Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun of Hong Kong told participants in the 49th International Eucharistic Congress that the devastating earthquake in China last month taught his countrymen and women important lessons.’
“People discovered that the most precious values are human life, family affection and universal brotherhood,” he said during his homily at the congress Mass June 20. Chinese leaders “led the way in this discovery.” By their actions, he concluded, there is “hope of a new China.”
Cardinal Ze-Kiun said it is natural to question where God is in the face of such a calamaty. “He was there in the debris,” he said. “He was in the pain and despair.” His countrymen who suffered, he said, “were filling up what Jesus is lacking in his own suffering.”
When people protest or criticize the Church, Cardinal Ze-Kiun said, it is an opportunity for evangelization. “These are invitations for us to proclaim God’s word stronger,” he said.
He acknowledged that preaching the Gospel can be difficult. However, Catholics must “get on with the hard work,” he said. He also told congress pilgrims to seek Mary’s support. It is only with her help, he said, “that we will build a society based on justice and peace.”
Spreading the word of God effectively was the theme of many of the talks June 20, as the congress entered its fifth day. José H. Prado Flores, founder of the San Andres School of Evangelization, gave a spirited talk on how best to lead others to Christ. A trained theologian who has taught in Central America and in Rome, Dr. Flores said he knew all he could about the faith, but he felt nothing for it in his heart. He said a “routine faith” is the worst thing that can happen to a believer. He likened himself to a “reporter” about the Good News and not a witness to it. “I was a master of the Word instead of being a disciple and servant of the Word.”
It was only after allowing the Holy Spirit to have sway in his life did he come to the realization that God has control of his life. “I wanted to understand everything about God but not embrace the mystery of God. By embracing the mystery, I have become closer to him,” he said.
At the San Andres School, Flores and others teach lay people how to be effective missionaries and evangelizers. There are more than 2,000 schools in 61 countries.