Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pass the Hotteok, Please!

From the very beginning of the Christian era, the intention of persecutors (that would be them)was to terrify, intimidate and ultimately get rid those they were persecuting (that would be us).  But in the long run (and sometimes even in the short run), attempting to stamp us out just contributed to them becoming part of us.

For at the heart of the Good News is this: that the love of God is stronger than hatred, violence and even death.

Which I suppose explains the distinctive manner in which our Catholic tradition honors the memory of the martyrs. Solemnly, yes, with the Mass, hagiography, icons, stained glass and statues but cheerfully, even playfully with distinctive food, drink and other festivities.

Feast of St. Agatha or St. Lucy?  Pass the 'minni Sant'Agata' or a 'lussekatter'  (St. Lucy Cat) pastries!  Feast of St. Lawrence?  Fire-up the grill!  Even Good Friday has its own (delicious) pastry: hot cross buns!

Today is the memorial of the Korean martyrs St. Andrew Kim Taegon, St. Paul Chong Hasang and companions.  They were put to death during a persecution in the mid- 19th century and their courageous witness was and continues to be the foundation of the Church in Korea.

I don't know if there is a particular food yet associated with the Korean martyrs, but my vote would be for hotteok.  Its a kind of dough-cake, filled with chopped nuts and cinnamon, browned in hot frying pan. In Korea hotteok is a popular street food.  I was introduced to them a few years back by my Carmelite friends from Korea at the Terre Haute Carmel. They are delicious (particularly on a cold winter day)!  

So on this feast day of St. Andrew Kim and his companions, remember with gratitude their courage and sacrifice and perhaps celebrate with a hotteok or two and a hot cup of tea.    


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