We are all Missionaries
The word Mission was used in the 1590s to denote the sending abroad of Jesuits. Hence the latin word missionem from the nominative mission means the act of sending, dispatching, discharge for service. Missio is also a noun of action from past participle stem of mittere “to send”. Our Church right from its inception is a Missionary Church and the word Mission Characterises us. We are all Missionaries. This is not confined to those who join a missionary religious orders. In fact, with our baptism, we are all called to be missionary, to help bring about the Kingdom of God on earth through the circumstances of our own lives.
Pope Francis insists that Mission is a passion for Jesus and at the same time a passion for his people. Also in his message for the 2015 World day of Mission he insists that mission is part of the “grammar” of faith, something essential for those who listen to the voice of the Spirit who whispers “Come” and “Go forth”. Those who follow Christ cannot fail to be missionaries, for they know that Jesus “walks with them, speaks to them, breathes with them. They sense Jesus alive with them in the midst of the missionary enterprise” (quoted from Evangelii Gaudium, 266).
We are all Missionaries. Your mandate remains the same with The Twelve; to evangelize the people and make things better for them, but through various approaches; as medical doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, labourers, priests, etc. We may spread the Gospel through Parish ministries, including teaching children the faith as a catechist, being a Lector at Mass, getting involved in social justice initiatives, or helping people to understand the faith through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Simply living in the spirit of Jesus Christ is a powerful witness to those around us and marks us out as a missionary in the modern world.
The Gospel tells us about the mission of the twelve. They completed the prescribed work and Jesus gave them a vacation time. Jesus presents himself here as the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep and is attentive to their needs. The rest that Jesus gives them shows us that there is a time for work and another to relax. We see also the pastoral care of Jesus who agrees to stop the rest to take care of the crowd. The disciple must be available to share the Word.
Refusing mission is tantamount to allowing the sheep without a shepherd. But we cannot continue riding the willing horse to death. There is no course for laziness, we are all Missionaries and we are all called to evangelise at all moments. Resting time and prayer time are like stopping our cars to put fuel and to service it. This gives us more strength to embark on the never ending work of evangelization.
Jude Thaddeus Langeh, cmf
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