MISSION SUNDAY HOMILY
Homily for the 29th sunday in ordinary time, year b
Hebrews 4 :14-16
Beloved in Christ, today being the third sunday in OCTOBER, Mother Church invites us to celebrate ‘MISSION SUNDAY ‘-a day to reflect on our personal response and to rededicate ourselves to the mission of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I have chosen ” BAPTISM :THE RIGHT TO EVANGELIZATION ” as our theme for this sunday. This is to help us remember in a special way our baptismal call to mission.
Beloved, the Church invites us each year in the spirit of the Church’s unity and universality to a renewed commitment to everyone’s responsibility for the spread of the Gospel message. This celebration was instituted historically by Pope Pius X1 in 1926, with a call for prayer,animation,celebration, and offerings for the missions; to engender a sense of responsibility in people for supporting missions throughout the world.
Beloved, since the Church is by her very nature missionary, evangelization constitutes a duty and a right for every one of her members. (cf.Lumen Gentium n.17, Ad Gentes nn. 28, 35-38). Also the decree on the missionary Activity of the Church(Ad Gentes )which proclaims “the pilgrim church on earth is missionary by its very nature” reminding us that all of us are called to be on mission.
Beloved, this is a call to go beyond ourselves and to share with others the blessings we have received, beginning with the gift of faith. Hence in the words of Pope Francis “mission is a passion for Jesus and at the same time a passion for his people “.
But sadly for most people, mission is for Priests or Religious or some specially chosen lay people. This celebration reminds us that we have an important role to play in the spreading of the Gospel.
Let me share a story with you.
One day , a very old man went round to plant small fruit trees. A young man asked him, when these trees would bear fruits, to which he replied, probably many years after I am gone from this earth. The young man then said ,if so why suffer to plant trees when you won’t be around the fruits but the old man answered, when I came into this world , I didn’t find this world without any fruits trees, and I enjoyed the fruits. Now I plant these fruits trees for those who will come after me, just as those before me had done.
Beloved, the faith we have had been built upon and handed down to us by the earlier generation of believers. We too must build it up and hand it over to the next generation . This involves praying for missionaries and offering them financial support. And it is the work of us all and not just a few.
My dear friend, it is with this in mind that Jesus in the Gospel opens our eyes to the realities that confront us in mission” can you drink the cup that I must drink”(Mark 10:38); a reminder that these challenges must be overcome so as to achieve an honorable place in the Kingdom of God. Again, mission is all about service and sacrifice made in the name of love for the Salvation of all nations. Thus , to be great is to be ready to serve as confirmed by Isaiah in our first reading ” by his suffering shall my servant justify many,taking their faults on himself “(Isa 53:11).