From the Pastor's Desk

How would I answer the question Jesus has asked the last two weeks: “What do you want me to do for you?

In the first Reading today, Jeremiah recounts how God had gathered together the people of Israel. God rescues the most vulnerable: “the blind…. the lame…. mothers…those with child.” All are brought to safety in the Lord. God smooths their path and quenches their thirst. God guides them and consoles them. Rejoice as we look around today, note how God has gathered all of us together. In the Gospel today, we hear Jesus cure Bartimaeus, the blind man who begged at the side of the Road. But Jesus calls Bartimaeus as well. After receiving the gift of sight, Bartimaeus responds to Jesus call and follows him. Let us call on Jesus so that we can see him and be healed from our own spiritual blindness.

The Holy Fathers’ Mission Sunday messages: Pope Benedict XVI, in his World Mission Sunday messages stressed the importance of Christian charity in action as the keynote of evangelization. He encouraged Churches with a shortage of priests to get them from countries with many priests. In the Pauline Year, he encouraged everyone “to take renewed awareness of the urgent need to proclaim the Gospel.” He reminded us that the “the goal of the Church’s mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel” and exhorted all Christians “to redouble their commitment to participate in the missionary activity that is an essential component of the life of the Church.“ Pope Francis, in his first World Mission Sunday message, 2013, challenged us to proclaim courageously and in every situation the Gospel of Christ, a message of hope, reconciliation and communion. In his 2014 Mission Sunday message, the Pope challenged the Church to become a welcoming home, a mother for all peoples and the source of rebirth for our world through the intercession of Mary, the model of humble and joyful evangelization. In 2015 the Pope challenges us to meet the needs of all people to return to their roots and to protect the values of their respective cultures.

The missionary Church: The Church, according to Vatican Council II, is "missionary" in her very nature because her founder, Jesus Christ, was the first missionary. God the Father sent God the Son into the world with a message of God’s love and salvation. Thus, the evangelizing mission of the Church is essentially the announcement of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation as these are revealed to mankind through the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

How should we evangelize? By exemplary and transparent Christian life, by prayer and by financial support. The most powerful means of preaching Christ is by living a truly Christian life -- a life filled with love, mercy, kindness, compassion and a spirit of forgiveness and service. Prayer is the second means of missionary work. Jesus said: “Without me you can do nothing.” Therefore, prayer is necessary for anyone who wishes to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. All missionary efforts also require financial support because the love of God can often be explained to the poor only by providing them with food, medicine and means of livelihood. Hence, on this Mission Sunday, let us learn to appreciate our missionary obligation and support the Church’s missionary activities by leading transparent Christian lives, by fervent prayers, and by generous donations. L/15

“I have no other plan.” S.D. Gordon has a beautiful story about the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. When the grand welcome ceremony was over, the Archangel Gabriel approached Jesus to resolve his doubts. He said, “I know that only very few in Palestine are aware of the great work of human salvation you have accomplished through your suffering, death and Resurrection. But the whole world should know and appreciate it and become your disciples, acknowledging you as their Lord and Savior. What is your plan of action?” Jesus answered, “I have told all my Apostles to tell other people about me and preach my message through their lives. That’s all.” “Suppose they don’t do that,” Gabriel responded. “What’s your Plan B?” Jesus replied, “I have no other plan; I am counting on them.” On this World Mission Sunday, the Church reminds us that Jesus is counting on each one of us to make him known loved and accepted by others around us.

Fr. Gus. MS, Pastor