There is an expression heard on St Patrick’s Day that on that day, “everyone is Irish.” It’s a beautiful way to let others feel included in the joy of that day. Today, World Mission Sunday is similar and different because today we say, as did Pope Francis, “everyone in a missionary.” What is different from St Patrick’s Day, is that even after today, everyone is a missionary. For our part, we will have the La Salette Missionary Fathers to help us understand the call of the missions and share in our support of the foreign missions, but today I, as a Claretian Missionary, would like to share what makes all of us a missionary.
Our common missionary identity is found in the very last words of the Mass that Deacon Horatio or I give, “Go in peace,” “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life,” Go Forth, the Mass is ended,” or “the Mass is ended, let us proclaim the gospel with our lives,” In every one of these endings, we are “sent out” and that is when we become missionaries. We never just leave Church or Mass, we are “sent out” into the world.
The second part of being a missionary is that we are “sent out” with a mission. That mission is not to see how fast we can clear out of the parking lot for the next Mass, nor are we “sent out” to condemn all those who did not attend mass (that is always God’s job). We are “sent out” to share the Good news of that Sunday’s readings and the Good news of the Eucharistic feast. We are sent out with a message, that is our mission.
What makes the Lord’s day holy is not simply that we sit in a special room for one hour and we are done. It is holy, set apart, because we take the rest of the day and week to live what we have just heard, seen, and tasted through acts of love, forgiveness, and sacrifice. This is our mission, this is what a missionary does.
For many centuries, we have described missionaries as ones who go to foreign countries and yes our Claretians are in 70 countries around the world, but that is not why we are missionaries. Like you, it is because we know that from our baptism and confirmation we have been “sent” with a mission. That mission has a lot to do with our Ministry Fair that we had this past Pentecost. When we share our gifts with others, we are sharing the mission God has given us. When we share our gifts in God’s name, we are fully living our mission in the world. So we can be a missionary in Indonesia or in Springfield, what is most important is to know that we are called and to take that message out, which, like St Patrick’s day, is a beautiful way to let others feel included in the family of God
With a heart for Mission,