Jueves, 03 de octubre de 2013

Palabras pronunciadas por el Cardenal Fernando Filoni, Prefecto de la Congregación para la Evangelización de los Pueblos, en la homilía de la Misa que presidió el 3 de octubre  de 2013, en Suwon, en la celebración jubilar con motivo del 50 aniversario de la creación de la diócesis. (Fides)

 

HOMILY  of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples for the 50th Anniversary for the Diocese of Suwon

Thursday, October 3, 2013, 2:30pm 

Readings: Leviticus 25:1,8-19;  2 Corinthians 6:1-13;  Luke 4:16-21.

 

In communion with the entire Church, solemnly and with hearts filled with lively gratitude to God, we celebrate today the 50th Anniversary of the Creation of the Diocese of Suwon.  It was on October 11th of 1962 that Blessed Pope John XXIII had just opened the Second Vatican Council; only a few months later, the Pontiff died and was succeeded in the Chair of Peter by Pope Paul VI.  This new Pope established the new Diocese of Suwon on October 7, 1963, while the Second Session of the Council unfolded in Rome and, within the course of a few weeks, the Fathers approved the liturgical reforms and prepared the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, which was defined as a “sacrament, or sign and instrument…of a very closely knit union with God” in Christ (Lumen Gentium, 1).  We can thus affirm that the Diocese of Suwon was born from the side of the Council and, at the same time could even say this happened as part of a divine “hidden plan of … wisdom and goodness” (LG, 2). 

We recall with gratitude your first Bishop, the Most Reverend Victorinus Youn Kong-hi, who this month will celebrate his 50° Anniversary of Episcopal Ordination and was succeeded by the esteemed Angelo Kim Nam-su and Paul Choi Deok-ki.  Today, I greet with affection your current Bishop, His Excellency, Monsignor Mathias Ri Yong-hoon, who, with his Auxiliary Bishop, Monsignor Linus Lee Seong-hyo, and his clergy, wished to solemnize the event we are celebrating by inviting me to preside over this act of Thanksgiving which we raise up to God.  Your Excellency, thank you for your cordial invitation, and I offer you my very best wishes pastorally and personally.  I greet all of you with fraternal affection - dear Brothers in the Episcopate, priests, men and women religious, and civil authorities – for whom I express my esteem, as well as to all who join with us in giving thanks.  To all of you, I bring humble greetings and the Apostolic Blessing of Pope Francis, with whom I spoke only a few days ago regarding this visit. 

Fifty years in the life of a Diocese represent a significant and important achievement.  This happy occasion, which coincides with the Year of Faith for the Diocese of Suwon, invites us to pause for a moment, giving me the opportunity to reflect with you on a few aspects of the life of this particular Church.  When the Council Fathers wanted to describe what the Church is, they had recourse to a few images, which were the same ones that Jesus had used many times in His preaching.  He compared the Church to a “sheepfold”, for which He Himself is the only and necessary gate; to “the tillage of God”, in which He is the true and life-giving vine; to an “edifice” and to a “holy temple”, of which Christ is the cornerstone, where proper praise is offered up daily to the Father.  He also used the concepts of the “bride” and of the “family” in order to underline the love with which He Himself loves the Church and where He desires to gather all His children, comforting them and bringing them together.  Reconsidering these images of the Church, as clarified by the Second Vatican Council (LG, 6), permits us to find in them once again those images that appear to our eyes particularly suitable for understanding the nature and the purpose of the Church: a nature that is “sacramental”, not in the sense that it is the grace itself, but that it signifies and causes it, at the same time contributing to the intimate union of humanity with God, and to unity within mankind.  

With these words, the Council Fathers desired to manifest both the nature of the Church “in Christ as a sacrament” (LG, 1), and her mission in the world, considered here and in other passages as service to the unity of all humanity.  Within the Trinitarian vision, the Council indicated, is revealed the universal salvific plan of the Father for mankind, the mission of the Son, the Light of the World, and of the sanctifying Spirit of the Church, Who guides her, unifies her, instructs and directs her, beautifies her and continually renews her (LG, 2-4).  In this Church, dear brothers and sisters, we are all baptized, we profess our Faith, we are regenerated in grace, we liturgically praise God, we continue in both visible and spiritual modes the Mystical Body of the Risen Lord, becoming the pilgrim People of God with whom the Most High establishes the New Covenant. 

In this context, what are Dioceses and what is their role?  In theological terms, the Diocese is a “particular Church”: a portion of the People of God in which the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative.  To each of these, a Bishop is appointed, who, as Father and Shepherd, avails himself of the cooperation of the priests in service to the community. The mission of the particular Church consists in, and indeed is derived from, the same mission of Jesus that He left to the Apostles when He rose, saying to them: ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age’" (Matthew 28:18-28).  Jesus, therefore, sends forth and is present even today in this beloved Church of Suwon, accompanying her with great care.  Thus, the Lord profoundly rejoices today, seeing in these fifty years how she has grown, bearing witness to Him, the Risen One. 

According to the passage from the Book of Leviticus that was proclaimed a few moments ago, Israel celebrated a Year of Jubilee every fifty years; it was a year of prayer, of liberation, of conversion, of pardon, and of joy.  Its celebration brought back to God the community that had become distanced from Him, reconstituting and regenerating all its members, and reestablishing the relationships within the community, restoring truth, justice, and charity,  principles that we will make our own due to their value and their beauty, so that this Portion of the People of God that is the Diocese of Suwon can walk the path of goodness, reconciled and reinvigorated by the grace of the Lord.  The same exhortation comes to us again in the Second Reading from the Liturgy of the Word today. In the passage from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, the Apostle, who had that community of new Christians, which he had pulled out of paganism, greatly at heart, reminds them that there is always an “acceptable time” provided by God for our salvation, noting it thus: “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).   Well aware that the Christian will not have an easy life defending his or her own faith, the Apostle also indicates that the weapons to be used in such combat, when he says that, together with prayer and steadfastness, it is necessary to use “purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, in a holy spirit, in unfeigned love”, along with “justice, truth, and joy”, all virtues founded in God. 

The Gospel, in its turn, recalls for us the moment in which the Master, who was recognized in Nazareth as a fellow citizen, returned to the synagogue where He had learned the Sacred Scriptures; in the light of the verse, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me … He has sent me … to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord”, He declared its fulfillment: “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (cf. Luke 4:18-21). 

What do these words mean for us today? In a society where the Catholic presence, though meaningful, must deal with other significant religious realities; where profound social and economic changes touch upon delicate issues, such as the family (we think of the rise in separations and divorce, for example), young people (always more drawn toward wealth and exposed to the loss of values), and the loss of religious and moral values; how can we respond adequately?  It does not belong to the Church’s nature to weep over a past that changes, but rather to be concerned with the task of placing Jesus Christ once again at the center of our mission, so that a Christological Church is truly a sign of reconciliation and of hope within society, and never ceases to preach the time of the Lord’s grace.  Beside these points of reflection and concern, I would be remiss if I failed to note the many fruits of lively and pastoral action that all of you bring to the Lord.  The considerable increase in the Catholic community in these years has prompted and encouraged you to understand just how much people have need of God and how few workers there always are in His vineyard. 

While thanking everyone for their generous commitment to the pastoral life, I want to encourage you to continue in the good things you have undertaken, trusting in the Lord, Who promised to be present with us always.  May the Lord bless all of you, and may Mary, Mother of the Church, extend her kindness to you. Amen.

 


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