Bishop Joseph Ha cried for the youth of Hong Kong

For the auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, the demands of young people are just and show they "care about society". Ongoing protests against the extradition law are the only way forward against a political system unwilling to listen.

Jun 14, 2019

By Joseph Ha Chi-shing
Mgr Joseph Ha Chi-shing, auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, wept as he listened the young people who took part in yesterday's protests against extradition bill to China, mentioning it in the homily he gave yesterday evening at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, just as the clashes between protesters and the police raged.

For Mgr Ha, the demands of young people are just and show they "care about society". He calls them "rational, peaceful and moderate", even if he sees them as powerless vis-à-vis a rigid political system that treats them "with violence" and "approves who knows what laws for the benefit of the people", but also seems unable to understand “what these laws are”. Here is the homily (translation by AsiaNews).

An hour before the homily, I spoke and listened to dozens of young people. Each of them spent a few hours or a whole day in front of the Admiralty (near the Legislative Council Complex). I'm very sad, for it shouldn’t be like this. I saw how the young people behaved: They are rational, peaceful and moderate. Perhaps we could say that they are naive, thinking that by bringing together so many people they can change something, put off the approval of the extradition law.

I do not know why or on whose order, but what they experienced tells me that young people are treated with violence. I can't imagine it at all. A young person should not face all this. I never thought that this could happen in Hong Kong.

I was born and raised here in Hong Kong; here I have my family and the people I love! All we want is to live in freedom, to have guarantees for our lives, to have the freedom to which everyone is entitled and no longer live in fear. Are we asking too much? Don’t we really deserve this? No! It shouldn’t be like this!

A few days ago, many of us took part in the protest, showing what they want with the sweat of their efforts. But all this seems useless . . .

Today many people have gone on strike, hundreds and thousands of people in front of the Legislative Council (LegCo) but they have been driven away again. All efforts seem useless again. The Church has urged us to pray and attend Mass, but what's the use?

When I heard these young people sharing their stories, I saw and felt how humanity is beautiful and good. Despite so many injustices, humanity continues to shine. Young people help and support each other. "How many people have come, and how many people have gone!" This is precisely mutual love; this is the teaching of Jesus. This is the fruit of our prayers to the Lord when we ask him to help us and change our hearts.

In today's first reading, Saint Paul says: "The letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor 3:6). This is therefore (our) spirituality. Today’s Hong Kong society says many beautiful things, approves who knows what laws for the benefit of the people, but it seems nobody understands what these laws are.

Jesus taught us that the true law is satisfying [the needs of] others, doing good for others! The real law consists in taking care of others, loving others and even sacrificing oneself for others.

We were worried about traffic as we came here on foot from the diocesan centre. I thank the Lord who made us walk this distance! I saw so many young people, I'm very sorry . . . Why did this happen? Yet, in my sorrow there is also a great admiration for them. I admire them for their purity and for their concern for society. They can't do anything. What else can they do? All they can do is take to the streets and shout some slogans saying what they want, so that those in power can hear their voices. That's all.

Do we ask too much? Why can't we ask for this?

As we were coming here, my heart was weeping. At the same time though, I thank the Lord! I thank God for giving all these beautiful young people to Hong Kong society. I saw the image of the Lord written in the depths of their soul: They are not here only for themselves.

Brothers and sisters, I do not know what more we can do, nor how to proceed on this path. Yet Jesus told us today: ". . . We seek justice, and then we use the method of justice!"

For Hong Kong society and every Hong Kong citizen, we have learnt to love and respect each other. To be together, we do all we can do for this land: A single page of the Gospel, a prayer, a personal thought, a word, a message on WhatsApp ...

Brothers and sisters, human capacities are limited. Put your trust in God and let ourselves fall into His arms.--Asia News

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