Christmas story

Fr. Charlie O’Rourke
December 23, 2010

One Christmas Eve in Korea I was sitting in my living room thinking about my homily for the Midnight Mass.  I remember that it was snowing and was rather cold. It was then that a knock came at the door. A couple was standing there and the young man introduced himself as Joseph. I jokingly said, “and I suppose your wife’s name is Mary.”

He answered saying, “Well, actually it is.”

So I gladly welcomed them into my room where we had a chat. They had just moved into the vicinity but were living about 15 miles distant from the church. It was a village where there was no Catholic church or even a mission. Mary talked to me about her desire to stimulate interest in the Catholic Church in that village. She struck me as being a very dynamic person with real leadership qualities. So I was delighted to hear her story and her enthusiasm.

She asked me to come to the village once a month and say Mass and she would have people gather for the occasion. I gladly did so. She had 25 women and a few men at the first Mass. None of them were Catholic except for Mary and Joseph and their children. Mary continued to instruct the people from then on and within two years she had 50 people ready for baptism. The mission continued to grow and today is a flourishing Catholic community.

Because of the fact that this story began on Christmas Eve I have never forgotten it. I could see the parallel between what our Blessed Mother and Joseph did and what the Korean Joseph and Mary did with their lives. It was because of this Korean couple, and especially Mary, that the good news of the Gospel spread through that area where they were living. She made Christmas become a reality for those people.

Have I not tried to do the same in my world by my example, by my appreciation for what God has done and the zeal to make known God’s love each day?