This year World Mission Sunday will be celebrated on 23 October. In his Message, Pope Francis said the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy invites us "to consider the missio ad gentes - the mission to the world - as a great, immense work of mercy, both spiritual and material." "To 'go out' as missionary disciples,". A synthesis of his message.
On this World Mission Sunday, all of us are invited to "go out" as missionary disciples, each generously offering their talents, creativity, wisdom and experience in order to bring the message of God's tenderness and compassion to the entire human family. By virtue of the missionary mandate, the Church cares for those who do not know the Gospel because she wants everyone to be saved and to experience the Lord's love. She "is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel" (Misericordiae Vultus, 12) and to proclaim mercy in every corner of the world, reaching every person, young and old.
From the beginning the Father has lovingly embraced the most vulnerable because his greatness is revealed in his capacity to identify with the young, the marginalized, the poor and the oppressed (cf. Deut 4:31; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 111:4). He is merciful towards all; his love is for all people and his compassion extends to all creatures (cf. Ps 144:8-9)…
The Church, in the midst of humanity, is first of all the community that lives by the mercy of Christ. This merciful love, as in the early days of the Church, is witnessed to by many men and women of every age and condition and each one is called to focus on people rather than structures, allocating human and spiritual resources towards the building of good relations, harmony, peace, solidarity, dialogue, cooperation and fraternity, both among individuals and in social and cultural life, in particular through care for the poor.
In many places evangelization begins with education, to which missionary work dedicates much time and effort, like the merciful vine-dresser of the Gospel (cf. Lk 13:7-9; Jn 15:1), patiently waiting for fruit after years of slow cultivation. In this way they bring forth a new people able to evangelize who will take the Gospel to those places where it otherwise would not have been thought possible.
Faith is God's gift and not the result of proselytizing; rather it grows thanks to the faith and charity of evangelizers who witness to Christ. As they travel through the streets of the world, the disciples of Jesus need to have a love without limits, the same measure of love that our Lord has for all people. We proclaim the most beautiful and greatest gifts that he has given us: his life and his love.
All peoples and cultures have the right to receive the message of salvation which is God's gift to every person. This is all the more necessary when we consider how many injustices, wars, and humanitarian crises still need resolution. Missionaries know from experience that the Gospel of forgiveness and mercy can bring joy and reconciliation, justice and peace. The mandate of the Gospel to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Mt 28:19-20) has not ceased. "Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the 'peripheries' in need of the light of the Gospel" (20).
Pope Francis Mission Intention for October
"That World Mission Day may renew within all Christian communities the joy of the Gospel and the responsibility to announce it." Let us Pray.
In his Message for the 90th World Mission Day which will be celebrated on October 23, Pope Francis called the work of evangelization an "immense work of mercy, both spiritual and material." He went on to say that "all of us are invited to 'go out' as missionary disciples, each generously offering our talents, creativity, wisdom and experience to bring the message of God's tenderness and compassion to the entire human family. By virtue of the missionary mandate, the Church cares for those who do not know the Gospel because she wants everyone to be saved and to experience the Lord's love."
This is what motivated Jesus, his disciples, St. Paul, and the Church throughout the centuries. It is what motivates us - an all-consuming desire for the salvation of every human person. Pope Francis wrote: "As they travel through the streets of the world, the disciples of Jesus need to have a love without limits, the same measure of love that our Lord has for all people. We proclaim the most beautiful and greatest gifts that he has given us: his life and his love."
But how can we have such "a love without limits"? We find it when we encounter Jesus in the Scriptures and the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. As the Pope wrote: "When we welcome and follow Jesus by means of the Gospel and sacraments, we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, become merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful; we can learn to love as he loves us and make of our lives a free gift, a sign of his goodness."
Every day, we can "make of our lives a free gift" by offering its minutes and hours for the salvation of every person. In doing this we become missionaries without even leaving home and our entire life, joined to Jesus' perfect offering of himself on the cross and in the Eucharist, becomes a sign of merciful love in a world that desperately needs it.
2 Corinthians 5: 14-21 "The love of Christ impels us."
Pope Francis General Intention for October
"That journalists, in carrying out their work, may always be motivated by respect for truth and a strong sense of ethics." Let us Pray.
Journalists are provide news and commentaries. That these are truthful is often in doubt. The Catechism says: "By the very nature of their profession, journalists have an obligation to serve the truth and not offend against charity in disseminating information." In other words, though it is important to report news honestly, the journalist must also respect the dignity of others.
The Catechism continues: "The information provided by the media is at the service of the common good. Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice, and solidarity. The proper exercise of this right demands that the content of the communication be true and - within the limits set by justice and charity - complete. Further, it should be communicated honestly and properly. This means that in the gathering and in the publication of news, the legitimate rights and dignity of man should be upheld."
Similarly, the consumers of media also have an obligation. We are to be discerning in our use of the media. The Catechism says: "The means of social communication (especially the mass media) can give rise to a certain passivity among users, making them less than vigilant consumers of what is said or shown. Users should practice moderation and discipline in their approach to the mass media. They will want to form enlightened and correct consciences the more easily to resist unwholesome influences."
As we pray for journalists this month we also examine ourselves and how much time we spend using media and whether this time is spent focused on the sensational. Do we use reputable sources of information? Where do we receive our information about the Church?
2 Peter 3: 14-18 "Be careful that you are not carried away by the errors of the unprincipled."
Institute Intention for October
"That the Good Shepherd may pour into the hearts of the youth enthusiasm for missionary commitment and move them to dedicate their entire lives in joy for the evangelization of the world." Lord hear us.
Prayer of the Month
Almighty God, strengthen and direct, we pray, the will of all whose work it is to write what many read, and to speak where many listen. May we be bold to confront evil and injustice: understanding and compassionate of human weakness; rejecting alike the half-truth which deceives, and the slanted word which corrupts. May the power which is ours, for good or ill, always be used with honesty and courage, with respect and integrity, so that when all here has been written, said, and done, we may, unashamed, meet Thee face to face. Amen
--from Marquette University