'World is still in need of Missionaries'
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
World Mission Sunday is particularly significant this year as it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the opening of the Year of Faith, which has as its theme “New Evangelization”.
This strongly reaffirms the Church’s dedication to spreading the Gospel with even greater zeal and courage.
Evangelisation is still valid today with the number of those who do not know Christ growing. Pope Benedict XVI places the Church’s missionary nature at the centre of ecclesiology. “Today as in the past, Christ sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth” (Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, n. 7.)
Entrusted with this missionary mandate, we must take up with urgent stride and apostolic zeal, the duty of proclaiming the Word of God to those who do not yet know Him.
Through the actions of missionaries, the proclamation of the Gospel becomes much more – intervention on behalf of one’s neighbour, justice for the poorest, the possibility of education in the most remote villages, medical aid in isolated places, emancipation from poverty, rehabilitation of the marginalised, the overcoming of ethnic divisions, and the respect and support for the development of all people.
Our personal encounter with Christ
All humanity hungers and thirsts for Christ – the living bread and the water. To be effective messengers of God demands however that we firstly examine our own personal faith in the Gospel of Jesus.
Indeed, one of the major obstacles to evangelisation is the personal crisis of faith. Fundamentally our personal encounter with Christ must be our basis for evangelising. It is the joy of the Lord’s presence and the desire to make Him known so that all may experience this joy, that propels us with renewed energy.
Faith in God, in this project of love, is first and foremost a gift and a mystery which must be welcomed and shared. It is a talent received so that it may bear fruit; it is a light that must never be hidden, but must illuminate the whole house.
It is the most important gift which has been made to us in our lives and which we cannot keep to ourselves.
The core of the proclamation is always the same: that Christ died and rose for the world’s salvation, God’s absolute love for every man and every woman that resulted in Him sending His Only-Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, who redeemed the world from sin and death by the offering of Himself on the Cross.
Our enthusiasm for communicating the faith must be renewed daily to take on the complexes of an increasingly changing world. A New Evangelisation will bear fruit in communities and countries losing their reference to God only if we can reawaken in them the joy of believing.
The drive to evangelise must never remain on the margins of ecclesial activity and in the personal life of Christians. Rather, it must strongly characterise it, strong in the awareness that they are missionaries of the Gospel and that those who receive the Word are those for whom the Gospel is intended.
Proclamation is our duty and the expression of ultimate communion
The world is still in need of missionaries. “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” said the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 9:16).
This quote has a strong resonance for every Christian and for every Christian community in the world. “Mission awareness” should be a dimension of each of our lives. Every year priests, men and women Religious from every part of the world, laypeople and even entire families leave their countries and their local communities and go to other Churches to bear witness to and to proclaim the Name of Jesus Christ.
It is an expression of profound communion – sharing and promoting charity among the Churches, so that every man and woman may listen again to the saving proclamation and approach the sacraments that are the very source of true life.
Dear brothers and sisters, we pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so that God’s grace may empower us to do His Work.
Together with our Blessed Pope, I would like to pray: “O Lord, accompany your missionaries in the lands to be evangelised, put the right words on their lips and make their labours fruitful.”
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Star of Evangelisation, accompany all Gospel missionaries.
Archbishop Nicholas Chia