Today is World Mission Sunday. It is called that because it is celebrated throughout the world, and because the mission of the Church is to the whole world: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15) This year’s theme is, “Mission at the Heart of the Christian Faith.” The papal message for this year’s World Mission Sunday was issued by Pope Francis on June 4. He begins his reflection saying:
The Church is missionary by nature; otherwise, she would no longer be the Church of Christ, but one group among many others that soon end up serving their purpose and passing away. So it is important to ask ourselves certain questions about our Christian identity and our responsibility as believers in a world marked by confusion, disappointment and frustration, and torn by numerous fratricidal wars that unjustly target the innocent. What is the basis of our mission? What is the heart of our mission? What are the essential approaches we need to take in carrying out our mission?
He proposes this answer:
The Church’s mission, directed to all men and women of good will, is based on the transformative power of the Gospel. The Gospel is Good News filled with contagious joy, for it contains and offers new life: the life of the Risen Christ who, by bestowing his life-giving Spirit, becomes for us the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. John 14:6). He is the Way who invites us to follow him with confidence and courage. In following Jesus as our Way, we experience Truth and receive his Life, which is fullness of communion with God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. That life sets us free from every kind of selfishness, and is a source of creativity in love.
In today’s First Reading God makes known his desire “that toward the rising and the setting of the sun people may know that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, there is no other.” To this our Responsorial Psalm fittingly replies: “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.” Saint Paul himself, in today’s Second Reading, reminds us that evangelization is not simply a matter of pedagogy. “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.” The grace of God is at work in both preachers and hearers, and its fruit is faith.
Although not all of us can be missionaries, all of us can be missionary, i.e., mission-minded, through our prayers and financial support of missionaries. Please use the envelopes found in your envelope packets or in the pews to make a gift in support of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. In concluding his message, Pope Francis states:
Dear brothers and sisters, in carrying out our mission, let us draw inspiration from Mary, Mother of Evangelization. Moved by the Spirit, she welcomed the Word of life in the depths of her humble faith. May the Virgin Mother help us to say our own “yes”, conscious of the urgent need to make the Good News of Jesus resound in our time. May she obtain for us renewed zeal in bringing to everyone the Good News of the life that is victorious over death. May she intercede for us so that we can acquire the holy audacity needed to discover new ways to bring the gift of salvation to every man and woman.
Next weekend Monsignor Joseph Hirsch will be here to make an appeal for the support of Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II, our diocesan orphanage near Lima, Peru; and a second collection for that appeal will be taken up the weekend after that. This is our mission coop appeal for this year and we were assigned that weekend because of Monsignor Hirsch’s schedule. Then there is still the Diocesan Annual Appeal. I regret that all these appeals are coming one after the other, but that will be all until the Retirement Fund for Religious Appeal in December.
This weekend I am away attending the annual meeting of the North Central Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Jerry and Mary Kuehl of St. Charles Parish are currently the leaders of this group in our diocese. Our purpose is to support the Christians and Christian shrines in the Holy Land, both financially and spiritually. Besides celebrating the promotion of members and the investiture of new members, we will hear reports and updates on the situation of Christians in the Holy Land and the projects and institutions supported by the Order’s contributions.
Continue to pray the rosary this week for the needs of the victims of recent natural disasters and acts of violence. Pray for good weather for the fall harvest and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.