Dear Brothers and Sisters,
WORLD MISSION SUNDAY – October 21-22
THEME: Mission at the heart of Christian Faith
When we think of mission, we come together around the person of Jesus for he is “the very first and greatest evangelizer” (Pope Paul VI Evangelii Nuntiandi 7). Evangelization is bringing the Gospel, the Good News, of Jesus to every human situation. It is the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life (CCC 905). It is Jesus sending us to proclaim the Gospel of God’s love. This World Mission Day prods us to once again realize that the Church is missionary by nature, or she would not be the Church of Christ. She would be like any other group that ends us serving their purpose and passing away. The mission of the Church is directed to all people of good will and at its center is the transforming power of the Gospel. The Gospel is Good News and when it is lived out it has a contagious joy for it contains and offers new life. It is the life of the Risen Jesus who is our Way, Truth, and Life. He is the Way that is an invitation to have confidence and courage. Following him as the Way, we experience truth and receive his Life that is the fullness of communion with God the Father. That life sets us free from every kind of selfishness and is a source of creativity in love.
The Father desires this transformation in our lives for the “Glory of God is the human person fully alive” (Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses !V,20, 7). So the preaching of the Gospel is the vital and effective word that accomplishes what it proclaims (cf. Is 55:10-11): that Jesus Christ constantly takes flesh in every human situation (cf. Jn 1:14).The world vitally needs the Gospel. Through the Church, Christ continues his mission as Good Samaritan to the bleeding wounds of humanity, and as Good Shepherd seeking out those who wonder along winding paths that lead nowhere. There are countless testimonies to how the Gospel helps to overcome narrowness, conflict, racism, tribalism, and helps to promote everywhere, and among all, reconciliation, fraternity, and sharing.
Young people are the hope of mission. The person of Jesus Christ and the Good News he proclaimed continue to attract many young people. The next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held in 2018 on the theme “Young people, the Faith and Vocational Discernment” is an opportunity to involve young people in the shared missionary responsibility that needs their rich imagination and creativity.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary help us to say our “yes,” conscious of the urgent need to make the Good News of Jesus resound in our time and obtain for us renewed zeal to bring everyone the Good News of the life that is victorious over death. We can show genuine concern for those who have not yet embraced Christ and for those whose lives are at risk in dangerous mission areas by our prayers and by our contribution to the support of the Church’s Missions on this World Mission Sunday. (The above article is based on the message of Pope Francis for World Mission Day 2017.)
This is a missionary’s experience as told by a Fr. Gerald. I was walking along the road to Manila. A youth approached me and when a short distance away unsheathed a knife and pointed it at me. “Give me all your money!” he demanded. “Certainly,” I replied, “and I think that you are hungry too. Look, there’s a restaurant here, come and eat and drink what you want.” He was taken aback a little, but he followed me. He ate and drank until he’d had enough and I asked with love about his family. He told me he needed everything: food, clothes. shoes….I promised him that the next day I’d prepare a box of clothing for him and I gave him my address. He left in better spirits.
The next day he arrived, hesitant, ready to run, fearing a trap. He took the parcel and said to me, “My neighbor is as poor as me and needs some help.” I invited him to return the next day to collect some things for his friend. When he did come back, I smiled at him and offered him the new parcel. I was happy because I was giving food and clothing to Jesus in him. He threw himself on to his knees and shaking, exclaimed, “You are a priest, listen to my confession.” I listened and he felt happy. From that time, he, his family, and his friend’s family come to our community meetings.