Rated “Triple D” Mission
Homily on Friday, 14th Week in OT, 8 July 2022
Today we continue the theme of last Sunday’s liturgy on the missionary vocation of every baptized Christian. We recall that in the Lukan passage we heard last Sunday Jesus appointed seventy-two of his disciples and after empowering them with his Spirit sent them out two by two with a mission to preach the Good News to those towns he intended to visit. And he warned them ahead of time of their being possibly rejected by the people. Now in the Matthean passage we heard today Jesus warned his twelve apostles that in accomplishing their mission they may face not only rejection but at worse also persecution. What is Jesus really trying to say? The mission is not that easy. On the contrary it is extremely difficult, dangerous and death-defying. Every Christian missionary who faithfully responds to his vocation has to preach the good news also in hostile territories where he or she could be rejected, hated, dragged to courts and condemned to death. The worst part of the mission is when all of these terrible things are done to the missionary by his very own family members, by the very people he expects to support him.
Have any of these things happened to you? Have you ever been bullied or insulted by anyone simply because you chose to preach the truth or stand by your Christian principles? Allow me to share with you a personal experience on this matter.
I have been to Pakistan twice in the recent past to visit our two mission stations where we run schools open to both Christians and Muslims. And twice I had a close encounter with death. In 2015 the week after I visited Lahore and Quetta, two churches were bombed in Lahore by suicide bombers close to where our school was. One church was St John’s Catholic Church and the other a Protestant church. Our past pupil died in the explosion because he was the one who forcefully tried to stop the suicide bomber from getting inside the church. In 2018, Fr Andy and I had to cut our trip short and take the next flight back to Cebu because of the nationwide violent protests that were raging against the government that favoured the acquittal by the Supreme Court of a Christian woman accused of blasphemy. Thanks be to God in both instances I was able to escape. What happened then was precisely in accordance with what Jesus said: “When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.” And if that is not possible do not worry at all because when they hand you over to the courts the Holy Spirit will be the one to speak on your behalf.
May this Holy Mass make us conscious that we really have a death-defying mission as a Church and we pray that we may be empowered as baptized Christians to go and bring it to completion with heroic courage, burning zeal and unwavering enthusiasm all for the glory of God. For while the mission might truly be difficult, dangerous and death-defying it remains to be always divine. God is good…!
P.S. Our Salesian mission both in Lahore and in Quetta continues to enjoy the protection of our Lord through the powerful intercession of Mary Help of Christians, yet needs your prayerful support and financial help. If you were inspired by this reflection just click the link below for your donations.
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