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Friday, July 13, 2012



      MISSION IMPOSSIBLE:  This is not about the movie by Tom Cruise.  Imagine yourself entering a monastery abandoned in the middle of the woods; a huge seminary now turned into a hotel; a magnificent gothic cathedral now converted into a museum; a church closed down after one hundred years; a convent with few nuns left who are all in their seventies….  Disheartening, isn’t it?  Why is this phenomenon happening?   Where are those men and women who once revolutionized the world by their life of witness to the faith?
      A paradigm shift in the way we view life has turned the world upside down when the spiritual becomes passé and even Jurassic.  The spirit of consumerism and materialism in a way paralyzed a great chunk of our psyche, not knowing we have already been consumed by it.  We are not advocating poverty that cripples hence canonizing the material inadequacy of the poor but rather the neglect of the spiritual aspect in giving too much emphasis on the material.  Because of this, the call to the mission even becomes a “mission impossible.”  
      How will a young man or woman who is brought up in such a materialistic atmosphere react about the gospel this Sunday: being sent out in a mission with such very hard instructions “no bread, no money, no extra clothes, etc”?  Maybe he/she would say, “I heard it, thanks, but sorry I am not a fool.”   The mandate does not appeal right away to the imagination.  Why on the first place would anyone venture into those hardships?  If I am a poor man, why would I continue to live such a poor life when I can pursue a career and live a better life?  If I am talented, why would I waste away the opportunity to conquer the world or to shun away from possibilities that would bring me fortune and fame?  
      The missionary life brings an upside down materialistic world back to the realm of the spirit.   Whilst we never deny the material, we believe in something eternal.  That is why a man or a woman who follows Jesus in the mission maybe foolish in the eyes of the world nevertheless he/she becomes a radical witness of  the Kingdom of God.   He/she turns away from the selfish concerns of life to something more noble, that is by giving away his/her life in the service of God.  When a person does this, he/she lives in the divine providence knowing that God will take care of all his/her needs.  
      The mission is not just about the difficulties but more about the joy of bringing the Good News to the world.    This reward is worth more than money could buy.
 When Jesus sent out the Twelve in pairs, the mission is both ecclesial and personal.  Being aware of the woundedness of the world in many aspects, but most especially spiritual, together with their proclamation of the Word were the works of healing.  Every missionary is sent out to heal the world, being a wounded healer himself/herself.    
It may sound crazy, but this is not something new.  In the course of history, countless men and women have lived the life which most of the time has never been without difficulties.  It is certainly a very hard life, but nevertheless very rewarding, being consoled that God is the one in charge and He will surely provide.  I say this being a missionary priest all my life!

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