23RD OCTOBER 2022
Today is Mission Sunday and we are asked to remember our missionaries, priests, religious men and women, and lay men and women, and to support them all by our prayers and by our contributions to the Mission Sunday collection today. Supporting our missionaries in the younger churches in foreign lands by our prayers and our material resources is one of the ways we show ourselves to be missionary.
We are also called to be missionary here at home. To be missionary is in some way to bear witness to our faith. We are being missionary whenever we witness to our faith in our homes, in our parishes, in our places of work and relaxation, in the many social contexts in which we find ourselves. We are called not only to speak of Jesus but to make Jesus visible, to make the Redeemer’s face shine in every corner of the earth, as we bear witness that we have found in Jesus the meaning and truth about life. Proclaiming the gospel, in that sense, belongs to the whole church. We are all called to make Jesus visible, to make the Redeemer’s face shine.
Our faith is something personal to each one of us. Yet, although personal, it is not private, in the sense that we keep it to ourselves. Authentic faith is always a faith that bears witness in one way or another. We need each other’s witness, especially in these difficult days for people of faith.
I was very struck by the words of St. Paul in today’s second reading. You can sense his great disappointment and sadness. Even though he was witnessing courageously to his faith in Christ, a witness that would cost him his life, he declares, ‘the first time I had to present my defence, there was not a single witness to support me. Everyone of them deserted me’. Paul was clearly a person of strong faith. Yet, he desperately wanted and needed the witness of others.
When Jesus sent out his disciples on mission, he always sent them out together. He never sent them out alone. We need each other’s witness. We need each other to be missionary if we, like Paul, are to fight the good fight to the end, if we are to keep the faith.