Fr Bernard Espiritu
2 October 2012
Mission Sunday is primarily a celebration of our faith; it is an affirmation of who we are.
By virtue of our baptism we have become members of the Body of Christ, and by virtue of our Confirmation we have been confided with a mission to ‘radiate the Word of Truth’.
Christians are people who continue to realise the mission of Jesus, which is to help bring to completion the fullness of his Salvation. This may sound too good, but it’s true.
I have gone twice to a small group reflection these past weeks. The group has been reflecting on the parts of the Mass.
At one point, I asked them why the bread and the wine are processed from the back of the church to the altar. The answers were varied but no one mentioned that those were symbols of the human work that each of the faithful present had done over the week.
Every piece of bread (host) and every drop of wine presented is all about what each of those present had done in one’s life. But the more beautiful truth is yet to come when the priest receives the gifts and prepares them for the great moment of the Eucharistic Prayer.
I imaged to them that at that moment Jesus steps in to borrow the same bread and wine and transform them to his body and blood. Jesus ‘borrows’ our lives and ‘transforms’ and ‘consecrates’ them into his presence that our offering through him, with him and in him and in the unity with the Spirit is accepted by the Father. This also is too good to be true.
Truly, World Mission Sunday on October 21 is the celebration of the Christian faithful who have been baptised, confirmed and made part of the Body of Christ to help continue and realise Jesus’ salvific mission.
This celebration is not meant to be a navel gazing, but a celebration that can enable others to live and not just exist.
Pay It Forward is a 2000 American drama film about a boy who attempted to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance. He discovered that there are people who do good acts not to receive back favours, but prefers that the favoured one could pass similar goodness to others.
We need not pay back, we need to pay forward. Jesus’ mission is simple but truly profound: ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10).
This is what Mission Sunday truly means. His mission is our mission. It is paying forward, passing on some of the goodness we have received that others may have life. It may be in the form of time, talent or treasure.
Financial gifts for the missions surely help uplift people’s capacity to help themselves. But it’s not all about money. And when we realise this, we can make real that prayer-theme of Mission Sunday 2012 in New Zealand: ‘Give me the Joy of Your Salvation’ (Ps 51:12).
Image: A thank you picture from Bishop Chris Cardone, OP, Bishop of Auki in the Solomon Islands. The schoolchildren of Dala Village have received financial help from the Catholics of New Zealand through Missionz. They are grateful because others care for them also.