THE CHURCH, IN response to the call of Pope Francis, is observing the Extraordinary Missionary Month in October with the goal of fostering an increased awareness of our baptismal call to be
On October 20, the third Sunday of the month, the universal Church also celebrates the Mission Sunday. As described by Pope John Paul II, World Mission Sunday is “an important day in the life of the Church because it teaches how to give: as an offering made to God, in the Eucharistic celebration and for all the missions of the world.”
People from many parishes in Hong Kong expressed disappointment when the diocese had to call off of its Mission Sunday activities due to the ongoing social unrest in the city. Yet many parishes have taken up special initiatives to recall the missionary vocation and inspire people to get involved in proclaiming the gospel.
Numerous parishes and educational institutes have initiated the Give a Gospel Campaign. This project encourages people to make a gift of the book of the gospels to as many non-Christian friends as possible in these coming months. Some may argue that giving a meal instead a book of the gospels would quench the hunger of the needy. However a meal is no substitute for the word of God!
There is a misconception among the Christians about being a missionary. Can one be a Christian, but not a missionary? This is a fundamental to the identity of every Christian. When one agrees to be identified as a Christian, one agrees to believe in the one who demands his disciples to “go to the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”
God calls the entire Church to the evangelising mission. This call is to reach out to those who have not yet encountered Christ and his gospel. This vocation also means reaching out to those who already believe, but need of the consoling voice, compassionate touch and reviving accompaniment that Christ provides. Therefore, it is the sacred mission of every Christian to be the voice of Christ, as in a channel for Christ.
In 2018, Pope Francis expressed very powerfully what true evangelisation should be: “We are not selling a product. We have a life to communicate: God, his divine life, his merciful love, his holiness! It is the Holy Spirit who sends us, accompanies us and inspires us. He is the source of our mission. It is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church forward, not us.”
We have spoken of what at Christian ought to be or should be, but the truth is that many do not have this missionary zeal and do not feel any drive to share their Catholic faith with others around them or to witness to Christ to young people.
For many, mission is something that is the task of bishops, priests, deacons and religious. Having their children baptised and seeing them receive their sacraments of initiation —First Communion and Confirmation, seems more than enough.
St. Paul realised his Christian responsibility and said, “Woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel.” jose