Mission Sunday

Mission Sunday

by Sr. Jo Anne Kelly MMM      Ireland     01.10.2022

Recently I did a retreat in a house which was located in wide open countryside in a most beautiful setting. Each morning I went out the front door and stood to admire that beautiful scene. A green lawn swept down to a fish pond, beyond which was the driveway wending its way up. Beyond that was a beautiful lake glistening in the early autumn sunshine. A lone white swan gracefully and elegantly made her way from one end of the lake to the other occasionally dipping her beak into the water before gliding on. Behind was a hillside with cattle contentedly grazing, and beyond all that, a piece of woodland with ancient majestic trees. What an idyllic scene! I stood in awe, very aware of the God who Created all this beauty and who holds and sustains all of it, even the least blade of grass. On the last morning I went out as usual but what a different scene. A thick mist had enshrouded the whole area. I could see nothing beyond the line of the fish pond, nothing but thick cloud. But I knew, without any doubt, that all that beauty was still there and there also was the God who created it. So many people everywhere in the world now have no opportunity of enjoying such a scene. They live in a cloud of fears and uncertainty and what does that say to me about missionary work today?

When I was a child in the 1940s there was a great mission movement in the Irish Church and we as children were all caught up in it. Every shop, school and church had a mite box collecting money for the missions, especially for children who were hungry, sick and deprived of any access to medical care or education.
It was during WW1 and things were scare especially money, but even if we received a sixpence for a birthday, some of it had to be put in the mite box. New mission congregations and societies had started, each choosing to continue some aspect of Jesus mission while on earth, healing, teaching and preaching, and all of them had mission magazines. Our teachers were promoters and when the bundles of magazines came we distributed them around the country and collected the money. There was not much money in our house for books so we read those magazines from cover to cover getting all the stories of what missionaries were doing in foreign lands, helping people through their work to come to know our loving and compassionate God.

Our world today is very different. There is much suffering everywhere, fears about the effects of climate change, violence of every kind, enslavement to drugs and alcohol and pursuit of fleeting pleasures. There is an increasing number of suicides because people cannot find a reason to keep living. There is abuse of power and the lack of fearless leadership. My biggest concern is for the young people, so bombarded with so much information, so many temptations and little space or time to find God in their lives, or even have a desire to find God. At this crucial time all of us, young and old, are called to be missionaries, wherever we are. We are on the threshold of something new and we must not miss the opportunity to do what we can to give people hope so as to live happily through a very different future.

Pope Francis’s message for World Mission Day urges all Christians to proclaim Christ’s message of Salvation in every aspect of our lives. “Every Christian is called to be a witness to Christ. The church community of Christ’s disciples has no other mission than that of bringing the gospel to the entire world by bearing witness to Christ not only to bear witness but to be witnesses to the ends of the earth”

Our Foundress, Mother Mary Martin once wrote; “It is only other Christs that will do the work for the healing of the world’s ills. We must be alive and awake; the situation is urgent. I beg you, do all in your power to inculcate the Spirit of the congregation in the souls of the young sisters, the spirit of love, generosity and zeal. Get them to realise their part in the work of the Church. We need leaders on fire with the love of God with no thought of self. Do not be afraid to take initiative to alleviate human suffering by leading through sacrifice”

Young vibrant MMM sisters and others from former mission countries throughout the world continue the great mission work helping people to pierce the mist, bringing hope and love to those in need. We can all be missionaries by helping even one person to come to a more beautiful place. That place can be anywhere if we know and believe in the God Who, in His great love, created us and who never stops loving us just as we are and no matter the circumstances of our present life. Even in the midst of turmoil it is possible to find an inner peace by knowing and believing that God’s love remains steadfast and unshakeable, and that God will never abandon any of us.