Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mission Sunday

Today is Mission Sunday, the day when churches throughout the world recall the call to be missionaries, to be witnesses of the Good News of Jesus to the world.

The past ten days I’ve been in the US doing my missionary work there – instead of in Honduras. I've been in Ames, connecting with people from the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas. It's been a little strange since the church is being repaired after a fire and so Mass is in an auditorium on the university campus.

St. Thomas Mass in the Scheman Center at Iowa State University

Last Wednesday I was part of the Parish Formation Night in St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Ames, Iowa. I shared with two groups of young people what mission is.

I recalled that early in my time in Honduras, Sor Inez, a Spanish Franciscan sister, introduced me at the church of San Martín de Porres, up the hill from where I live in Santa Rosa de Copán.

I introduced myself as a missionary and the priest, Padre Fausto Milla, reminded me that we are all called to be missionaries. In fact, the 2007 meeting of the Latin American bishops in Aparecida, Brazil, called on all people of the Americas to be disciples and missionaries.

The people I work with in the parish of Dulce Nombre de María have a strong sense of mission.  They invite people in their villages to join their Sunday celebrations and their weekly base community meetings. Also, about once a month, pastoral teams in villages go to another village to lead the Sunday Celebrations of the Word.

Meeting with recently confirmed young people in Camalote, Dolores, Honduras

It is important to remember that being a missionary is not merely going to another country. Nor is it a question of preaching to the unconverted.

It is living one’s life in a such a way that people encounter in you and in themselves signs of the presence of God’s kingdom.

I think Thomas Merton said it well:

A saint preaches sermons by the way he walks and talks, the way he picks up things and holds them in his hands.

I can do this wherever I am, though now I have a profound sense that my place is in Honduras.

Yet, once a year, I return to the US, to share the Good News, to help the people here see that God is alive, that the People of God, the Church, is revealing signs of the Kingdom.

I’ll be here a few more days, but I am longing to get back to Honduras. It’s home. It’s where I am missioned – sent on mission and receiving the missionary witness of so many Hondurans.

Gracias a Dios.

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