DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     September 20, 1999     vol. 10, no. 178


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Monday, September 20, 1999

    Monday September 20:
    Feast of Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and companion Martyrs

    Red vestments

      First Reading: Ezra 1: 1-6
      Psalms: Psalm 126: 1-6
      Gospel Reading: Luke 8: 16-18


        One of the newest feasts in the Church, our current Holy Father Pope John Paul II officially canonized Saint Andrew Kim Taegon and Saint Paul Chong Hasang along with 111 companions as martyrs while on official visit to Korea in 1984. Like the feast, the conversion of Korea is also relatively new, with evangelization there not being undertaken until the beginning of the 1600's. It was first begun by a group of lay Catholics who were on fire for their faith. Petitioning various countries to send priests to minister to the people, France answered the call, secretly stealing into the country for Christianity was not tolerated on this far eastern island north of Japan. Between 1839 and 1867 113 were killed for their faith, including 103 members of the Christian community which included three bishops and seven priests, all French who were members of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris. St. Andrew was one of the first Koreans ordained a priest in 1845. He had been a dedicated student both in Korea and at Macao where he learned the Latin language. Secretly slipping back into Korea, he ministered to the people tirelessly, bringing them the Sacraments for nearly two years until the Korean tribesmen attacked him and beheaded him at the edge of a river as the sun was setting on September 16, 1846. The Christians snuck down later that evening and retrieved his body, carrying him up into the mountains for a proper and safe burial. Though little is known of Andrew, he did write two epistles or letters, one to the Vicar Apostolic bishop who had ordained him and the other to the faithful pleading for them to keep the faith. One of those who heeded his wise words was St. Paul Chong Hasang, a Catholic layman who was martyred for his faith less than a week later on September 22, 1846. Like the early Christians, the deaths of these Korean and French martyrs sowed the seeds of a flourishing Church in Korea for decades to come.

Tuesday, September 21, 1999

      First Reading: Ephesians 4: 1-7, 11-13
      Psalms: Psalm 19: 2-5
      Gospel Reading: Matthew 9: 9-13


        One of the greatest evangelists is, of course, Saint Matthew the Apostle, whose account of Christ's teaching and life, the first book of the New Testament, are the most detailed and complete - the most accurate catechism, if you will, for the Christian faithful. As his gospels reveal, He wasn't always Matthew. He was born in Capharnaum with the name Levi the son of Alphaeus who was a tax collector. As was the custom of those times, the father's trade was handed down to the son and so Matthew, too, became a tax collector. As we all know he abandoned being a publican when called by Our Lord to follow him while sitting in the tax-collector's seat in Capharnaum. Matthew's Gospel, written in Aramaic - the "Hebrew tongue" mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, was written to fill a yearning need to reach his fellow Palestinians who included both believers and non-believers. For believers his writings served as a token of his regard and as encouragement for the trials to come, specifically to prevent falling back into the ways of Judaism; for the unbelievers, his gospel was intended to convince them that Jesus was indeed the Messiah in the flesh in Whom all promises of the Old Testament had been fulfilled in a spiritual way as opposed to the more expected material or carnal manner that He would come as a conquering king. Matthew emphasized this, referring to the "Kingdom of God" or the "Kingdom of Heaven" in well over 50 incidences in his gospel. After the Ascension and Pentecost Sunday, Matthew remained in Jerusalem writing, but shortly after the persecution of Harold Agrippa I began in 42, he left Israel to preach in Parthia and Persia first, and then later went to Ethiopia where he received his crown of martyrdom and was reunited with his Master Whom he had written so faithfully, fully and accurately for and about. His relics were discovered and transfered in the 10th Century to Salerno Italy at the coordination of Pope Gregory VII.

September 20, 1999       volume 10, no. 178


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