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Missionaries at home

One Sunday morning after saying Mass at the Sacred Heart Church in Kamuning some years ago, a couple approached me, their baby cuddled by the wife. “Father, we’re from this parish,” they greeted.

“We’re lay missionaries working in New Guinea and we’re on vacation.” I found it inspiring that a Filipino lay couple could make the sacrifice of leaving a comfortable home and country to devote some years in the “bush mission.”

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Tomorrow is WORLD MISSION SUNDAY. Before ascending to heaven, Jesus Christ said: “Go out into the whole world and proclaim the Good News to every nation” (Mk 16,15).

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Many have the misconception that spreading God’s Word belongs only to religious missionaries. The truth is: every Christian, by virtue of baptism, IS a missionary and the example of that missionary couple proves this.

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Not all, however, can emulate what the couple was doing. For most Christians, they can be missionaries at home, whether they’re a teacher, nurse, executive, lawyer or ordinary housewife. What counts is not geography, but the spirit or motive.

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Remember St. Therese of the Child Jesus? She never stepped out of the four walls of her Carmelite cloister but was chosen as the universal patroness of Catholic missions. She merited the title because of her obsession to save souls by offering every little act, every bodily pain for the conversion of immortal souls.

How can we be missionaries at home? Like St. Therese, we can offer prayers and sacrifices for the missions.

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Then we can share our financial resources. Money is necessary for evangelization to succeed. Missionaries, lay workers, catechists are housed, fed, clothed, transported. Churches, schools, convents, social centers are built in
underdeveloped and “bush” missions.

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One of the most difficult things to do is to part off with one’s money. Reminds me of a parish priest who was making an impassioned appeal to the parish council for the annual mission collection.

Great was everybody’s surprise when the wealthiest, but miserly member of the council rose and started the collection rolling with a contribution of P500.

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As he stood up to hand in the amount, a mild earthquake took place and some plaster from the ceiling fell and hit him on the head.

A bit shaken, he withdrew the amount and said, “I guess I’d better make that P5,000.” A small voice from the back of the hall was heard, “Hit him again, Lord.” (It’s not known if he added some more).

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ASK YOURSELF:Are contributingsomething to help the mission work of Christ in the world? If one of those brown envelopes is handed to you, do you give your share?

Eventually, when we meet the Lord in the next life, we can say: “Lord, I did my share in spreading your teachings and making disciples of people around me.”

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FUTURE MISSIONARIES. In the spirit of World Mission Sunday, how about chipping in or making a monthly pledge for the scholarship of seminarians or future priests?

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Without seminarians, we cannot have priests, missionaries and bishops.For inquiry, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.
(Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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