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In today’s Gospel, Saint Luke presents Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.”  As Jesus proceeds on his missionary path, he invites others to follow him.  Then we hear of many excuses for either delaying or even rejecting the call.  Honestly, we are often reluctant to fully follow Jesus as his missionary disciples. 

From my more than five decades of mission in Asia (Philippines and Bangladesh) I have often searched for the “Why” of mission.  I am sure you have also sincerely asked yourself: What is my mission and how do I fulfill it; what does Jesus want of me?

I have discovered a creative, comprehensive expression of the reasons for engaging in mission in the documents of the Asian bishops (FABC) during their Fifth Plenary Assembly in 1990.  They enunciated five core motives that can respond to the question: “Why evangelize?” 

1. “We evangelize, first of all from a deep sense of gratitude to God, the Father ‘who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing’ (Eph 1:3)….  Mission is above all else an overflow of this life from grateful hearts transformed by the grace of God.  That is why it is so important for us Christians to have a deep faith-experience of the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:39)….  Without a personal experience of this love received as gift and mercy, no sense of mission can flourish.”

2. “But mission is also a mandate.  We evangelize because we are sent into the whole world to make disciples of all nations.  The one who sends us is Jesus….  He sends us on a mission which is part of the epiphany of God’s plan to bring all things together under Christ as head (Eph 1:9-10).  We cannot fulfill this mission apart from him (Jn 15:4-5).”  All Christians strive to take Christ’s mission command to heart!

3. “We evangelize also because we believe in the Lord Jesus.  We have received the gift of faith.  We have become Christians….  Unfortunately for many Catholics, faith is only something to be received and celebrated.  They do not feel it is something to be shared.  The missionary nature of the gift of faith must be inculcated in all Christians.”

4. “We evangelize also because we have been incorporated by baptism into the Church, which is missionary by its very nature….  The Church exists in order to evangelize….  Each member, by virtue of the sacraments of baptism and confirmation has received the right and duty to the apostolate from the Lord himself.”

5. “And, finally, we evangelize because the Gospel is leaven for liberation and for the transformation of society.”  Our world “needs the values of the Kingdom and of Christ in order to bring about human development, justice, peace and harmony with God, among peoples and with all creation.”

Let us frequently reflect on these “core motives” of our call to mission, responding to Jesus’ words: “Follow me.”

James H. Kroeger, M.M.

  

Prayer for 4th Sunday

Is it not enough, Lord, for me to follow you?

must I also leave so much

and so many behind?

I would follow you, Lord,

to the ends of the earth

except I know where you are heading:

to Jerusalem, to Calvary and to the Cross.

I would follow you, Lord, but let me first say goodbye

to my past and to the people I hold dear.

Help me, Lord, to come before you

with open hands, heart and mind

that I might receive your grace

and love your presence and

contemplate your teachings

that I might also feed the multitudes

with fragments of your wisdom

and truth.

Let me follow in your Way, Lord Jesus,

mindful of the Cross yet knowing

though I stumble and fall many times

you will raise me up again,

and after my mission on earth has ended

you will lead me to the fullness of life

in your kingdom with all the saints

and all my family and friends

together with you in glory Forever.

Amen

By Fr. Joseph Veneroso. M.M.

   

   

ABOUT MARYKNOLL

We are a Catholic Society of priests and brothers based in the United States. We are dedicated to missionary work overseas in over 20 countries. Additionally, we animate Catholics in the United States to follow their own baptismal call to share God’s compassion and love with the poor, the sick, and all those in need.

OUR GENERAL COUNCIL

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Fr. James M. Lynch, Fr. Lam M. Hua, Fr. Lance P. Nadeau, Fr. Timothy O. Kilkelly)

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is overseen by our General Council, led by Superior General Rev. Lance P. Nadeau, M.M.

OUR FOUNDERS

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Our Co-Founders Father Price and Father Walsh)

PLACES WE SERVE

EVANGELIZATION, PARISHES, AND PROJECTS

USA

STORIES OF MISSION

(Africa) Education and Formation of African Clergy

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Africa Region will provide tuition assistance to African clergy, male and female religious at institutes of higher education or specialized training. Read More

Stories of Our Global Mission

The calling of a lifetime

The life of a Maryknoll missioner is challenging, fulfilling, and deeply rewarding. Follow your baptismal call to mission by sharing God’s compassion with the poor, the sick, and people most in need.

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier
“Go where you are needed but not wanted, and stay until you are wanted but not needed.”
– Bishop James E. Walsh, M.M.
First Maryknoll Bishop