Happiness and Apostolate in a non-Christian Nation
Sermon preached in Taiwan
(Gospel of the Day: Matthew 13:44-52)
All the people is “looking for fine pearls”, that is, all of them are looking for happiness. But, it seems that the majority part of people don’t know where they can find the “pearl of great value”, that is they don’t know where they can find happiness.
But, where we can find happiness? What is those “pearl of great value”? …
Our blessed Lord explains us. He teaches us that those pearl of great value is “the kingdom of Heaven”. So, if we want to achieve happiness, we need to achieve the kingdom of Heaven, we need to achieve the perfect union with Jesus Christ.
The pearl of great value
This is not new. We now this perfectly. But, there is a problem, a very practical problem. The problem is that millions and millions of people don’t know nothing about the kingdom of Heaven, about Jesus Christ… So, they are looking for fine pearls but then can’t find the pearl of great value, that is, they cannot find Jesus Christ. But why they cannot find Him? Because they don’t know Him. And why they don’t know Him? Because nobody had talked to them about Jesus Christ. Nobody had talked to them about the kingdom of Heaven.
Think for a moment in this country, in Taiwan. How much people is Christian? Only five percent. And what about the other 95%? They are looking the pearl of great value, that is, they are looking for happiness but they cannot find it because they don’t know Jesus Christ. Maybe a lot of them have a lot of money and a nice family, but indeed they are very poor people because they don’t know Jesus Christ and because they don’t love Jesus Christ. In fact, nobody is poorest than the people that don’t have the knowledge of God and the grace of God. This is the teaching of the Church. In fact, Pius IX wrote that “no one can be thought so poor and naked, no one so infirm or hungry, as he who is deprived of the knowledge and grace of God” (Rerum Ecclesiae, 14).
But, what is our reaction?
We want to be indifferent towards the ignorance of the poorest people of the world?
We want to be egoist forgetting our brothers that are still ignorant of the Kingdom of Heaven?
We want to help the others to find happiness, that is, to find Jesus Christ?
Have we “a great desire to make Our Lord and his Holy Mother loved”?
The life of the saints is plenty of works directed to help the others to find a Jesus Christ. Is useful to remember the history of the Evangelization of Korea. The foundation of the Church in Korea was not made by priests but was made by lay people. One Korean people found in China some texts written by Jesuit Missionaries. He read that and he propagated that. This was the beginning of the Church in Korea. Saint John Paul II talked about these facts: Catholic Faith “came [to Korea] by means of books brought from China. And in a most marvelous way, divine grace soon moved [them] […] first to an intellectual quest for the truth of God’s word and then to a living faith in the Risen Savior. [Wanting] […] an ever greater share in the Christian faith, [they] […] sent one of their own in 1784 to Peking, where he was baptized. From this good seed was born the first Christian community in Korea, a community unique in the history of the Church by reason of the fact that it was founded entirely by lay people”.
Today the Church in Korea has a “splendid flowering”. In fact, Saint John Paul II used this expression: “the splendid flowering of the Church in Korea”. “The splendid flowering of the Church in Korea today is indeed the fruit of the heroic witness” of Korea. The immense majority part of this heroic witness were lay people. I read that today, there are almost 5.1 million Catholics in Korea. And why? Because the lay people determine themselves to be Apostles, to invite the others to the Church.
We want to imitate them? Have we the courage to imitate them? Maybe we prefer to dedicate ourselves only to make temporal business… forgetting our brothers and sisters… It is our free choice: to be apostles or to forget our brothers. We are free. Jesus is awaiting for our response.
Maybe after this homily, at least one of you determines himself to invite at least one non-Christian to the Church. This, this would be a big fruit of this little sermon. Yesterday I was talking with one priest and he said to me that if we assume an apostolic attitude, with courage, all will change, all will be different. If we assume an apostolic attitude, we will increase so much the number of the friends of Jesus. If we assume an apostolic attitude, a lot of people would discover the pearl of great value, that is, Jesus Christ. If we assume an apostolic attitude, a lot of people would discover that happiness consists in the perfect union with Jesus Christ, that happiness consists in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Don’t forget that all our human relations are an opportunity to win for Christ as many souls as possible.
I finish with some words of Saint John Paul II: “The number of those who do not know Christ and do not belong to the Church is constantly on the increase. Indeed, since the end of the Council it has almost doubled. When we consider this immense portion of humanity which is loved by the Father and for whom he sent his Son, the urgency of the Church’s mission is obvious.[…] I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples” (Redemptoris Missio, 3).Don’t forget this supreme duty: “proclaim Christ to all peoples”!
Let us pray to Our Blessed Mother of Heaven to be apostles of the Lord. Amen.
Missionary Priest in Taiwan
 Ibid, 3.