Homily for October 23, World Mission Sunday – XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time year A


Homily for October 23, World Mission Sunday – XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time year A

Today, World Mission Sunday, is an opportunity for us to reflect on our part in the missionary role of the Church. The Church has been involved in missionary work right from the very beginning, because the need to bring the spiritual gift of the Gospel to people and to help them in their material needs is an essential part of the Lord’s message.

The command to help other people materially goes back to the Old Testament, and is reflected in the first reading today. However, the Jews did not go out seeking to bring other people to believe in God. They were defined as the Chosen People not just by their faith, but also by their ancestry, as descendants of Abraham. They did not turn converts away, but they didn’t seek them out either. Jesus, however, opened salvation to all people, and instructed his apostles to bring the Good News of salvation to the ends of the earth.

With this new perspective, missionary work is a natural consequence of our love for God and neighbor, which Jesus describes in the Gospel as the essence of the Law and the prophets. Once we have received the gift of faith and salvation, with the peace and hope it brings, it is logical to want to share it with others. The second reading shows this in action; St. Paul recounts how he brought the faith to the Thessalonians, and they in turn shared the faith with people far and wide.

The spiritual and material assistance involved in mission work go hand in hand; as a Church, we care for the whole person, body and spirit. We see that missionary spirit alive in our own community. A group of our parishioners is on the mission to Cevicos in the Dominican Republic right now, and those who cannot go themselves have shown their generosity in the very successful collection we had last week.

We can also participate in the missionary action of the Church through our prayers. St. Therese of Lisieux is a great example of this. Even though she never left her convent in France, she was a “spiritual sister” for two missionary priests, supporting them through her letters and prayers, and she had great missionary zeal for all people to know Christ. As a result, she is one of the patrons of all missions, together with St. Francis Xavier.

We can also do a great deal of missionary work by the way we live our faith. We are surrounded by good people who do not know Christ, or who know Him only superficially. When we let the peace, joy and hope that our faith brings transform our lives, and when we strive to live Christian love generously, people take notice. Many converts have come to the Church because their lives have been touched by the goodness of Catholic men and women who live Christ’s teachings in their ordinary daily lives.

As I have mentioned on other occasions, I have had the opportunity to be directly involved in missionary work myself. I went to Guatemala as the chaplain for medical missions five times, and it was a powerful experience. The group of missionaries included doctors and nurses, as well as some translators, and volunteers to help with logistics. We set up a clinic at a local parish and offered free basic medical care and some operations at the regional hospital, as well as going door-to-door to invite people to come to the Holy Week liturgies at the church.

In some cases, the doctors were able to save lives, but more often they could only offer temporary relief to chronic illnesses, and education on how to avoid the causes of disease. The dentists probably pulled more teeth in the days we were there than they did in months at their clinics back at home. Yet, what seemed to matter most to people was the fact that we shared our faith and our love with them. The pastor of the parish, who was a German missionary priest, told us that our presence helped to invigorate the life of the parish and give the people hope and strength.

So, thank you for your support for the missions. May God help each of us to remember that we are all called to be missionaries in one way or another, at home or abroad. Let us join our prayers to those of St. Therese, patroness of the missions, interceding for our missionaries in Cevicos and for missionaries throughout the world, that God will give them courage, strength, patience, and ever-greater love. Through our collaboration with the Holy Spirit, may all nations come to know, love, and serve the one true God, and to love each other as sisters and brothers in Christ.

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About Matthew Green

I am a translator, origami artist/teacher, and photographer, a blogger, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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One Response to Homily for October 23, World Mission Sunday – XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time year A

  1. Andrew Baguma says:

    Thank you for the good work. God bless you.

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