Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and Companions

Pope John Paul II said this of the Catholic Church in Korea: "The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by laypeople. 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 boast 10,000 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. The death of these many martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today's splendid flowering of the Church in Korea. Even today their undying spirit sustains the Christians of the Church of Silence in the north of this tragically divided land." 

Christianity came to Korea through Christian books which had been brought across the border from China. In 1784 the small community of Koreans who had been converted through what they read in the books sent one of their own to Beijing to receive baptism. 

In the next half century, the rapidly growing Christian community of Korea was sustained in the Sacraments by only two priests from China, until 1836, when, after years of pleading, a group of French missionary priests were sent to Korea. These priests all numbered among the martyrs. 

At the end of the 18th century and throughout the next, there were six great waves of persecution in which 10,000 martyrs shed their blood for the faith. Saints Andrew Kim Taegon and Paul Chong Hasañg, were leaders of the Catholic Church in Korea. 

Andrew Kim Taegon was born to Korean nobility, and his parents converted when he was 15-years old. He traveled over 1000 miles to study in a seminary and became the first native Korean priest. He was tortured and beheaded in 1846. 

Paul Chong Hasang was a Korean Catholic lay leader who defended the faith before the government of Korea, and reunited the Christians in the midst of the persecutions, encouraging them to stay strong in the faith. In response to his direct appeals, the Pope, Gregory X, confirmed the validity of the Korean Church and sent more priests to Korea. He was martyred in 1839.


Isaiah 55:6-9

6 "Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.


Matthew 20:1-16

1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place;
4 and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went.
5 Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?'
7 They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.'
8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.'
9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.
10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.
11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder,
12 saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.'
13 But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you.
15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?'
16 So the last will be first, and the first last."


Psalms 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18

2 Every day I will bless thee, and praise thy name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
17 The LORD is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.
18 The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.


Second Reading

Philippians 1:20-24, 27

20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,


Lord, teach me Your ways

Sunday 20th September 2020
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Is. 55:6-9;  Ps. 144:2-3,8-9,17-18;
Phil. 1:20-24,27;  Mt. 20:1-16    (Ps Wk I)

People often create images of God that reflect their own opinions, prejudices, values, and worldviews. Their theological views say more about them than about God. Isaiah assures us that we know virtually nothing about God. God's ways of thinking and acting are utterly different from our own and far above our level of understanding.

He gifts us with opportunities to draw closer and to be enlightened, so Isaiah urges us to seek God now, while he can still be found. We need not wait until we die to know God, for God is closer to us than our own breath and heartbeat.

This is clear in the parable of the labourers in the vineyard. The human understanding is that those who worked longer and harder should get the greater reward. In fact, they got exactly the same wages as the latecomers, who worked only an hour. That is unfair! Precisely — and God’s ways are different from our own. It does not matter if we are a latecomer. Everyone is equal; everyone gets the same reward. We are all in this together, and the heavenly banquet begins when we are all — that means everyone — seated around the table. Competition and comparison have no place in our spiritual journey. Let us help those that are still struggling.

Lord, teach me Your ways.