29th Sunday (A)
18th October 2020
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh
“Together we can do more”
Just over 50 years ago people got to see what Planet Earth looked like from space. We already knew so much about it by way of its dimensions and weather patterns. It was an altogether different experience to behold it from a distance. That experience helped over time to do two things for us. It helped us to see that we citizens of Planet Earth are a small element in the vast, seemingly limitless entity we call ‘outer space’. It also, on the other hand, gave a sense of the fragile balance that holds all of life on earth in harmony.
On another level students of society helped us to see and understand that which we thought was vast and complex isreally more like a big village – a global village where like all villages everyone is related and interconnected.
It is into this reality we bring our celebration of Mission Sunday – a day celebrated and marked by church communities in 120 countries across the world. It is ironic that it is being marked in the middle of a global pandemic – which restricts so many from gathering for prayer for one another and offer our financial support for work among the most needy and poor. The reality is that though the world is rich in resources our governance favours the few.
The Mission of the Church is universal in scope and visionary in its outreach in love and respect. “Together we can do more” is the theme chosen for this Mission Sunday – with the by-line Blessed are the peacemakers (Mt. 5:9)
The making of peace is the key to the flourishing of humanity. People affected by war and violence are victims of unspeakable suffering. The task of the “missionary” is to bring to people Jesus’ perpetual greeting “Peace be with you”. The Preface of the Mass on the Feast of Christ the King speaks eloquently of the reign of God as
“an eternal and universal Kingdom
a Kingdom of truth and life
a Kingdom of holiness and grace
a Kingdom of justice, love and peace”.
It is little wonder then that our missionaries, indeed all missionaries are to be found walking with and living among those who have been left behind.
Very early in Pope Francis’ pontificate he warned against those who view the Church as a kind of N.G.O. (Non-Governmental Organisation) doing humanitarian work. The missionary is different by virtue of their commitment to and love of the people they serve by living among them.
Every part of the Church’s Missions has great need of financial assistance. They fear that given the lack of contact with congregations they will suffer a huge drop in their support this Mission Month. So I appeal to you on their behalf to make a special effort to ensure your support of whatever you can afford gets to W.M.I. (World Mission Ireland)
Covid being a Pandemic means there is no region of the world untouched by its threat. Countries with less developed health care systems will be especially vulnerable.
Missionaries as we know are not selective in their care. The suffering of the community is their suffering. This calls for great love, respect and sacrifice. Humanly speaking these situations cause great stress even to the strongest and most committed. They especially need our prayer and personal support.
Pope Francis is a powerful witness to the world of the joy that comes from giving, caring and standing by one another in life and in mission.
Evengelium Gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel
Laudato Si – Care of the Earth
Fratelli Tutti – Global Solidarity
This trilogy of inspiration frames in a new way and a new language the Mission of the Church to the world in the 21stCentury.
We give thanks to God to be partners with our sisters and brothers in this life-giving Mission.