Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This Sunday, the penultimate Sunday in October, we celebrate the ‘World Mission Sunday.’ The theme selected for this year’s Mission Sunday is: “We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). In his message for the occasion, Pope Francis makes the meaning of this theme clear to us. What is this compulsion within our hearts? When we recognize God’s fatherly love in our personal and community lives, it becomes an urge within us to share this love with our brothers and sisters, just as the apostles and the first Christians did. We thank God that they did not yield to the temptation of making themselves an elite group, but had the courage to go out to the four corners of the world to proclaim Christ crucified and risen. If it was not for their evangelizing mission, we would not be here today as Christians.
The Church has always been missionary and has as its mission, the duty to evangelize. If the Church deviates from this path, our faith will grow weak, our prophetic power will lose its power and we will grow isolated and withdraw into our own small little groups. The World Mission Sunday this year, as we are still in the midst of pandemic, asks of us very deep questions that challenges us. Pope Francis tells us how there is a temptation to disguise and justify indifference and apathy in the name of healthy social distancing. But it is in such a situation that there is an urgent need, on the part of us Christians, for the mission of compassion, which can make that necessary distancing an opportunity for encounter, care and promotion.
The call to mission, is not a thing of the past, a romantic leftover from earlier times. We remember gratefully those missionaries who leave their homes and families to bring the Gospel to those people still thirsting for God’s Word. It may not be possible for us to leave our families and go to distant lands as missionaries. But today, too, Jesus needs hearts capable of experiencing vocation as a true love story that urges them to go forth to the peripheries of our world as His messengers. Accepting the call of the Lord, may we too become missionaries, especially in these times of pandemic, by growing in our daily efforts to widen our circle and reach out to others in love and compassion!
United in praying for all the missionaries,
Fr. Joy Jacob, SDB