Mission is Service and Sacrifice
Readings: 1st: Sir 35:12-14.16-19; Ps: 32; 2nd: 2Tim 4:6-8.16-19; Gos: Lk 18:9-14
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at:
Today is World Mission Sunday. The Church invites us to reflect on our personal response, to Christ’s mission. It is a special day to revitalize our faith and to rededicate ourselves to Christ’s mission. It is also, a day to show special solidarity to all true missionaries who have responded to Christ’s mandate: “Go, make disciples of all nations.”
The theme for the 2022 world mission Sunday is “You shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). As always, World Mission Sunday reminds us that the Church is missionary by nature.
This year’s World Mission Day offers us the opportunity to commemorate several important events in the Church’s life and mission: the fourth centenary of the founding of the Congregation de Propaganda Fide, now the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and the second centenary of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith. A hundred years ago, the latter, together with the Society of the Holy Childhood and the Society of Saint Peter the Apostle, was granted the title “Pontifical”.
Today, Pope Francis tells us, “Dear brothers and sisters, I continue to dream of a completely missionary Church, and a new era of missionary activity among Christian communities. I repeat Moses’ great desire for the people of God on their journey: “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets!” (Num 11:29). Indeed, would that all of us in the Church were what we already are by virtue of baptism: prophets, witnesses, missionaries of the Lord, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the ends of the earth!” (Pope Francis’ message for World Mission Sunday 2022).
In today’s second reading, Paul, having carried out his mission confidently awaits good judgment from the Just Judge. He boldly asserts himself: “I have fought the good fight to the end, I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me.”
There is only one thing that can give one such confidence. This is a life well-lived in humility and the fear of God. If we are already living our mission, we must not stop. Instead, we must struggle to the end and the finish line. When Paul was yet to accomplish his mission and race, he wrote, “I do not claim that I have already arrived. I move on towards the goal to win the prize” (Phil 3:12-14). Now, he rejoices because he has accomplished his mission.
Mission is indeed service and sacrifice rendered in love for the salvation of all nations. This love comes with patience and docility to the will of God. It begins by transforming the missionary into a great instrument for the salvation of others. So, today Christ teaches us that to be great is to be ready to serve and to make sacrifices for others.
As we celebrate Mission Sunday today, the voice of salvation continues to call us to be more faithful to God’s mission both in us and in others. It reminds us of the great challenges before us today in God’s mission. This includes our changing cultures, societies, and lifestyle that must be urgently evangelized and redeemed.
The good news is that we can overcome these challenges through the spirit of sacrifice and love. This is because love is always on the move, and inspires us to share a wonderful and hope-filled message as “witnesses of Christ to the ends of the earth” (Act 1:8).
Happy Mission Sunday!
Peace be with you all!