Cast out into the deep: missionary reflections (2003 – 2010)
Fr. Sergio Fossati, PIME
I was so proud of my refurbished and newly painted boat. The “Stella Maris” – Star of the Sea – was ready on the shore of Sibuco, waiting to be blessed and launched. We still had to mount the small engine onboard, with the shaft and the propeller. A Muslim friend, an expert with boats because he was a former pirate, modified the propeller in order to have a better thrust. But how can you trust a pirate? As a matter of fact, he did a terrific job. Finally, we mounted the engine. The moment the small engine came to life, the propeller started turning and you could see the shining blades rotating. But when we revved up the engine, the propeller turned so fast that …it became invisible.
A simple thought came to my mind, observing a very obvious occurrence. The propeller’s thrusting power is released only when the propeller itself becomes invisible During his life on earth, Jesus was seen and known only by relatively few people. He did perform miracles and marvelous things, but it is hard to say that he made a difference in a region already torn by political and social unrest. His name is never mentioned in any official document of that time.
But after Pentecost, a tremendous power was released! The disciples experienced such a courage and determination that, in few years, communities of believers were born all over the known world.
Jesus had to disappear in order to release the power of the Kingdom – like the grain of wheat that disappears in order to produce much fruit (John 12:24). The Lord is still invisible to us, but we experience his presence through the Holy Spirit. Despite continuing persecutions – now even in countries considered “old time Christian” – the Spirit strengthening the hearts of those who believe in Christ. The Spirit urges us to keep going and to believe that the invisible power of the Risen Lord is steadfastly leading the Church toward the Kingdom of God.