CHRISTMAS IN SOUTH KOREA
Whenever Christmas season is coming, people get excited, regardless of their religious identity. I also used to get excited even without religious reasons. Perhaps it was because I thought Christmas was a holiday and had many special occasions. Actually on Christmas day, all restaurants and shops are really busy, unlike Australia. In my view, on Christmas day it is really hard to find open shops and restaurants in Australia. If Christmas in Korea is good for selling products and also good for couples, Christmas in Australia is good for resting and also good for family. I think the difference between Australia and Korea is because of each country’s tradition.
After entering seminary, Christmas has become a more special time for me, because, while I was a seminarian, I had to prepare a lot of things alone for Christmas. For instance, I was planning for Christmas decorations in my parish, training altar servers for the Mass, cleaning snow-covered paths for parishioners and so on. Even though I felt happy, I couldn’t celebrate the reason because I was really busy every Christmas season.
One day, after the Vigil Mass of Christmas, while people were enjoying the special mood outside, I stayed alone inside the parish. It was really calm and peaceful. With the mood which was opposite to outside, I had some time to pray and while praying, I recognised that I hadn’t prayed during Christmas season because I was really busy. Because of that, however, I felt happy without any reason, ridiculously so.
Christmas is a very special time for people. But for Christians, like us, Christmas should be special because of our Lord Jesus Christ who comes for all people in every year. If not us, who can remember him and celebrate his coming? I heard that many young people throughout the world don’t know that Christmas was established for celebrating Jesus’ birth. If we don’t remember and pray, Christmas will be the saddest time ever. To prepare for this coming Christmas, how about praying not only in the church but also at home with your loving family?
On Tuesday, 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis opened the Holy Doors at St Peter’s to inaugurate the Year of Mercy. This Year of Mercy will continue until the Feast of Christ the King next year. Throughout the coming year, I hope that as a parish community we will be available to take the opportunity to participate in this time of grace, and be open to the bountiful goodness of God who longs to embrace each and every one of us in tender care. As we approach Christmas, let us make use of the 2nd Rite of Reconciliation which we will celebrate on Monday, 21 December at 7pm.
Pope Francis opened the Holy Doors with these powerful words. Let us take some time to reflect on them this Advent season: “This Extraordinary Year is itself a gift of grace. To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them. It is he who seeks us! It is he who comes to encounter us! This will be a year in which we grow ever more convinced of God’s mercy. How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy! But that is the truth. We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event God’s judgment will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love, of tenderness. Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things.”
|Jun 24, 2016||3rd Sunday of Advent 13.12.2015||Listen||Download|