ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Archbishop of Seoul: at Easter "our lives are intertwined with the Eternal"

Wednesday, 27 March 2024 politics   evangelization   reconciliation   easter  

Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - "The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the profound testimony of the fact that our mortal existence transcends the temporal limits of this world but is linked to eternal life. Its meaning transcends the scope of our physical and expected life, but connects our life to eternal life", says Peter Chung Soon-taick OCD, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, in his message for Easter 2024.
The reflection starts from a sociological analysis, recalling that only a few decades ago, it was customary in Korea to celebrate the 60th birthday with great pomp, in the ceremony called "Hwangap". With the lengthening of the average lifespan, however, the trend is now to avoid even the 70th birthday celebration, called "Gohui" - meaning "a very rare thing in the past" - because one has the feeling that there is still a long way to go in life. In fact, collective longevity has increased significantly. Statistics reveal that the average life expectancy of Korean women is around 86 years, and that of men is around 81 years. Furthermore, healthy life expectancy in Korea is one of the highest among OECD countries, with figures reaching 73-74 years. This represents an increase of more than 10 to 20 years compared to previous generations.
"However - notes the Archbishop - if our earthly existence ends after 80-90 years, what significance does it have in the vast tapestry of millennial history? What meaning does this add to the history of this earth and of the universe, if our individual lives remain disconnected from the eternal?".
And he adds: "Faith in the resurrection of Jesus is not like the opium that helps us escape from this troubled world, as Karl Marx said, but rather involves a deep recognition that our lives in this temporal realm are intertwined with the Eternal". This certainty, he continues, "involves a sincere commitment to embrace life in its entirety, even in the midst of the trials of adversity, such as failure, illness, separation, erosion of love. The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope that these 'deaths' are not an end point but rather a new beginning, imbued with divine power".
The Archbishop also spoke about the situation on the Korean peninsula: "Faith in the resurrection of Jesus offers a glimmer of hope that even the deep-rooted division on the Korean Peninsula can ultimately resolve into a future of unified existence" and can be transformed “into a renaissance of harmonious cohabitation and shared prosperity". "May the transformative power and hope embodied in the resurrection, envelop all those who are struggling with adversity, especially our brothers and sisters in the North", the text hopes.
The way forward is therefore through dialogue: "Authentic dialogue has the potential to transcend conflicts and disagreements, fostering empathy and understanding towards others. Political leaders have a profound duty to guide the trajectory of their nations towards the development and collective well-being of their people".
To this end, there is no lack of reference to the internal situation in South Korea, which is preparing to hold legislative elections on April 10: "Our country's politicians should prioritize the well-being of the population rather than partisan agendas. This is why, the message concludes, it is imperative that we, citizens of a democratic society, demonstrate judicious discernment during the upcoming electoral process, by electing leaders who are unequivocally committed to serving the interests of the people. Amidst personal and social challenges, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a beacon of hope that anchors our faith in the potential for redemption and renewal." (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 27/3/2024)