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Easter rekindles hope for Korean unification: Seoul archbishop

Christians should steadfastly cling to hope, unwavering even in the face of life’s most formidable challenges, says Peter Chung Soon-taick
Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick celebrates Holy Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral in South Korean capital Seoul in this undated image.

Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick celebrates Holy Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral in South Korean capital Seoul in this undated image. (Photo: Archdiocese of Seoul)

Published: March 26, 2024 10:47 AM GMT
Updated: March 26, 2024 11:58 AM GMT

The feast of Easter that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ offers hope for the unification of the Korean Peninsula despite the entrenched division and ongoing confrontations, Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick of Seoul said in his Easter message.

Despite the partition and persistent confrontation in the peninsula, “a glimmer of optimism” remains that the longstanding schism on the Korean Peninsula may metamorphose into “a renaissance of harmonious cohabitation and shared prosperity,” Chung said in his Easter message. 

The March 25 message called for “genuine dialogue” that holds the potential to transcend conflicts and rifts, fostering empathy and understanding towards others.

He wanted political leaders to “shoulder a profound duty in steering the trajectory of their nations towards development and the collective well-being of their people” and to prioritize “the welfare of the people over partisan agendas.”

As citizens of a democratic society, Koreans are called to exercise “judicious discernment” in the forthcoming electoral process, electing leaders who are “unequivocally dedicated to serving the people’s interests.”

Christians, who believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, should steadfastly cling to hope, unwavering even in the face of life’s most formidable challenges, he said. 

“The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope that such “deaths” are not conclusive endpoints but rather a new beginning infused with divine strength.”

He wished the transformative power and hope that resurrection offers "envelop all those grappling with adversity, particularly our brethren in the North." 

“Belief in the resurrection of Jesus is not like opium that helps us escape from this troubled world, as illustrated by Karl Marx, but rather entails a profound acknowledgment that our lives in this temporal realm are intertwined to the eternal,” Chung said.

Humans are called to realize their “inherent responsibility” in cultivating this world into a harmonious place where “God saw that it was good,” he said.

The spring season unfolds, ushering in renewal across all of creation. As the blossoms and grasses adorn the mountains and fields, they proclaim the emergence of life within the earth and the natural world, he added.

Koreans enjoy a longer life span now and it should convert to a "commitment to embracing life in its entirety, even amidst the trials of adversity, failure, illness, separation, and the erosion of love," Chung noted.

Koreans no longer celebrate their 60th or 70th birthday with great pomp as the lifespan in South Korea has increased. The average lifespan of Korean women stands at approximately 86 years and for men 81 years, according to official statistics.

The feast of Easter in the Spring "serves as a profound testament that our mortal existence transcends the temporal confines of this world but is connected to eternal life. Its significance transcends the extension of our physical and anticipated lifespan, but in connecting our lives to eternal life!” he said.

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