“Holiness is the most attractive face of the Church,” Pope Francis says in his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (9). When the members of the Body of Christ live an authentic Christian life, they help build up the kingdom of God (CCC, 2044-2045). In my many travels to Mission lands, I met so many holy men and women, lay, Ordained and Religious who were building the Kingdom through large and small acts of love. I know a Bishop in Kenya who has built a medical school so that local men and women can be trained to provide healthcare to his impoverished people. I know a priest in India who despite writing books, hosting a television show, teaching at the seminary and pastoring a large parish plus 15 mission parishes, made time every Sunday morning to greet the homeless men and women at his gate and provide them each with a bit of money so they could buy breakfast. I met laypeople in Tanzania who gather monthly in someone’s home to read the Word of God, pray for each other and discuss ways of helping their neighbors who are in need. The first time I ever heard about human trafficking, modern day slavery, was from a Religious Sister in Michigan who had been working for years with other Sisters to raise awareness and provide relief to victims. Our local orders of Sisters, lay missioners and priests from our diocese have served or are serving in remote areas of Haiti, Tanzania, Brazil, Peru, Japan, El Salvador, on Native American Reservations and at the border bringing the hope and healing of Jesus Christ to our most vulnerable neighbors.
Week Two Challenge:
We are provided with the testimonies of missionary saints, martyrs, and witnesses to the faith to draw us ever deeper in our relationship with God and strengthen our own proclamation of the Gospel. Spend some time researching the life of a missionary witness – St. Francis Xavier, Anna Maria Dengel, Daniele Comboni, Fr. Andrew Kim and the Korean martyrs, Sr. Dorothy Stang, Dr. Tom Catena, Francis Xavier Ford, Jean Donovan or another missionary here http://www.october2019.va/en/ testimoni.html#paginationinit
Question to Ponder:
In his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis says to each one of us, “May you come to realize what that word is, the message of Jesus that God wants to speak to the world by your life. Let yourself be transformed. Let yourself be renewed by the Spirit, so that this can happen, lest you fail in your precious mission. The Lord will bring it to fulfilment despite your mistakes and missteps, provided that you do not abandon the path of love but remain ever open to his supernatural grace, which purifies and enlightens.” (24)