The Statue of Brothers,
Sculpted by Choi Young-Jeep (Korean Artist),
Executed in 1994,
Patinated bronze, stone and bricks
© War Memorial in Seoul, South Korea

The Statue of Brothers,
Sculpted by Choi Young-Jeep (Korean Artist),
Executed in 1994,
Patinated bronze, stone and bricks
© War Memorial in Seoul, South Korea

Gospel of 4 March 2023

Love your enemies

Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

Reflection on the Public Sculpture

Jesus today asks us not only to forgive our enemies but to 'love' them, which is a whole different thing. Forgiveness is not enough: it needs to lead to love! In the sculpture we are looking at today, we see this happening in a very real and tangible way. It depicts a South Korean older brother soldier embracing his younger brother who was part of the North Korean army. They are meeting in a battlefield. Their embrace demonstrates reconciliation, forgiveness and ultimately leads to the two brothers loving each other again.

On 25th June 1950 North Korea invaded its southern neighbour, sparking the Korean War. A bloody and sad battle ensued which lasted until 1953, with the United States supporting South Korea and China lending support to its communist ally, North Korea. In 1994 this War Memorial, called Statue of Brothers by Choi Young-Jeep, was unveiled in Seoul. The 11-metre-high sculpture symbolises the desire of the two peoples of Korea for reunification. Both figures are standing on a cracked dome representing the ongoing division of the two countries. This lower tomb-shaped dome was built with pieces of granite collected from nationwide locations, again accentuating the unifying qualities of the sculpture. The love between the two brothers stands tall above the cracked dome… brotherly love triumphs over the divisions.

Looking closer, we can also see that the larger, older brother is armed, by contrast with the younger one who is smaller, unarmed and therefore comes across as defenceless and weak. Yet, armed or unarmed, they are there for each other.  Since God’s love does not discriminate, our love must not discriminate against anyone either; we must love both friends or enemies.

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Anthony
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Anthony
1 year ago

Last night I watched the new film of ‘All quiet on the western front’. It left me speechless!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 year ago
Reply to  Anthony

Good film. Also the original Hollywood film made many years ago is excellent.

Patricia Baggott
Member
Patricia Baggott
1 year ago

What a powerful sculpture. Thank you for your insight into this reading. A difficult one today as loving your enemies is hard as I am sure the people of Ukraine will feel. We can only do this with the love of God. I pray that the war in Ukraine can be resolved as this statue shows.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 year ago

This sculpture speaks for itself. I have no comment today.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 year ago

A divided Korea, as students of history will know, is a legacy of Japanese imperialism. Korea is an ancient civilisation quite distinct from China and Japan. I pray for its reunification and for the end of the crypto religious cult that runs the North.

Mike Baird
Member
Mike Baird
1 year ago

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount never gets tougher than here. Not only am I to forgive my enemies, I’m to pray for them, I am to love them.

I have people who have hurt my loved ones badly. In a sense, they are my enemies. I have to love them? This is difficult. Jesus acknowledges this by saying, do this and you will be perfect. Can I do it? Can I love my enemies? No. Not by myself.

Christian faith is not about doing good, it is not even about being good; it is all about being loved! Once I realize that I am loved “no matter what”, once I let that truth soak into my heart, then something new is birthed in me. In a sense I am born again. My inner self turns noble and right actions simply flow from me. Like, loving my enemies.

Thank you Jesus for loving me. Help me to love others today, especially my enemies.
Saint Stephen, please pray for me.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Baird

Wonderful words indeed Mike. We can do nothing on our own. As a fiercely independent spirit most of my life this truth I have learned too. I used to think I had no enemies, then God sent me one. I do love this person, but when that love is thrown back at you it is very difficult. I am also learning the unexpected challenges that love provides too. It is very hard but nothing is impossible with God. May God bless you today.

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