Baptized and Sent

Baptized And Sent

Pope Francis has dedicated October 2019 as the Extraordinary Missionary Month to renew the “missionary and evangelizing zeal” for the whole Church.[1]  All Christians are called to be missionaries of the Gospel of salvation to all people, at all times, and in all places. However, the Extraordinary Missionary Month is intended for the Church to focus on the mission to the nations (ad gentes), namely, to those who have not heard of it.

In his letter for this occasion, Pope Francis recalled the words of St. Pope Paul VI, “Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity; she exists in order to evangelize.”

This mission to proclaim the Gospel of the Church is a mission of all Christians, by the virtue of our baptism. Thus, in order to emphasize this universal vocation, Pope Francis chose as the theme for the month: “Baptized and Sent.”

Every Christian is baptized and sent to evangelize.

The words of Jesus that we hear on this coming 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Luke 10: 1-12, 17-20) are still true today. “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.”  According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2015, Christians made up 31.2% of the world’s 7.2 billion people. In other words, each Christian has two people with whom he/she is commissioned to share the Gospel of God’s salvation.

First, I have to ask myself, “Have I done my two-people share?” And if I have, don’t stop.

And as disciples of Jesus, that mission of preaching the Gospel is today: “The kingdom of God is at hand for you.” These words of Jesus carry a sense of urgency. Now! This moment!

There is also a sense of the reality and concreteness in evangelization. In my life, my words, my attitude, and my presence, “the kingdom of God is at hand for you.”

But in the Church, it’s never me and Jesus alone. Jesus also tells us to “ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” We live the missionary vocation of the Church by praying for more missionaries. The Salesian Family has a great history of missionary zeal since Don Bosco sent out the first group of missionaries in 1875. We pray that all the followers of Don Bosco live this zeal today, and that more Salesians respond to the call to be missionaries ad gentes.

We are also sharers of the mission when we pray for, encourage, and support missionaries who have embraced the commission of Jesus and are now “laboring in the harvest” away from families and homeland, including in places where they face persecution and danger because they are missionaries and followers of Jesus Christ.

July 3, 2019 - 9:39am

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