(Saturday of the Forth Week of Easter; Acts 13:44-52; – John 14:7-14)
The countdown is over … you are on the launching pad and all systems are ‘go’… you are ready to take off … You have been together for the past four weeks … and it’s time to go … to reach out … Euntes in mundum universum … It is Jesus’ command!
The bonding among you has been so good and enjoyable that it is hard to have to say good-bye, but you also know that people, your brothers and sisters, especially those in the margins, are waiting for you in your old or new assignment.
That’s the reality of the Euntes Mission Center and yes … this is another ‘interruption’ in your life that marks the beginning of a new journey … have been both inspired and challenged and you just know this is the time to GO and REACH OUT!
You came here to be a renewed Church and become a new history as I said to you in my homily on orientation day…In the past four weeks, in what can be called your Mount Sinai experience, you have been challenged and inspired to shift paradigms both in your minds and hearts, you developed a new appreciation of your culture and, discovering your migrant condition and experiencing reconciliation, you are ready to accept yourself as ‘God’s Beloved’. This means that, with greater compassion in your hearts, you want to go and break open the Word of God to all who suffer or are afflicted, crossing over all barriers and boundaries, because they are women, children, migrants, IP, refugees, in prison or in hospitals, all of them marginalized in our globalized world …
In the past four weeks you shared life in the prodigality of many blessings…you gifted one another with your life experiences, you shared your joys and pains, the high and low points in your ministry … you rediscovered the original sense of purpose in your call to share in the Missio Dei while opening yourselves to renewal and transformation.
Let us be grateful for all those times you shared, for those who with words and deeds have opened your eyes, your minds and hearts. Each one of you looking at the other can say (as the Song of Thanksgiving goes): You are ever a part of my life; all the good that you have shared will live on in my heart!
I confess that when I saw the number of Priests and Brothers attending the program I was worried … membership seemed ‘clergy heavy’ as they might ‘lord it over’ … I was wrong; they proved to be true ‘companions’ generously empowering the laity and women Religious. Because of this, the lay people in our midst, both single and married, were such a gift to all of us. All the Sisters, especially the OND Novices, with their zest for life, their vibrancy and strong passion for mission have enhanced the joy and liveliness of our community. Let us be grateful.
I thank all the liturgical groups – all of you – for preparing for us, day after day, Eucharistic celebrations that were creative, simple and meaningful.
In today’s First Reading Paul quotes the OT where God had said that Israel was set aside and chosen for a special mission in the world: “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.”
However, we know that Israel slowly forgot that their mission was MISSIO DEI and slowly they had totally turned in on hemselves and refused to change.
This can happen to us as Church if we remove ourselves from where suffering humankind is … if we distance ourselves from the sights of God’s visitation…the margins!
We are called to be the new Paul and Barnabas today… actually reaching out to “outsiders”, people in the margins, and proclaiming to them the good news of the love and compassion of the Father.
Today’s Gospel page remind us that our brothers and sisters, especially those in the margins, are still crying out to each one of us repeating what Philip said to Jesus: “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” We also hear Jesus’ answer:
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
Jesus says that he is in the Father and the Father is in him. The words Jesus speaks are not his words but the words of the Father. The works he does are the works of the Father.
At the end of our course Towards a Renewed Mission in the Church, can we say that we and our mission work are truly a reflection/ a mirror of the love of God, our Father/ Mother?
We are aware that the insights we have received in choosing our personal prodigality … the Good Samaritan…the Good Shepherd … the Emmaus story … the Washing of the feet … the Visitation … the Adulterous Woman … will actually mark and shape our mission disposition and make a difference.
Like Paul and Barnabas and all the disciples in today’s first reading may your going-out from the Euntes community be always filled with joy and the Holy Spirit … After all as you will sing at Communion time (“Mission”) … The message we’re proclaiming is the reign of God’s Kingdom/ The offer of salvation to all of God’s creation.
God bless you and Happy Mission Journey!