Reflection for World Mission Sunday

by Fr F. Huwn msfs

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Is 2:1-5; Rom 10:9-18; Mt 28:16-20
“I have no other plan; I am counting on them.”

S.D. Gordon has a beautiful story about the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. When the grand welcome ceremony was over, the Archangel Gabriel approached Jesus to resolve his doubts. He said, “I know that only very few in Palestine are aware of the great work of human salvation You have accomplished through Your suffering, death and Resurrection. But the whole world should know and appreciate it and become Your disciples, acknowledging You as their Lord and Saviour. What is Your plan of action?”  Jesus answered, “I have told all My Apostles to tell other people about Me and preach My Message through their lives. That’s all.” “Suppose they don’t do that?” Gabriel asked. “What’s your Plan B?” Jesus replied, “I have no other plan; I am counting on them.” On this World Mission Sunday, the Church reminds us that Jesus is counting on each one of us to make Him known loved and accepted by others around us.

How should we preach? 
Mahatma Gandhi used to say:   “My life is my message.”  He often challenged the Christian missionaries to observe the “apostolate of the rose.”  A rose doesn’t preach. It simply radiates its fragrance and attracts everyone to it by its irresistible beauty.   Hence, the most important thing is not the Gospel we preach, but the life we live.  This is how the early Christians evangelized.   Their Gentile neighbours used to say:  “See how these Christians love one another!” The Christ they recognized and accepted was the Christ who lived in each Christian. Why are we loosing sheep in the church? Why the non-Catholics viewed us boring and ritualistic congregations? Why are we bothered by people not joining the sodalities? Why are we complaining faithful not responding to the sodalities? The answer lies in the question, “Have we make our faith practice radiates its fragrance and catch the attention of the viewers? If only we live a true Christian, our witnessing and preaching would be loudest.

Watch and Pray
Prayer is the second means of missionary work.  Jesus said: “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15: 5). The Lord in his agony at the garden urged Peter and his companions to watch and pray with him (Mk 14:34). Three times the Lord comes back and found them asleep. Peter was not worried about the sufferings of the Lord. The first step Peter fell before the Lord is ‘Neglect to Prayer.’

Neglect to Prayer leads to the Substitution of Action for prayer
Peter hack off the ear of the high priest’s servant (My 26:51) to prove his loyalty to the Lord. He gave up prayer and now he is an activist. ‘Activism is too often purchased at the cost of the Neglect to Prayer,’ stated Ven. Bishop Fulton Sheen. We know we should pray and very often we fail to do so. So we began to be extra active about many things that give us an excuse for not praying. We could display our Catholicism by involving in the Church: leaders of the parish, affiliated to sodalities, associations and so forth. We display our dedication and commitment, running to and from for the work of the church. Have we neglected our Prayer, the weapon that shield us from the trials and temptations (Mk 14:38)? Or, are we an activist like Peter? Just as Peter failed the Lord by neglecting prayer so too are we. Prayer is necessary for everyone who preaches the Good News in his life. Without Prayer, our efforts will be fruitless.

“You shall help to Provide to the Needs of the Church.”
All missionary efforts also require financial support because the love of God can often be explained to the poor only by providing them with food and means of livelihood.  The sick can experience the healing power of Jesus only through the dedicated service of doctors, nurses, and health care workers.   Hospitals and nursing homes require funding. The Lord taught us, “Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength (Lk 10:27). This commandment calls us to serve God with all that we have: time, talents, and wealth. It is obligatory that everyone plays his/her part, as it is articulated by the 5 th precept of the Church:

“You shall help to Provide to the Needs of the Church.”

This means the faithful are obliged to assist the material needs of the church, each according to his/her ability” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2043). Hence, on this Mission Sunday, let us learn to appreciate our missionary obligation and support the Church’s missionary activities by leading transparent Christian lives, by fervent prayers, and by generous donations. Jesus still continue to say, ‘ I have no other plan; I am counting on them’. Our blessed Lord counts on us for his mission. We are Baptised and Sent by Him.