09/09/2013 19:58


"He now went up onto the mountain and summoned those he wanted. So they came to him and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to proclaim the message.' (Mk 3, 13‑14)"In order to evangelize the world, it is necessary to have apostles who are "experts" in the celebration, worship and meditation of the Eucharist‑' (John Paul II, Eucharist and Mission, 2004)

“The world of today is in need of people who will proclaim and bear witness that it is Christ who teaches us the art of living and the path to true happiness (...) the word of the proclamation must always be immersed in an intense relationship with Christ and also in an infective life of prayer.

The world of today is in need of people who will speak to God, in order to speak of God [...] I'm convinced that the number of new evangelizers will increase even more, with the purpose to give life to a real transformation that the world of today needs. "(Benedict XVI, October 15, 2011)

“1 want to ask you a favor: that we walk together, that we take care of each other... Do not hurt each other, take care of yourselves, take care of life, take care of the family; take care of the nature, take care of the children, take care of the elderly; that there is no hatred, no dispute, leave out the envy, do not criticize anyone, engage into a conversation ...   May the desire to take care of each other grow in your heart. And get closer to God. God is good, God always forgives, God understands. Don't be afraid of him because he is the father... Come near him. And may the Virgin bless you abundantly and may she take care of yourselves as a mother. (Francis, March 19, 2013)

    In order to emphasize the beauty of World Mission Sunday 2013, which will take place on October 20, let us be inspired by the words of St. Paul to Timothy: “'That is why I am reminding you now to fair into a flame the gift of God that you possess through the laying on of my hands. God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power and love and self‑control. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to our Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but share in my hardship  for the sake of the gospel, relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy ‑‑ not because of anything we ourselves had done but for his own purpose and by his own grace.' (2 Tm 1,6-8)

In fall, when the sky is blue, when the temperature is nice, even if everything in our lives is not always easy, light tends to bring our smile back. Everything kids us then towards the good and the beautiful, everything allows us to rise, and this is what we are all searching for. But be careful! The outer beauty and goodness do not make us forget the drama of Paul's letter to Timothy. When he writes this letter, Paul is in prison, he knows that he will be executed; he will be sentenced to death because he proclaims a God who is love. From his prison, near the Roman forum, he learns that some people that he had convinced with his words turned their backs on him. But he remains motivated by the fire of the Spirit: he is not afraid of death. If he has a fear, it is to learn that the people he met, turn away from Christ and forget him.

Many Christians of the Papua New Guinea Church are experiencing the same feeling that Paul experienced in his prison. Today, some people turn their backs on the Church and wonder about the meaning of faith. Why are this people turn their backs on Christ? Why we don't believe in God anymore? Why? What have we done (or not done) to come to this situation?

The upheaval of the civilization in which we live, makes this phrase of Saint Paul resound: "Dear son of mine, l am reminding you now to fair into a flame the gift of God that you possess..."This word sounds like thunder. The gift of God that we received during our baptism cannot fall asleep.

Let us not allow our faith to lie dormant or to fall into dormancy and let us take seriously Paul's call to awaken it. This idea of "awakening" is fundamental in the Gospel, in our faith and in a process of the new evangelization. Yes, we must awaken the gift of God within us; a gift that spreads throughout Asia, Africa, America, Oceania and Europe, and that seems to fall asleep here at home!

"So you are never  to be ashamed of witnessing to our Lord"

The word  'wake” to vigilance. It is against drunkenness and invites us to lucidity. Diadochos of Photiki (Fourth century BC) said 'Every day, ask God to grant you an enlightened soul." Today, it is exactly what St. Paul invites us to do: we are called to awaken the gift d God within us, a gift that we received during our baptism. I think about all those people, who no longer walk through the doors of our churches and need this word, but who can fall asleep because of the cultures and the "worlds" of our society that emphasize values vet different those of the Gospel.

