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.