1 Rm 1,3). He is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14,6). From this fact, the Second Vatican Council drew a conclusion which affects us all: "Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Church must walk the same path which Christ walked: the path of poverty, obedience, service and the sacrifice of himself unto death, from which he came forth a victor by his Resurrection. For thus did all the Apostles walk in hope" (Ad Gentes AGD 5).

The first Christians had no wealth, no prestige, no power, not even church buildings. But, like Jesus himself, and because they were filled with his Spirit, they bore witness to the Good News by their own life, attracting the multitudes to conversion (Ac 2,42).

2. And what of your saintly ancestors? They too truly believed and lived the Beatitudes.They made the presence of Jesus visible and credible by their lives. Only this living witness, sustained by great charity and evangelical zeal, can explain how the Church could grow even under the cruellest persecution.

Today you are asking how you in turn are to bear witness to the Good News of Godís Kingdom. The Church in Korea today is widely known to be flourishing. Great things are being accomplished. For this we must raise our hearts to the Lord in joyful thanksgiving. Still, many challenges face you: how as a Church community are you to live the Beatitudes in the actual circumstances of your family, social and national life? What are you to do, in order to grow, not only in numbers, but in Christian maturity and in spiritual depth?

This is what your Pastoral Conference is all about. These are the concerns that underlie your discussions and reflections.

3. You are blessed to have an enviable, indeed a priceless heritage in the eminent examples of your ancestors, to inspire and guide you as you enter into the third century of your Christian history.

First, there is the bond of fraternal love that knew no barriers: nobles and ordinary people, rich and poor, they mingled, prayed and suffered together, and shared everything as brothers and sisters helping one another in adversity. No group predominated among them and none was neglected, as so frequently happens in the world. The humblest and the poorest felt quite at home in the community of faith. How will the Church in Korea have to be, so that these same virtues will be your strength? So that the poor, the workers, the outcasts will be loved and served without distinction of persons? So that the spirit of the Beatitudes will prevail over every form of discrimination and selfishness?

Then there is the peerless example of a laity full of apostolic initiative and zeal. Following the tradition of the early pioneers who of their own initiative sought the faith, studied, prayed together and spread the Good News, groups of dedicated men and women catechists were already formed in the 1780s. In the same way the invaluable work of the Myongdo Society, the "Society to Light the Way", during the decades of persecution, should also be emulated today. May the selfless apostolate of Saint Paul Chong Hasang spur you on! Your ancestors asked neither for recompense nor for recognition, but quietly and generously served others and spread the Gospel.

Admirable too is the life of faith they lived within the family. Of the 103 martyrs canonized today, many are of the same families, blood relatives, or descendants of martyr families. This is because they prayed together and together came to maturity in the faith, learning to fear and love God, to cherish, respect and love every human being as Godís child, all in the family. The family is the "domestic Church", where the parents are "the first communicators of the faith to their children" and where vocations are fostered (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 11). The truly Christian family is a "place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates" (Pauli VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi EN 71). Building on the great spiritual and cultural traditions of Asia, in what ways will you become ever more a Church of praying families, and an example for the rest of the world?

242 4. Your forefathers in the faith made marvellous efforts to incarnate the Gospel in their own culture and national identity. In simple yet profound and beautiful language, they preached and composed songs, prayers, hymns, catechisms and devotional books that were so deeply rooted in their own culture and soul as to speak directly to the minds and hearts of the people. Such efforts, if imitated and sustained, will lead more surely to the evangelization of the culture within its own identity.

Particularly today, when the onslaught of unassimilated foreign civilization, with other life-styles and thought-patterns, creates confusion even within Church life, your farsighted and enlightened effort here will be invaluable.

5. And, firmly rooted as they were in their own specific identity, your ancestors never ceased to seek the closest possible union with the universal Church in belief, worship and life. No effort, no sacrifice was spared to establish and maintain living ties with the Bishop of Peking and the Successor of Saint Peter. Saint Paul Chong Hasang travelled nine times to Peking on foot and in secret to see the Bishop there! And now, how will you seek the universal in the particular, and live the particular in such a way as to enrich the universal Church?

Your Korean ancestors found the faith through China. Yet, while remaining completely true to their own identity, nevertheless they were able to be perfectly united to the universal Church. Thus they set a living example of the fact that genuine identity and true catholicity, far from being mutually exclusive, require each other. And it is good to see you, dear faithful of Korea, earnestly seeking to live that worthy heritage creatively for today tomorrow. May the great and wise people of China who also first received the faith from without, seek, as true Chinese, to live that faith in full communion with the universal Church, to the joy and enrichment of all.

6. Doubtless, our day and age present wholly new challenges with its unprecedented speed and depth of transformation. Yet, as you enter undaunted into the third century of the presence of the Church in your land, may you be guided in announcing the Good News by the fixed bearings of witness of life, reconciliation through conversion, and sharing in love, which are themes of my pastoral visit to Korea. In this way you will bring "A Light to this Land", but above all you will be "A Light to this Land". May your martyr Saints accompany you on the journey, and may our Blessed Mother Mary, the Star of the Sea, lead you and your dear ones to the heaven of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom "be blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever" (
Ap 5,13).

S. John Paul II Homil. 30584