Each year, in the month of October, the Church celebrates World Mission Sunday as an occasion to renew our commitment to fulfilling Christ's mandate for us to constantly be actively taking part in the mission of sharing the good news of the gospel with those who we meet. The theme that has been chosen for this year is Baptized and Sent: the Church of Christ on Mission in the World.
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, each of us has been made an adopted child of God and part of the community of the Church. In a practical sense, it is our parents who chose to bring us to the Church, but we also believe that it is God who is always at work, prompting us to say yes to his invitation to cooperate in the work he invites us to accomplish in his name. We have not received Baptism as a prize, but rather as a mandate to go out toward others and to share with them the joy of our faith. This is the constant mission of all the Church.
The gospel passage that has just been proclaimed shows us what can happen if we choose to keep our faith to ourselves. Taken to its extreme, we become self-reliant and neither fear God nor have respect for any human being
(Lk 18:2). It is indeed a very sad sight when we encounter people who are in such a situation because more often than not, even though they may not admit it, deep down, they are very lonely. On the other hand, Jesus presents the image of the widow who kept coming to the judge and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent
(Lk 18:3). These words portray a very different situation. The widow's heart is much more open. She has a living and active prayer life, and is probably much more aware of other people who are around her, as well as their needs. In fact, she is most likely the kind of person who would give you the shirt off her back, even though she has very little to call her own.
If we want to see examples of the missionary activity of the Church in action, we don't have to look very far. Alfred Bessette was born in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, just outside Montreal. At the age of 12, he was sent to the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal along with a note that read: I am sending you a saint. Even at that tender age, he was already devout and generous toward others. He was frail in health, but despite this obstacle, he was eventually accepted by the Order and given the religious name of Brother André. By worldly standards, he had nothing to give, but even today, he is known all over Canada, and now throughout the world as Saint André of Montreal. Even today, there are some who can tell stories of their own visits to Montreal, occasions when they met him, spoke with him, asked him to pray for them.
The mission of Jesus' disciples has always been a matter of seeking out the lost and helping them to understand that we are all profoundly loved. Each one of us is a precious child of God, and we are all invited to proclaim this message to those we meet (cf 2 Tim 4:2). We can do this as part of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Society, or volunteering our time at the Food Bank, or wherever we encounter other people. We have all been baptized and sent. It is up to us to continue the mission that Christ has entrusted to us ... to share the good news with everyone we meet, so that his love for us may be known and experienced by everyone.