St. Therese of Lisieux, also called St. Teresa of the Child Jesus or the Little Flower, is the patron saint of missionaries. She was a spiritual master of the contemplative life, and she considered her call and the call of her fellow sisters to be the spiritual mother of the missions and missionaries. St. Therese didn’t go out to mission journey, but in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, she reflects on the new freedom of a new joy she will enjoy in heaven. She writes, “There will be no longer any cloister and grilles and my soul will be able to fly with you into distant lands.”
Some give to the missions by going. Some go by giving. Mission Sunday is the day to reach out beyond the needs of the local Parish and diocese to assist missionaries as they ‘go and tell’ in the young churches. The Church is a missionary church, and at baptism, each one of us becomes a missionary of the Church. Missionary work is a different aspect and level in our life, like our family, parish, in our community and around the world. Pope Francis in his World Mission Sunday Message writes, “The Church, by proclaiming what she freely received (cf. Mt 10:8; Acts 3:6), can share with you young people the way and truth which gives meaning to our life on this earth. Jesus Christ, who died and rose for us, appeals to our freedom and challenges us to seek, discover, and proclaim this message of truth and fulfilment.”
The Church, according to Vatican Council II, is "missionary" in her very nature because her founder, Jesus Christ, was the first missionary. God the Father sent God the Son into the world with a message of God’s love and salvation. Thus, the evangelizing mission of the Church is essentially the announcement of God's love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation as these are revealed to mankind through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Bishop James Powers invites us to celebrate Mission Sunday “as special moment to live out the mission we share as God’s children, the mission to bring the Gospel to the whole world.” He continues, “I encourage you to be a “voice for mission” through your prayers and through the help that you are able to give…”
This weekend’s Gospel, James and John, came to Jesus. What did they ask? They asked, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." What was their real desire, they want intimacy with Christ. The first reading from book of Isaiah about the “Suffering Servant” connect with gospel teaching on humility. Jesus is going to accomplish his mission by suffering, dying, and rising. The concluding words of Jesus in today’s gospel define his mission, “Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Let us make visible Jesus Christ in and through our own daily life and support missionaries around the World.
October: Month of Rosary and Respect Life!
St. Francis of Assisi is celebrating their patron Saint Francis’s feast day. He had a great love God’s creatures. I love taking the pictures, especially in fall. I call it “paintings from God.” Look at God’s creation, it is wonderful.
The month of October is Respect Life month. The Respect Life Program begins anew each year on the first Sunday in October. This year the theme is “Every Life: Cherished, Chosen, Sent.” Respect the dignity of life without any discrimination: ability or disAbility; strength or weakness. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Chairman of Pro-Life Activities, in his words, “We are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between.”
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five- and six-year olds. After explaining the commandment "Honor thy father and thy mother," she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat, one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill." This is the main message for “Respect for Life Sunday.” Be a voice for voiceless. We are masterpiece of God’s creation. Based on the word of God, the Church teaches that an unborn child from the moment of its conception in its mother’s womb is precious because it carries an immortal soul. The Bible teaches that life is a gift of God and hence we have to respect it from womb to tomb.
A couple of years ago, I read Pope Francis’ message, and he conveyed that “even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.”
The month of October is the month of the Rosary. The rosary is a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the rosary we walk through the life of Jesus. On October 7, we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Pope Leo XIII officially dedicated the month of October to the Holy Rosary. We use Rosary beads to pray, and other religions also use beads to pray. There is a scientific reason for using beads: sometimes we will say I don’t have to use Rosary beads to pray Rosary, it is old fashioned. When we use Rosary beads to pray the Rosary, it stimulates the nerves of our fingers and helps us concentrate. In the month of October we will be reciting the Rosary before the weekend Masses. Please come early and join for Rosary every weekend during October and at Immaculate Conception on Saturday, October 13 at noon for a Rosary rally.
This year, our cluster will be praying for and bringing the message of respect life in a couple of dimensions. On the first weekend, we pray for unborn life: aborted babies, babies lost through miscarriage, and so on. The second weekend, we celebrate Inclusion Awareness Sunday: pray about our own abilities and disabilities. At the same time, it is an opportunity to invite people with disabilities to actively participate in our parish community. On October 19, at 10:00am at St. Anthony’s we celebrate a Healing Mass, joining with elderly and sick to receive Sacrament of Anointing. During the third week, we celebrate Mission Sunday: praying for missionaries. On the fourth Sunday we will be praying for people affected by domestic violence and human trafficking.
Respect Life month invites us to reflect on the dignity of life and evaluate how we respect one another’s lives. Let us make a promise to pray Rosary this month and pray for peace, human life, and family.