World Mission Sunday is an opportunity to remember all those who have left their homes and families behind to bring the Gospel to peoples and places awaiting the message of salvation.
PUBLISHED ONNov 2021
In the Message for World Mission Sunday 2021, which this year will be observed on October 24, Pope Francis evokes the current pandemic situation and how it has brought to the fore and amplified the pain, the solitude, the poverty of humanity, which calls for a “mission of compassion.”
The Coronavirus pandemic has deepened the existing divide between rich and poor. The most frail and vulnerable are feeling more than anyone else the negative impact of the sickness, the lockdowns and its associated restrictions. Populations have experienced discouragement, disappointment and fatigue vis a vis an illness that is wearing out the patience of everyone.
In the midst of this crisis there is the temptation of indifference and apathy in the name of social distancing. People, especially the elderly, are feeling the brunt of loneliness and isolation which is affecting their mental wellbeing. To counter this tendency, “there is urgent need for the mission of compassion, which can make that necessary distancing an opportunity for encounter, care and promotion,” the Pope writes.
Pope Francis goes on to explain this mission of compassion as exemplified in the life of Christ Jesus who loves humanity unconditionally and “makes his own our joys and sufferings, our hopes and our concerns.” In the middle of suffering, the Church needs to announce resounding words of hope to a broken humanity. Christians, therefore, are called upon to become actively engaged in this mission of redemption and compassion.
Those who have been touched by the powerful message of life that the Lord Jesus has risen must “rise up and seek with creativity every possible way to show compassion. I like to think that ‘even those who are most frail, limited and troubled can be missionaries in their own way, for goodness can always be shared, even if it exists alongside many limitations,’” the Pope says.
World Mission Sunday is an opportunity to remember all those who have left their homes and families behind to bring the Gospel to peoples and places awaiting the message of salvation. The vocation to missionary life is not outdated; it is worthy to be lived and die for.
The Philippines benefited from the work of missionaries when they arrived 500 years ago. The history of evangelization in this country is filled with witnesses of faith who gave themselves entirely to the spreading of the Gospel. Honor to them and to all those who have nurtured the seed of hope throughout these centuries, turning the Philippine Islands into one of the countries with the largest number of Catholics.