by Fr Francis Onyango IMC
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B
Psalm 128:1-6 (R. cf. 5)
THEME: Family as the First Mission Land
October is traditionally considered a mission month; a month where we are called to focus on a more particular way in the mission of Christ. The call to share in the mission of Christ is not just a preserve for a select few and not merely for priests and religious men and women but a call for every baptised Christian. When the Lord calls, he calls with a purpose; he calls in order to send. Thus our vocation to share in the mission of Christ begins with the word ‘Come’ (come follow me) and ends with the word ‘Go’ (go and announce the gospel). One cannot come unless one wants to go and one cannot go unless one has come.
This Sunday, both our first reading and the gospel talk about marriage and family life and strongly call us to uphold the sanctity of marriage. Both readings show us that marriage is a gift and an act of God that must be cherished and protected. Our mission therefore, begins in the family. It is in the family where we first learn the basic principles of life; principles of love, forgiveness, sacrifice, perseverance, friendship, commitment, sincerity and relationship. Thus, family becomes for us the first mission land where to plant the basic principles of life.
Mission needs companionship, it needs support and that’s why even the Lord himself had to choose a group of twelve to help him in his ministry. In our first reading today, the Lord God said, ‘it is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a helper.’ Are you as a family working as a team or working against each other? Be a team because that’s why you were brought together for companionship! To build a family you need to sacrifice and let go of certain things that you love for the sake of the other person; that’s why a man leaves his father and mother to cleave to his wife. Similarly, a Christian who wants to participate in the mission of Christ must sacrifice certain things in order to do something for the Lord.
In the gospel Jesus speaks about the indissolubility of marriage. Healthy families would give rise to healthy Christians. Our major challenge in the world today is that most of our families are broken and this has left us with a very broken society. How can I as an individual contribute towards the rebuilding of the family fabric? During this mission month begin by ministering to your family first before going to minister to others. For example, it doesn’t make sense to go and teach other people’s children catechism when you have children and grandchildren in your own house who are not even baptised and who never even go to church. Charity they say begins at home. For a fruitful mission month, let us support more the mission of Christ; this we can do by supporting our parishes more, supporting our priests, praying for them and their ministry; offering our time to help in the work of evangelization and joining hands to work towards the unity of God’s people. When we sincerely take part in the mission of Christ then as the letter to the Hebrews say in the second reading; ‘The Lord will not be ashamed to call us brethren.’ May the Lord bless us all the days our lives. Amen.