The completion of John Moore?s 630-mile pilgrimage from his home in New Mexico to the St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church in tiny Pilsen, Kan., illustrates again the stirring example of demonstrated by Father Emil Kapaun amid the inhumanity of war. By all accounts, the Pilsen native gave up his life for fellow soldiers struggling to survive in a Korean prisoner of war camp during the 1950s.
So powerful was the chaplain?s intentional sacrifice that one prisoner painstaking handcrafted a crucifix in his honor after Kapaun died of malnutrition at the age of 35. The Jewish solider who made the crucifix christened it ?Christ in Barbed War.? The name characterized Kapaun himself as he modeled the example of Jesus.
We would never ask to experience the dehumanization of war. But all of us from time to time find ourselves in difficult situations that tempt us to withdraw from the desperate needs of others in order to preserve the relative tranquility of our own existence. Apostle Paul once exhorted timid believers, ?Follow me as I follow Christ.? Father Kapaun likely would say the same thing to us today. He understood that we truly find life in the intentional acts of giving it away to others. ?DR