Challenges of being a Missionary

10-18-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. Arul Doss

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom 10:14-15). With these beautiful words of Saint Paul, I begin this reflection on this 29th Sunday, which is celebrated as World Mission Sunday.

On this great day, the Church, while rejoicing at the progress made so far, yet reminds us that much still needs to be done. All the members of the Church are called to participate in this mission, for the Church is missionary by her very nature: she was born ‘to go forth’. World Mission Day is a privileged moment when the faithful of various continents engage in prayer and concrete gestures of solidarity in support of the young Churches in mission lands.

In today’s first reading, God makes clear his choice of Israel. In a most surprising way too, he makes known his choice of a foreign king whom Isaiah referred to as “his anointed” instrument. His choice of this “Pagan king” as his anointed was for a purpose, to make known his name among other nations and for the sake of Israel. Therefore, like both King Cyrus and Israel, God has chosen us with the good news: “that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that, apart from me, all is nothing.” This is a call to all of us God’s people to go and make him known to the ends of the earth.

In the second reading of today, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy continue to remember and pray now for the church of Thessalonica. They have preached the good news there, but they know that only prayer can sustain their labor. They know the importance of prayer in mission and so we must equally learn to pray for missionaries as the Holy Father Francis reminds us today.

In the today’s gospel having preached the good news in word, power, Holy Spirit, conviction and confidence, the Pharisees were looking for ways to rubbish Jesus’ message and discredit him. This gospel presents one very important fact and reality that a missionary might face and contented with. In as much as we bring and preach the good news, detractors and difficulties abound. However, the fact remains that the Holy Spirit, the principal agent of mission and Jesus whose good news we bear, will not allow us to be put to shame because they have jointly promised us thus: "But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” (Luke 21:14-15). It is important to note that as a missionary we must be wiser than the “sons of this world.” We must also be vast in wisdom, knowledge and understanding of the spiritual, physical, political, cultural, economic and social situations around us. Had Christ been completely ignorant of the politics of his time (between the Romans and Jews), and of course the rule of government, am sure he would have been taken in by the tricks of the Pharisees.

He was able to distinguish between democracy and autocracy. It is also very important to note here that the state, or government, and God are not opposed to each other. As members of the state, we must fulfill our obligation to it, by paying our taxes for the good of the state, while at the same time not compromising our allegiance to God the owner and creator of all things including the state. Finally, I will like to close this reflection by reminding us that the joy of being a missionary does not actually come from how much material gifts one receives, but from how much lives he is able to touch, how much joy he able to bring to others and how much love he is able to communicate. So, let us try to proclaim Jesus’ Gospel through our words and deeds.

Have a Happy and Blessed Sunday!!