Understanding our missionary call

The month of October is recognised in the Catholic Church as World Mission Month, a time when Catholics all over the world join to support and celebrate global missionary work.

Oct 02, 2021

                                   Editor’s Column Sustained by Grace

The month of October is recognised in the Catholic Church as World Mission Month, a time when Catholics all over the world join to support and celebrate global missionary work. The challenge for some of us is to come to the realisation that mission is not just something that is carried out by so called missionaries in other parts of the world. But that mission is about our own country, our own parish, our own BECs and our own family. As baptised Catholics, mission is part of our DNA.

Each one of us – regardless of our state in life, whether priest, religious or laity; married or single; old or young, are called to step up and step out, to make this investment in the mission of the Church, which is the mission of Christ.

Most of us feel inadequate and lost when we are told that we are missionary disciples. Where do we start? What sort of programme must we follow to be equipped?

Pope St John Paul II, in his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (par. 29), tells us that, “the programme already exists: it is the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition. Ultimately, it has its centre in Christ Himself, who is to be known, loved and imitated, so that in Him, we may live the life of the Trinity, and with Him transform history until its fulfilment in the heavenly Jerusalem. (The programme) must be translated into pastoral initiatives adapted to the circumstances of each community. It is in the local churches that the specific features of a detailed pastoral plan can be identified which will then enable the proclamation of Christ to reach the people, mould communities and have a deep and incisive influence in bringing Gospel values to bear in society and culture.”

Maybe the reason why some of us are so reluctant to get involved in any spreading of the faith is that in today’s world, modern society doesn’t seem to value the faith; and there doesn’t seem to be any worldly gain for those who try to spread the Gospel. More likely, we might fear being told to mind our own business.

Understanding what God is saying to us at this time of the pandemic also represents a challenge for the Church’s mission. Illness, suffering, fear and isolation challenge us. The poverty of those who die alone, the abandoned, those who have lost their jobs and income, the homeless and those who lack food challenge us. Under the current restraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, being forced to observe social distancing and to stay at home invites us to rediscover that we need social relationships as well as our communion with God. Far from increasing mistrust and indifference, this situation should make us even more attentive to our way of relating to others, make us experience our human frailty.

In this issue we see the immediate response and assistance given by parishes and communities to those afflicted by the flood in Sabah, the outreach to the migrants and to those in need. In this context, the call to mission, the invitation to step out of ourselves for love of God and neighbour, presents itself as an opportunity for sharing, service, prayer and whatever resources we may have for the benefit of others. The mission that God entrusts to each one of us leads us from fear and introspection to a renewed realisation that we find ourselves precisely when we give ourselves to others.

So, mission is not just a centralised activity of the Church or the exclusive domain of priests and religious. It is in this ‘local churches’ where mission takes its final shape. These local churches are not just the dioceses or parishes but our BECs. It also speaks to you and me right where we are, for if service is a part of mission, then our vocational calling — as manifested in the different careers and jobs we have — is missional. It is not the only part of mission, nor is it the only kind of mission we are called to, but it is certainly mission and our call to mission can be right beneath our feet where we stand and live and work and love.

Total Comments:1

Eddy W.
Indeed missionaries are in dire need. The Church need to show us again how to be great missionaries like the saints and martyrs of the past with unquenchable zeal for the Faith and to save souls.