15TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - B
The1986 British film "The Mission" reminds of the gospel we proclaim this Sunday with the Jesuit missionaries bringing the Good News to South America in the 1800's. It shows us both the difficulties and the joy, the tragedies and successes of the missionary life.
When Jesus sent th Twelve on a missionary journey, he sent them in pairs: it means that the call is both personal and ecclesial. It is personal because it is the response of the disciples to the call of his Master; it is ecclesial because it is also the responsibility of the community to bring the message of Jesus to the world.
In sending the Twelve Jesus empowered them with divine authority over the evil one. The mission was not about themselves! Deep within, they were given the inner strength and divine force to carry out the mission.
If may sound a little bit odd to hear Jesus summoning them with instructions that may not appeal practical at all, at least in the present context. It sounded daunting and scary to carry on a very difficult task yet not to be equipped with even the basic necessities: no food, no money, no extra clothes! For us, it was not only impractical but impossible as well. But God was in charge and he will make sure that his missionaries will not go wanting. Surely there will be difficulties and hardship but a missionary knows that God always provides.
If ever they were ejected, they had to shake the dust off their feet: there should no feeling of disgust nor disappointment because it was not about themselves!
The Twelve carried out the mission with great success! In heeding the call of the Master, the fruitfulness of tb mission doe not depend on the capacity of the missionary but rather the work of the Holy Spirit.
The gospel we proclaim did not happen onlyto the Twelve because the mission continues even to the present time! In the course of history, countless men and women were called and left homes and countries to bring the Good News to peoples and lands in sowing the seed of the Kingdom.
To those of us who were not called to do missionary work in the proper context of the term, the calling is the same though in a different label. As Christians, we share in the mission entrusted by the Father to his Son, that is to sow goodness to the world in our own capacity whether as ordained ministers or as laymen. We may not be called to enter the seminary, the monastery or convents but the task is the same: to be witnesses of Jesus' mission in the ordinariness of our lives!
To be a Christian is to be a missionary! We cannot separate one from the other. They are two sides of the coin. Should we do the task, there will always be challenges and difficulties but most of all the joy of having shared our lives to others who have less in life. As "missionaries of the ordinary" we transform this world into a better place than we first found it!