The Gospel continuously invites us to conversion, and today, St. Paul continuously calls us to be people who are awaken and enlivened by the Holy Spirit. How good it is for Jesus' disciples, who are sent to proclaim the Good News, to hear the words of Paul the Apostle to Timothy: '1 am reminding you now to fair into a flame the gift of God that you possess." (2 Tm 1, 6) God gave us a gift during our baptism: the gift of his Spirit that was fortified through the anointing with chrism, on the day of our confirmation. Today, enliven your heart, your mind and your life: do not be ashamed to bear witness. Saint Paul tells us that, "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power and love and self-control." (2 Tm 1, 7) This gift of God must remain awake within us. Indeed, we should not be ashamed of witnessing to our Lord, but with God's strength, we are rather encouraged to take our share of suffering for the proclamation of the Gospel. (cf.2 Tm 1,s)

To give an account of the hope that is within us

In this Year of Faith, and invited by Pope Francis, who, since the beginning of his pontificate, invites us to experience the dynamics of the first announcement at the heart of our secularized society, it is imperative not to abandon the proclamation of Jesus Christ and to give an account of the hope that is within us. As stated by Peter the Apostle in his first epistle: "Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their accusations." (1 P 3, 15‑16)

Let us work for the evangelization

In today's world ‑ and at any time of our lives ‑ it is necessary to work for the evangelization to the ends of the earth! For that purpose, the gateway is to give back to the person, "the socially excluded", its human dignity and allow not only a relationship, but also a communion and intimacy with Jesus Christ: it is him who initiates. The first attitude of the missionary disciple is to let himself be evangelized! In other words, it is to experience and enter into a greater and stronger intimacy with Christ. How do we nourish our faith? How much importance do we give to God's Word, to prayer and to worship? In our parishes and religious communities in PNG, we are fortunate to have dedicated people, who give themselves for the proclamation of the Good News; groups that share the Word of God, schools and many prayer or worship groups of the Blessed Sacrament. It enriches our faith, as well as our families and communities of life; that intimacy allows the Community ‑ Church to be in communion with Christ even more!

It is through the attention of Christ in others, but also through the personal encounter with the Word of God, through prayer, worship and the celebration of the sacraments, that our faith is strengthened and awakens the gift of God that is within each and every one of us. We can then live a joyful proclamation of Jesus Christ and give an account of the hope that is within us! And this, without seeking fame or recognition ... We are sent into the world to proclaim Jesus Christ, who died and rose for us and for all humanity, as the servants of the Word of Life. God chose us and sent us in order to collaborate in his work, but he is the master! And if we take part in the task of evangelization, we can hear Christ say: "1 shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master's business; I call you friends, because 1 have made known to you everything have learnt from my Father." (d. in 1s, 15)

Sent into the world

The first to receive a mission is Jesus. Jesus prayed during his baptism by John the Baptist: "Heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in a physical form, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'you are my Son; today have I fathered you."(cf. Lk 3, 21‑22) "Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert." (d. U4, 1 )

Luke shows us Jesus at the beginning of his ministry; we can see him define his own mission by referring to a passage from the book of Isaiah, in which he describes the task entrusted by the Spirit of God to the one that he calls the Messiah: "He has sent me to bring the news to the afflicted, to soothe the broken‑hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives." (cf. Isaiah 6t, 1‑2).

This does not weaken the purpose of our mission amongst our brothers and sisters, but constitutes what is most essential to it. Therefore, Jesus sent the Apostles on a mission around the world amongst all nations, towards all the boundaries, in order to make disciples. He promised them that they would not have to do this alone, because the Father would send the Holy Spirit upon them.

It is the Holy Spirit who makes us discover our mission; we do not give ourselves a mission, it is given to us by God himself during our baptism, for the ever greater glory of God. Jesus, said: your mission is my mission. Go, do not fear, I'll be there. And as baptized people, our mission is to experience the joy of the Risen Lord and share it with everyone. "I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you forever (Jn 14,16)

When a friend or a loved one leaves us, our heart turns towards those who remain! Jesus, who is about to leave his sadden disciples, wants to entrust them to someone who will fill the emptiness of his departure through his presence. The name of this friend is the "Consoler" and its mission is to remain with the disciples forever. Thus, when the Lord was lifted up into heaven, the Spirit came upon the disciples and covered them with his loving presence, full of the Father's tenderness.

To the ends of the earth

Baptized in the Holy Spirit and at the service of Christ's mission, we have been doing for some time, as believers, the experience of renewal and the adaptation of a new way of being in the world. The purpose of our entrusted mission is firstly, the service of faith. Indeed, faith in Christ is what leads our commitment. It is also the integrating principle and the inseparable link between faith and justice towards a better world. This principle of the service of faith and justice can be achieved in our world if the dialogue and the awareness of others become essential to our way of bearing witness and being a missionary disciple. Thus, a dynamic relationship develops between people, cultures and peoples, through the proclamation of the Word of God and the dialogue with the "New Worlds."

