Cardinal Parolin's Homily at Mass for Peace in Korea (Full Text)

Prayers that Korean Peninsula May Find Peace after Years of Division

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Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, presided over a “Mass for Peace” — in the Vatican Basilica — for the Korean Peninsula on October 17, 2018. Among those attending the Mass were the President of the Republic of Korea, Jae-in Moon, his wife, and many Korean faithful, priests, and missionaries.
Here is a ZENIT translation of Cardinal Parolin’s homily, delivered during the Eucharistic Celebration.
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Homily of the Cardinal Secretary of State
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and the Presbyterate,
Distinguished Authorities and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Evangelist John narrates that the Lord Jesus, appearing to His disciples for the first time after the Resurrection, addressed them with this greeting: “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19). The disciples had already heard similar words on the evening of the Last Supper, before the Lord handed Himself over to the hands of His persecutors, accepting to the end the sacrifice of the Cross for the salvation of the world. In fact, taking leave of His own, Jesus said: “I leave you peace, I give you my peace. Not as the world gives it do I give it to you. Let not your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
The peace that the Lord gives to man’s heart, in search of the true life and full joy, is that spiritual mystery that unites the sacrifice of the Cross to the renewing power of the Resurrection. ”I leave you peace, I give you my peace!”
This evening we wish to raise our gaze humbly to God, to Him who rules history and humanity’s fate, and to implore, once again, for the whole world the gift of peace. We do so praying in particular so that in the Korean Peninsula also, after so many years of tensions and divisions, the word peace may finally resound fully.
In the First Reading of this Celebration, we heard the author of Deuteronomy recall the twofold experience lived by the people of Israel, that of “blessing” and that of “curse.” “When all these things that I have put before you, blessing and curse, are realized in you, you will recall them to your mind in the midst of all the nations, where the Lord, your God, will have scattered you [. . . ] then the Lord your God will change your fortune; He will have mercy on you and He will gather you again from all the peoples [. . . ].”
The wisdom of Scripture makes us understand that only one who has experienced the inscrutable mystery of the apparent absence of God, in face of sufferings, of oppression and of hatred, can understand thoroughly what it means to hear the word peace resound again.
As persons of good will, we all certainly know that peace is built with the choices of every day, with a serious commitment to the service of justice and of solidarity, with the promotion of the rights and dignity of the human person, especially through care of the weakest. However, for one who believes, peace is first of all a gift that comes from on high, from God Himself. Thus it is the full manifestation of the presence of God, of Him whom the prophets proclaimed as Prince of Peace.
Moreover, we know well that the peace that comes from God isn’t an abstract  and distant idea, but an experience lived concretely in the daily path of life. As Pope Francis has recalled many times, it is “peace in the mist of tribulations.” Therefore, when Jesus promises peace to His disciples, He also adds: “Not as the world gives it, do I give it to you.”
In fact, as Pope Francis also stresses, the world often “anesthetizes us so that we won’t see another reality of life: the cross.” See how the peace that God offers us goes beyond  merely earthly expectations; it’s not the fruit of a simple compromise, but a new reality, which involves all of life’s dimensions, including those mysterious ones of the cross and the inevitable sufferings of our earthly pilgrimage. Therefore, Christian faith teaches us that “peace without the cross isn’t Jesus’ peace.”
Pope Paul VI, whom we had the joy to see canonized last Sunday in a radiant day of celebration, announcing for the first time the “World Day of Peace” on January 1, 1968, and taking up some expressions already dear to Saint John XXIII, addressed the Catholic faithful and all men of good will thus: “ It is always necessary to speak of peace! It is necessary to educate the world to love peace, to build it, and to defend it; and against the renascent premises of war [. . . ] it is necessary to arouse in the men of our time and of the generations to come the meaning and love of peace founded on truth, on justice, on freedom <and> on love.”[1]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Let us ask the Lord for the grace to make peace a genuine mission in today’s world, trusting in the mysterious power of the cross of Christ and of His Resurrection. With the grace of God, the way of forgiveness becomes possible, the choice of fraternity among peoples <becomes> a concrete fact, peace a shared horizon also in the diversity of subjects that give life to the International Community.
“Then our prayers for peace and reconciliation will be raised to God from purer hearts and by His gift of grace, they will obtain that precious good to which we all aspire.”[2] Amen.
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
[1] Paul VI, Message for the 1st World Day of Peace, December 8, 1967.
[2] Francis, Homiky in the Cathedral of Myeong-dong (Seoul), August 18, 2014.

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