By Fr. Fabien, sx –
Each year, on the third Sunday of October, we celebrate World Mission Sunday to be once more aware of our Christian identity and the gift of faith that we received through the Sacrament of Baptism. Faith is a gift, yet a duty, or much better a responsibility for those who embrace it. The gift of faith becomes a meaningful gift if it is lived, shared, announced and witnessed. Pope Benedict XVI affirms: “Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy” (Porta Fidei 7,12). In the same line, the Blessed John Paul II affirms that “Faith is strengthened when it is given to others” (Redemptoris Mission 2).
A Christian is not an island, and there is no selfishness and sterility in terms of faith. If faith is something vital and existential, if in God “we live, and move, and have our being” (Act 17:28), we have to proclaim Him and make Him known to those who do not have this gift of faith in Him yet. We are in debt to God if we do not proclaim his love for us and for each woman and man.
The theme of this World Mission Sunday is: “Do Good on Earth”. The good we have to do is not a moral obligation; it is not in the line of philanthropy, but we have to do good because God was the first to do it for us, namely for every man and woman. The best that He did for each of us is the gift of life as the expression of his love.
To proclaim the Good news is to proclaim the author, the source, and the origin of this life. To act out of goodness is to generate life, rekindle hope, and share joy. Consequently, faith acquires a new meaning which is life. The invitation for this World Mission Sunday is to generate, to protect, to bring life in the world, and to improve life’s quality for each human being, accordingly, to become generous by giving life.
To generate life is still possible nowadays. Our proclamation is Good news. Our preaching turns into Gospel of life whenever a person becomes aware of the life that was given to him or her and directs all his or her existence to the author of life for the fullness and abundance of life. This is still possible, thanks to the gift of faith received and accepted through the proclamation of the gospel: “So faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ” (Rm 10:17). That is why, many men and women who came to believe continue to consecrate their lives so “that the precious gift of the Gospel may be offered to all”, as affirms the Pope Francis.
The World still needs God, and God is not yet fed up with man and woman despite the evil that has scattered throughout the world and that has been conquering humans’ hearts. However, in many countries and through diverse circumstances, many of our brothers and sisters impelled and moved by faith are still doing good at the point of risking or even losing their lives while proclaiming hope and God’s mercy, healing many hearts’ wounds, announcing that God is still taking care of people, and building bridges of reconciliation and unity among persons and nations, apparently because what is really good for some people seems a menace for others.
On this day of World Mission Sunday, let us renew our commitment and our desire of doing good for and to each brother and sister in any circumstances of our daily life. Let us strive to be God’s channel through which He conveys life. Let us aim to be the heralds of God’s message of life and joy, whenever and wherever God is still needed and unknown.