Every Christian is a missionary

Published October 24, 2021, 12:08 AM

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

WORD ALIVE

FR. BEL SAN LUIS, SVD

One Sunday morning after saying Mass at the Sacred Heart Church in Kamuning, Quezon City run by our SVD confreres, a couple approached me with their baby, cuddled by the wife. “Father, we’re from this parish,” they greeted. 

“We’re lay missionaries working in Papua New Guinea and we’re presently on vacation.” Then they related their mission work. 

                      * * *                  

I found it extraordinary and very edifying that a Filipino lay couple could make the sacrifice of leaving a comfortable life 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. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” (Mk 16:15).

                            * * *                  

Many have the misconception that spreading God’s Word belongs to religious and lay missionaries only. The truth is: every Christian, by virtue of baptism, is a missionary. 

                                       * * *

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 unemployed. What counts is not geography or place, but the spirit or motive that impels a baptized Christian to follow the mandate 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 immortal souls by offering every little act, like picking up trash, every bodily pain of sickness, and fervent praying.

                      * * *                  

When I was ordained priest in our missionary congregation, Society of the Divine  Word (SVD), I applied to work in  Mexico, Central America. Unfortunately I did not get my wish. The farthest I’ve gone to is Mexico…Pampanga! 

* * *

That doesn’t mean, however, that I am not a genuine missionary. By my work in the media or supporting seminarians under the “Adopt A Seminarian” scholarship program, I am a missionary. 

In this connection, let’s not be missionaries only on Mission Sunday. As a good Christian, the mission spirit should be a daily, continuing attitude and action like what St. Therese of the Child Jesus did.

* * *

Also, you can be missionaries by means of extending financial assistance for the support of missionaries. 

Money is a necessity in the work of evangelization. Churches, schools, convents, clinics, social centers are needed, especially in far-flung bush mission.

* * *

Ask yourself. Am I contributing something for the mission the Lord commanded me to do through the three Ts –Time, Treasure, Talents? 

When you meet the Lord in the next life, can you say: “Lord, I did my share in spreading your teachings and following your mandate”? And the Lord will answer: “Come good and faithful servant. Come and possess the kingdom prepared for you from the very beginning.”

* * *

The lighter side. A parish priest was making an impassioned appeal to the parish council for the annual mission collection.

Great was everybody’s surprise when the wealthiest but tight-fisted member of the council rose and offered to start 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 was heard, “Hit him again, Lord.” (It’s not  known if he was hit again!).

* * *

Isn’t it strange… how a P20 bill seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but it’s such a small amount when you go shopping?

    * * *

Support future missionaries. Be a missionary by supporting seminarians become priests and missionaries. Chip in amount or sponsor the scholarship of seminarians good for one school year.

For inquiry, e-mail me at: [email protected]. 

 
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