Many of us think of missionary activity as evangelization and the work of “professional religious”. But in reality it is our work. Fr. Tony Gittins, a Spiritan and internationally recognized expert in the area of mission, likes to remind us that, “the church does not have a mission, rather, “The Mission” has a Church”, the church exists for the sake of the proclamation of the Gospel, even unto the ends of the earth!”
Pope Francis has said much the same by proclaiming that the church is missionary by its nature! Pope Benedict has said that the Gospel is not a thing but rather a person, the person of Jesus Christ! When we proclaim the Gospel we are proclaiming Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis has called us all to proclaim the Gospel passionately and creatively. He challenges us to preach the Gospel with our very lives not just with our words.
Discipleship is living the Gospel, living Christ in our daily lives in and through what we choose to value and what we choose to ignore. We preach Christ each time we put the needs of others before the needs of ourselves, each time we speak out on behalf of the ignored and voiceless, each time we speak out on behalf of the poor and the marginalized; the immigrant and refugee, then we preach Christ.
That is living our discipleship. Each time we stand with women who are sexually abused, harassed, or humiliated. Each time we call it out for what it is and work to put an end to it, we put our discipleship into action!
Discipleship is missionary by its nature and so we are indeed called to be missionaries who climb the mountains of racism and bigotry, who cross the raging rivers of misogyny and hack through the jungles of poverty and exclusion to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for while it may have been preached in many places, clearly it has not been well heard!
Where am I being called to preach the Gospel by how I live my life? What mountain am I being called to climb or rivers to cross or jungles to hack through to preach the Gospel, and to whom?
Let us all continue to pray for an end to the terrorism and war in Israel and Palestine, and in all the other war torn countries and regions around the world. And let us pray especially for the international community to help work to broker a lasting peace agreement for the people of Palestine and Israel.