What does it mean to be missionary? Living as a normal teenager in America my idea of what being missionary meant was very tainted. Believing that you have to go out of the country, believing that you have to be this amazing speaker who knows every single bible verse by memory, and really thinking being a missionary was weird. Why would they give up there life, their comfort? Why would they give up everything they know to go somewhere that is so unknown? Why would they do this? These past couple of months have been a blessing to really see and live out the definition of being missionary.
Being hospitable: Treating every person as if they were Christ. Making sure they felt like home.
Encountering Christ: Encountering Christ in them even if you have to dig a little. Remembering that we were all made in his image, and that every one has Christ in them.
Dying to ourselves: Many times I don’t want to encounter the Christ in other people. I get tired, sleepy, frustrated, but I try to remember that I am fully living out the word of God when I give in my poverty. When I have to die to myself, to show people the love of God when I don’t want to. My pride and my faults usually get in the way, but when I do this with a pure heart so much joy and grace gets poured out. Then you realize that you are doing the right thing. It brings me joy because when I truly encounter Christ in others, and love them just as He has loved me, I can show them a little bit of the love that God has for us. The smile in their faces makes me thirst to be a holier person and to die more of myself. Dying of myself also means to rid of myself of the pleasures of the world. Over sleeping, showering for a longer period of time then needed, over eating all these things we can. It keeps us from fully being one with Our Father. The more we die of ourselves the less hesitation there will be of spreading the word of God, ”For woe to me if I don’t spread his word” (1 Cor 9:16). Being Catholic we are called to spread his word and make disciples of the nations, but we must start with our own nations first. Just sit back and think about this. What if we actually lived our lives how God tells us to? What if we loved each other as God has loved us? Or even just as he told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. What if we actually let Gods will be done with in us instead of our will? What if we actually lived by the law that God gave us to live by? What kind of world would we be living in? No one feeling alone, no one taken advantage of, no wars, no kids dying of starvation, no one committing suicide; we would be free. Free from the snares and lies that the devil puts into our head. Free, because we will be living out God’s will. Brothers and sisters we ask for world peace, we ask for the end of teens taking their own life, we ask for the end of starvation. We have the solution to all these right in front of our eyes. It’s speaking into our ears. Brothers and sisters, our Father knows what is best for us. He gave us the solution. He gave his only son to show us.
The urgency: Just as John Paul II said in The Mission of the Redeemer, “ My direct contact with people who do not know Christ has convinced me even more of the urgency of missionary activity.” Pope John II encyclical is all about the urgency of the call to missions for us as Catholics. He said that seeing those people who do not know Christ, who do not even know what the word savior means is what gave him that urgency to go out and spread the message of being missionary. For myself, hearing that even some of my friends are killing themselves because we have failed to love them, kills me. Knowing that if just one person smiled at them, if just one person just tried to find the Christ that is in them; that they might still be alive. It kills me because before I heard this urgent message I don’t think I would have been that one person that would have led them towards the light. I would be so worried with my own life, and my own desires to lift anyone up around me.
Brothers and sisters we don’t have to leave the country. Doctors, lawyers, astronauts, police officers, actors, singers can all be missionary. Being missionary can be brought down to this: Love just as God has loved you.
How do we do this? It’s waking up in the morning and remembering who you are. Remembering that you are a child of God. Remembering the urgency of the call. Remembering that your every action, your every single word has a huge effect on the people you are about to encounter. Some days you have to remind yourself every minute (those are the hard days), but at no time will this be easy. This is actually hard to do, but we are called to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. Know that it wont be easy, but with God all is possible. It’s a day-to-day walk of faith. We will fall. We will stumble. That’s when our faith is tested. Will you get back up or will you fall down and give up? It’s easy to give up, but I will get back up because I know the urgent message. I know how many people are suffering because of the lack of this message. I rejoice, rejoice because I know when my faith is tested it’s a call into a deeper relationship with Our Father.
Brothers and sisters, I leave you with this, please know that if we want world peace, if we want people to stop killing themselves, it starts today. It starts with you. Will you say yes to this call?
Father we thank you for your words and your love. Amen.