Some Missionary Questions
Who Are Called?
The Church teaches that all the faithful are called to be missionary by Baptism. All followers of Jesus are committed to live out his Good News of God’s love and forgiveness for the world in their daily lives and to proclaim it through generous loving service.
What is the Christian Mission?
Our mission as followers of Jesus is to witness to the Reign of God’s love in the world that brings God’s justice, peace, healing and joy to all who embrace it. We do this by living the way Jesus taught us as fully as we can, using our gifts and inviting others to share this way of life marked by love of God, love of neighbour and of ourselves. Living this mission reflects a profound reliance on and trust in God to help us. The goal of Jesus’ mission is to unite all peoples into one family of God, and to live this new life with God forever.
Where do we live our Mission?
Most of us live out our call to mission with Christ in the community, “right where our feet are”. Some are called and sent to witness to the Good News among peoples who have not heard it or who live on the margins of their societies. These missionaries leave their homes and families crossing into other cultures, living among other peoples. They offer their witness to God’s love in a variety of ways through presence and humble service to God’s love among the people with whom they are privileged to live.
Who are Missionaries Today?
For many centuries missionaries in the Roman Catholic Church were mostly priests, sisters or brothers from religious communities dedicated to missionary work. Today, a new phenomenon is happening: the emergence of lay missionaries and volunteers, single and married women and men, who are dedicating a part of their lives to serve the Reign of God among other peoples and cultures.
How do Missionaries Live?
Missionaries for this new millennium are people who live in community in creative ways that reflect their love for one another, and reach out to all who seek to share in some way the life they live. Prayer, the Eucharist, hospitality and humble service are marks of their witness wherever they are. The Church at home supports missionaries with its encouragement, prayers, financially, and providing communication links to other resources when needed.
What do Missionaries Offer?
Missionaries offer joyful and generous witness to Jesus Christ through presence, dialogue, service and a humble spirit. They are conscious that it is the Holy Spirit who is the primary source of mission and who first moves hearts to desire to know Jesus Christ and his Good News of the Reign of God which is at work drawing all peoples back to their original unity and oneness with God.
What New Challenges Face Missionaries Today?
At one time, a big part of the challenge for a missionary was leaving one’s own country and culture to go and live in foreign lands. Today, crossing borders is still a basic part of missionary activity, but the new boundaries being crossed today are no longer just geographical. The new boundaries may be anywhere in the world; with youth, the poor in mega-cities, migrants, refugees, victims of war and long-term conflict, indigenous peoples, marginalized women and children The new borders are social, ethnic, economic, as well as cultural and religious. They are found in the global challenges for justice and peace, human rights, ecology and better sharing of resources.
How Are Missionaries Called to Respond?
The missionary for this new world emerging around us goes out not so much to accomplish great tasks or projects but rather to be present to people, living with them, walking beside them, listening in solidarity, and sharing humbly with them each other’s lived experience of God and life with all its joys and struggles. At the heart of this kind of relationship is trust, respect, love and compassion. Gracious dialogue is the foundation for new missionaries who are called to become bridges in a dialogue of life, religious traditions and neighbourliness that leads to true human development and liberation.
How Can Missionaries Help Heal Divisions Among Peoples?
Missionaries, by nature, are advocates for the poor and marginalized as co-workers with Christ whose Spirit leads them to the new frontiers where people are most in need. Today some are learning new skills directed to healing relationships damaged and broken by violence and oppression. They offer a needed dedication to promoting relationships that will produce new harmony and understanding between groups and peoples that have been divided against each other by negative forces. Through their efforts, missionaries offer the healing power of Christ to resolve circumstances that defy other solutions. Missionaries are people of hope, who live always conscious of being part of the mystery of the dying and rising of Christ whose Spirit is healing and restoring the world back to fullness of life in God.
Are Missionaries Needed Today in the World?
“Yes”! The need is greater than ever to bear witness in the world to the Good News of God’s love that restores life, dignity and hope to the lives and hearts of all who hunger and thirst for what is rightfully theirs. By their love for God, openness to all peoples and example of loving service, missionaries bring a Gospel witness to the world which humbly challenges even the most powerful to conversion of heart. Only through the way of the Gospel, will compassion and justice for all ever be achieved. And so the mandate of Jesus to his disciples is as fresh as ever today: “Go make disciples of all nations … Proclaim the Good News to all Creation.” No greater challenge exists in the world than that of being in mission with Christ.