The new context in which we live our mission as baptized people is marked by deep changes of civilization. We live in a period of great social, economic and political changes. We are witnessing serious ethical, cultural, environmental, and conflicts of any kind. And all this, while the communications between peoples become more intense. Globalization gives birth to a universal common culture that has an impact on all cultures, and this to the ends of the earth. Our PNG  and SI cultures are not spared. This results in assimilation policies that deny to individuals and groups, the right to live and develop their own culture.

But the context in which we live is also characterized by new opportunities. This is why we must dare to be creative. Amid these changes, the disciple of Jesus Christ‑the missionary of the Word of God, man and woman at the service of a better world ‑ must continue to proclaim the Gospel as well as the thinking and the attitude of Jesus towards his contemporaries. Our open culture emphasizes the autonomy, the individualism and the immediate, while the world has a great need to build a united future. We have the best means of communication, and yet people experience isolation and exclusion. Some people, who are getting richer, take advantage of the situation, while others are deprived of wealth. Opposing worlds and their borders are being closed more each day. At the same time, there is a need to defend its own cultural identity. We are aware of the depths of life, while the human dignity is threatened ‑ not to mention the environmental threat to the planet and our countries

An alliance with the "socially excluded"

Globalization and new technologies open up "new worlds", cross the borders of solitude and offer to us places, unknown until now, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, globalization speeds up the expansion of a global culture impregnated with moral relativism, hedonism and materialism. This leads to a superficial and false representation of God, the Church, the faithful ... and the human person. In this new context and environment, young people and those who are not so young are isolated and left alone, struggling to find a meaning to their lives. This situation becomes both a challenge and a mission place for every disciple of Jesus. All these changes require us to work at the frontiers of culture, religion and "New Worlds" caused by postmodernity.

Globalization has broken the bonds of love and solidarity in the human family. Despite the fad that many people came out of poverty, the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. For millions of socially excluded people ‑ whether in Africa, Asia, America, Europe and Oceania ‑ globalization seems like a steamroller of cultures that exploits the weak and the poor, and increases

exclusion on the basis of religion, race and culture.

Jesus showed his preference not just towards those who lived in a certain poverty (many publicans were very rich), but also towards the socially excluded. And what Christ has always strongly denounced, it is precisely the exclusion! Our faith in Jesus Christ compels us to see the world from the marginalized perspective, by listening to them, acting with and for them, against the injustices of a worldwide dictatorship that affects our ecclesial communities at the moment.

Jesus was always welcoming to those who were committing faults, either of political morality (welcoming of the centurion, tax collectors, etc) or sexual morality (welcoming the adulterous woman, the Samaritan woman, etc). Carrying out an action of brotherhood towards a sister or a brother ostracized by a social group, takes its whole meaning: the alliance with them is the perfect illustration of the filial relationship with the Father. It is in this sense that the relationship that we might have with the socially excluded becomes sacramental. We are truly a Church if the socially excluded and the poor become the center of our evangelism.

An alliance with the poor is to go across the borders of the world of exclusions, in order to proclaim and experience Christ's call: "And the King will answer, "In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me!" (Mr 25,40) Here, the word "me" relates to the word "mine" that we notice in Jesus' words: "This is my body ... this is my Blood". It is a matter of the Real Presence in both cases. In this sense, we can speak of a meeting between the small, the vulnerable, the poor and the excluded from the technological world, the political, the social and the religious context in which we live, as a sacrament of the meeting with God. This is what the first Christians understood after the Pentecost. They celebrated the Word, broke the bread, lived in community and solidarity with the excluded, that came to share their offerings ‑ these are the people to whom the Lord sends us today!

Therefore, enliven the gift of God within you, become a witness to the ends of the earth, in order to love your brothers and sisters who live in poverty and who are isolated from the world because they are different from you!

Have a beautiful and blessed World Mission Sunday!

To go further:

1. How do we nourish our faith; the faith of our community, our families, our young

people and our not so young?

2.  How much importance do we give to the Word of God, to prayer and to worship?

3. Can you identify the "worlds" of exclusion in our society? How do you proclaim

         the Good News?

4. What about the actual presence and solidarity with the socially excluded

of this world in my parish, my community and my neighborhood today?

5. What are the means to reach those excluded from our celebrations, our society,

our prayers, our movements and associations?

6. How to work against the broader exclusions affecting our brothers and sisters in

Africa, Asia, America, Europe and Oceania