World Mission Sunday 2023
Mass For The Evangelization of Peoples (22/10/2023)
(Isaiah 60: 1-6; Psalm 67; 1Timothy 2: 1-8; Luke 24:44-53)
Fr. Samuel Odeh
Let all the peoples praise you, O God (Psalm 67:5)
Today we celebrate World Mission Sunday and our Mass is for the evangelization of all peoples. Among the greatest gifts Christians have received are the Gospel and our faith encounter with the person of Jesus Christ. The Church by its very nature is missionary, beginning with Jesus who was the first missionary from his God and Father. Jesus, in obedience to God, was sent on our behalves to bring us the Good News of salvation. Anyone who has had an encounter necessarily also bears witness; they want to pass it on. What this means is that our practice of the faith and our entire way of life should translate into mission.
Our first reading for this year’s Mission Sunday is a prophecy from Isaiah concerning God’s promised salvation for all nations. The psalm selection is a prayer that God’s intent of universal salvation be fulfilled. In our ur second reading from 1Timothy Paul declares that his mission as an apostle to the nations is made possible by Jesus Christ who won the role of mediator by giving himself “as a ransom for all”. This is because “God our Savior” “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”. Our Gospel is from Luke’s account of an encounter two of Jesus’ disciples had with him after his resurrection from the dead. It is no coincidence that this encounter is represented by an exposition of the word of God and a celebration of the Eucharist after which the risen Jesus is recognized. The immediate impact on the two disciples was “hearts burning” within them as if fueled by a clearer vision of God’s plans, as well as energized feet marching to share the joyful news of their encounter with the risen Jesus.
We can contribute to the call from Christ to be missionaries through our prayers and our activities on behalf of his Church. We take a special collection every World Mission Sunday to indicate the importance of our material offerings for the work of God. We unite our sufferings to that of Christ as an offering for the entire Church. The personal witness of our lives is itself missionary activity. Today, let us place men and women missionaries in a special place in our hearts. They sometimes have to carry on their work of spreading the Christian message in distant lands amid hardships, making generous sacrifices. We pray especially today that the mission of the Church will bring an end to injustice, violence, hate, divisions, wars, and the many other wounds inflicted on the human family. Our prayer is that no one be excluded from or denied a chance in having a share in the peace and salvation that the Good News of Christ brings.
Jesus is alive; forever he is alive. Amen (Mystery of Faith)