Being the Lord's disciple is no easy matter.

Sunday, 9/3/17

In today's First Reading, Jeremiah complained over God choosing him to be his prophet. He had wanted to have an idle gentlemanly existence, but God would not leave him alone.

Similarly, in the Gospel, Peter and the others had been honored at being chosen by Jesus; but then, they had wanted him to leave them alone to enjoy  the honor of being chosen as his disciples.

But that was not to be. Jesus told then that being his disciples would oblige each of them to live each day like a condemned criminal who was carrying the cross for his execution.  

As a young priest in Korea sixty years ago, I became acquainted with a class of men and a class of women that represented the kind of life Jeremiah and the disciples had longed for.

For hundreds and hundreds of years in China and in Korea the emperors had held yearly examinations on the whole range of ancient literature. A man who got full marks on the exam, was elevated to the status of a gentleman. 

Those gentleman, called Yangbauns, were absolved from doing physical work, and they were free to spend their days and years together, just discussing life.

For women in the Orient, the counterpart of being Yangbauns was achieved by marrying off their oldest sons.

They acquired daughter-in-laws charged with doing all the family's work. Those forty-year-old mother-in-laws began wearing long showy dresses. They could dance and sing their days away, freed from  the over-sight of the Yangbauns.  

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