By FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVDSome years ago, one Sunday morning after saying Mass at the Sacred Heart Church in Kamuning, Quezon City, a couple approached me and warmly greeted:” Father, we’re from this parish. We’re lay missionaries working in Papua New Guinea and we’re on vacation.” Then they related their interesting mission work.
* * *I found it extraordinary and highly edifying that a Filipino lay couple could make the sacrifice of leaving their comfortable home and country to devote some years in the “bush mission.”
Nowadays, some renewal communities like the Couples for Christ and Lord’s Flock have been sending their lay members to foreign countries where Christ is not yet or little known.
* * *Today is WORLD MISSION SUNDAY. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus Christ said: “Go out into the whole world and proclaim the Good News to every nation” (Mk 16,15).
* * *Many have the misconception that spreading God’s Word belongs only to religious missionaries. The truth is: every Christian, by virtue of baptism, IS a missionary and the example of that missionary couple proves this.
* * *Not all, however, can emulate what the couple had been doing. For most Christians, they can be missionaries at home, whether they’re a teacher, nurse, executive, lawyer or ordinary housewife. What counts is not geography, but the inner spirit or motive that propels a person to follow the words of Christ.
* * *Remember St. Therese of the Child Jesus? She never stepped out of the four walls of her Carmelite cloister but was chosen as the universal Patroness of Catholic Missions. She merited the title because of her obsession to save souls by offering every little act, every bodily pain for the conversion of immortal souls.
* * *How can we be missionaries at home? Like St. Therese, we can offer prayers and sacrifices for the missions.
Then we can share our financial resources.Money is necessaryfor evangelization to succeed. Missionaries, lay workers, catechists are housed, fed, clothed, transported. Churches, schools, convents, social centers are built in underdeveloped and far-flung“bush” missions.
* * *One of the most difficult things to do is to part off with one’s money. Reminds me of a parish priest who was making an impassioned appeal to the parish council for the annual mission collection.
Great was everybody’s surprise when the wealthiest, but miserly member of the council rose and started the collection rolling with a contribution of P500.
* * *As he stood up to hand in the amount, a mild earthquake took place and some plaster from the ceiling fell and hit him on the head.
A bit shaken, he withdrew the amount and said, “I guess I’d better make that P5,000.” A small voice from the back of the hall was heard, “Hit him again, Lord.” (It’s not known if he added some more).
* * *TESTIMONY OF CHRISTIAN LIVING. In our modern world, another way of evengelization is by giving testimony of Christian living through good works and inspiring examples.
* * *For instance, we witness to Jesus by our patience when others annoy us, by our forgiveness when others wrong us, by our fidelity in an environment of unfaithful couples, by honesty in our workplaces when others are dishonest.
* * *ASK YOURSELF: Am I contributing something to help the mission work of Christ in the world? Do I pray for more zealous, dedicated missionary vocations?
When I meet the Lord in the next life, can I say: “Lord, I did my share in spreading your teachings and saving souls around me”?
* * *SUPPORT FUTURE MISSIONARIES. In the spirit of World Mission Sunday, how about chipping in or making a monthly pledge for the scholarship of seminarians or future priests under our Adopt a Seminarian scholarship program?
* * *REMEMBER: Without seminarians, we cannot have priests and missionaries simply because they all start as seminarians. Hence, let’s support our seminarians.
For inquiry, e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.