Renewing Our Commitment To Christ’s Mission
Readings: (1st: Sir 35:12-14.16-19; Ps: 322-3. 17-19; 2nd: 2Tim 4, 6-8.16-19; Gos: Lk 18, 9-14)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today we celebrate World Mission Sunday. This year’s celebration is very significant for a very important reason mentioned by Pope Francis in his message: “This Jubilee year marks the ninetieth anniversary of World Missionary Day, first approved by Pope Pius XI in 1926 and organized by the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith.”
Pope Francis re-echoed a very important instruction: “It is appropriate then to recall the wise instructions of my predecessors who ordered that to this Society be destined all the offerings collected…for the care of Christian communities in need and for supporting the proclamation of the Gospel even to the ends of the earth. Today too, we believe in this sign of missionary ecclesial communion. Let us not close our hearts within our own particular concerns, but let us open them to all of humanity.”
Apart from the “popular collection” for which this Sunday is known, today, the church offers us the opportunity to reflect on His mission of Christ in which we all participate. It is an opportunity for all of us, true disciples, to renew our commitment to that primordial call of God through His Son Jesus Christ, to participate in his mission. That is, to preach the Good News, and to bear effective witness to Christ to the ends of the earth (Mk 16,15).
Most importantly, this Sunday offers us an opportunity to reflect on the grave challenges facing God’s mission today in our world. This is especially, with regards to missions in places like Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, India, Sudan, to mention a few. These missions are under the constant scourge of persecutions and injustices from Islamic jihadists. Today’s readings from the book of Sirac and Luke’s Gospel assure us of God’s justice for the poor, the humble, and of course, the persecuted. God, the just judge, will surely grant justice to our brethren in these difficult missions. The psalmist re-assures us of this today: “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”
Also, we must not forget our brothers and sisters in countries like Haiti, Cuba and many more, who have recently suffered great setbacks as a result of different waves of natural disasters. The Holy Father intercedes once more: “On this World Mission Sunday, all of us are invited to ‘go out’ as missionary disciples, each generously offering their talents, creativity, wisdom and experience in order to bring the message of God’s tenderness and compassion to the entire human family.”
Where then do we come in this Sunday? Prayerfully and materially, we must remain in solidarity with these our brothers and sisters. This is a time to reach out to them passionately and to show them compassion. We are called to rally spiritual and material support for them. They have lost almost everything. However, there is still something that they have not lost. They have not lost their precious gift faith in Christ. In spite of all odds, they have fought, and are still fighting to maintain it at all cost. They need our support to do this!
Finally, this Sunday we must earnestly pray and ask our Lord Jesus Christ, the owner of mission to grant us the strength we need to persevere in His mission. Specially, let us commend all our brethren in extremely difficult missions all over the world into the capable and powerful hands of God. May they find the strength to carry on in spite of all odds. Amen!
Peace be with you all!