Vocation Meditation -
World Mission Sunday
"As the Father Has Sent Me, So I Send You"" (John 20:21)-
Message of Benedict XVI for World Mission Sunday - Oct. 23, 2011
All peoples are recipients of the proclamation of the Gospel. The Church "is missionary by nature, as she takes her origin from the mission of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, according to the plan of God the Father" (AG2) . This is "the happiness and vocation proper of the Church, her most profound identity. She exists to evangelize" ( EN 14). Consequently, she can never be shut-in on herself. She roots herself in certain places in order to go beyond. Her action, in adherence to the word of Christ and under the influence of his grace and of his charity, is made fully and actually present to all men and to all peoples to lead them to faith in Christ (cf. "Ad Gentes," No. 5).
This task has not lost its urgency. On the contrary, "the mission of Christ Redeemer, entrusted to the Church, is still far from being accomplished ... a global look on humanity shows that this mission is still at the beginning and that we must commit ourselves with all our energies in its service" (John Paul II, "RedemptorisMissio," No. 1). We cannot remain tranquil in face of the thought that, after two thousand years, there are still peoples who do not know Christ and have not yet heard his message of salvation.
Co-responsibility of All
The universal mission involves all, everything and always. The Gospel is not an exclusive good of the one who has received it, but is a gift to be shared, good news to communicate. And this gift-commitment is entrusted not only to a few, but to all the baptized, who are "a chosen race ... a holy nation, God's own people" (1 Peter 2:9), to proclaim his wonderful works.
The Missionary Day itself is not an isolated moment in the course of the year, but a precious occasion to pause to reflect on how we respond to the missionary vocation; an essential response for the life of the Church.
To be indifferent to the temporal problems of humanity would mean "to forget the lesson which comes to us from the Gospel concerning love of our neighbor who is suffering and in need" ("EvangeliiNuntiandi," No. 31).
Thus, through co-responsible participation in the mission of the Church, the Christian becomes a builder of communion, of peace, of the solidarity that Christ has given us, and collaborates in the realization of the salvific plan of God for the whole of humanity. The challenges that it meets, calls Christians to walk together with others, and the mission is an integral part of this path with all. In it we bear, though in vessels of clay, our Christian vocation, the inestimable treasure of the Gospel, the living testimony of Jesus dead and resurrected, encountered and believed in the Church.
May this World Mission Sunday revive in each one the desire and the joy of "going" to meet humanity taking Christ to all.
In his name I impart to you from my heart the Apostolic Blessing, in particular to all those who most toil and suffer for the Gospel.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.