Sunday, October 20, 2013

29th Sunday Ordinary Time - Mission Sunday - "The Lord hears the cries of the poor"

Today the Church celebrates World Mission Sunday.  We know this by the second collection that will be taken up for the Church’s missions throughout the world. 

The need is great to continue to spread the Gospel message through out the world.  So many people have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, his message of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness – His promise of salvation and eternal life in His heavenly Kingdom. 

They do not know, as we know, that they are God’s beloved children – 
  • Called to live in peace and harmony
  • Called into the embrace of God’s love and mercy
  • Called to live with dignity and respect
  • Called to be holy; working to make saints of one another
  • Called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world
  • Called to bring hope, healing and freedom
  • Called to know and love the one true God

There is darkness in the world, dark places where God is unknown.  Places where God’s love has yet to reach.  Places where hope, love, mercy and forgiveness are unspoken.  It is our mission to bring the Light of Christ into these dark places. 
  • To speak of God’s love and mercy for all people
  • To give hope to the despairing
  • To bring peace to the troubled
  • To heal our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ who have:
    • Never felt God’s love,
    • Never known God’s embrace
    • Never tasted the goodness of God's gift of life as His beloved child

So many of our brothers and sisters in Christ know only hardship and despair in this world. They suffer – poverty, starvation, exploitation, slavery, illiteracy, unsafe living and working conditions – which condemns them, especially women and children, to the very bottom of the human condition – offering them no hope and little opportunity for survival.

This world offers them little, but we, through our missionary support, can bring them hope – hope in the knowledge that they are loved and that God listens to their cries of anguish and despair. God hears the cries of the poor.
So many others worship false gods or no god at all.  They know only
  • gods of their own making,
  • gods who cannot love, who cannot care,
  • gods who cannot heal or bring peace.

We are called to bring the knowledge of our living God into their lives.  To show them the God who loves his children and wants them to live with Him eternally in heaven.  Through the Word of God, we bring the Good News into these dark places; spreading the Light of Christ, dispelling the darkness and giving hope of a Life Eternal in the peace of God’s Kingdom to those who know only the confines of this world.

A few days ago a remarkable woman passed away.  She was known as Madre Antonia (Mother Antonia) and she was one of those missionaries who brought the Light of Christ into dark places.  Mother Antonia lived in La Mesa penitentiary in Tijuana, Mexico.  She was not a prisoner, but a nun who took private vows and served both the prisoners and guards in one of the worst prisons in the world. 

Living in a 10 X 10 cell, sleeping on a prison cot with a bible and a Spanish dictionary, she brought hope and spiritual guidance to the very least of God’s children.

Mother Antonia was called to her missionary life of service through an encounter with the Risen Christ.  She was blessed and given the grace to live as the Lord himself lived – in service to sinners, the miserable and forgotten; bringing them knowledge of God’s love and mercy.

We may never have such an encounter with Christ as did Mother Antonia, but we can always hope.  Meanwhile, we can support the work of missionaries like Mother Antonia and like so many courageous others who bring the Word of God into the dark places of the world. 

Please give generously to support missionaries and as the parable in Luke’s Gospel today reminds us: Persevere in Prayer, God hears the cries of the poor and brings them His justice. ~ Amen


Deacon Don Ron

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