Our Lord tells us that if we live our lives in obedience to his words, we will be like those who built their house on solid rock. Just as that house will stand through fierce storms, so will his words keep our lives upright through poverty, disease, and bouts of hatred.
Any time we have this Gospel I fall back on telling about the typhoon that hit our Korean coast in June of 1954.
Two boys, Peter and Paul, had been born and raised on the lands of the Benedictine Abbey in Waegwon, North Korea, in the nineteen-thirties and forties. In 1950, when Macarthur invaded Inchon, they fled south. Then, in the seesaw battles after that, our Marines won back a county north of the 38th parallel on Korea’s east coast. Peter and Paul and I settled in a town there in the late spring of 1954.
Peter and Paul had both picked up Catholic wives, and the four of them were sharing a single nine-by-nine room out of which the boys were running a radio repair business. They, then got me to join them in building a two-room house with a kitchen. We dug eight deep holes for corner posts. In them we dropped good-sized boulders that we brought up from the creek in a borrowed cart.
The boys got a Catholic carpenter to fit the uprights and crossbars together, Then, for the mud walls we forked out money to buy big spools of black market communication wire to weave between the uprights.
While Peter took his wife Theresa twenty miles south to have their firstborn, Paul and I slapped wet clay onto the weaved-wiring between the uprights. We went on then to tie down the roof thatching.
At the beginning of June we were hit by a major typhoon that took out the bridges and most of the houses on our coast.
The stream rushing down its valley took out the village where Theresa was awaiting her baby, so she had to give birth holding on to a pine tree on the mountain side. But, the house we built stood firm; and we dedicated it with a party on June 29th, the feast day of Peter and Paul.