Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The Catholic Defender: The Love of Missionaries
Acts 1:8 Jesus says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
We see the Great Commission of Christ at the Ascension of Jesus, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20)
Jesus taught his followers to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to welcome the stranger, to cloth the naked, to care for the sick, and to visit the prisoner.
This is the heart of the Missionary. We see this from the beginning of the Church.
There are many Orders of Religious who serve among the poorest of the poor, along with many lay volunteers to help.
One place that has need of missionaries is Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is an island in the northern Indian Ocean off the coast of South Asia.
It is close to India with a Buddhist heritage.
The Catholic Church continues to make inroads there largely due because of the various Missionaries there.
I am reporting on one special lay missionary serving at Sri Lanka near the village of Kanda.
Evelyn Takahashi is a Missionary from the Philippines who has been living there among the people.
Evelyn is a Facebook friend of mine and what a great blessing it is to be able to reach and support others around the world to build up the Kingdom of God.
It is a hilly/mountainous terrain with a lot of rain in the rainy season.
People will walk great distances each Sunday to attend Holy Mass walking through the canons, the valleys, passing despite the great cool rainfall.
Because of the support given the Missionaries, they will give food items to the people.
I have always been taught that the Missionaries are the extension of our hands when we give to support these causes.
St. James asks this question, "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?" (James 2:14-16)
St. James is bringing home the importance of Jesus teaching to do the Corporal Works of Mercy.
We are to see Jesus in each and every person.
That is the calling we each share. Evangelization begins at home. We are all involved in some fachion if we are following the Faith.
We are to toil and labor to do the Lord's work, we become His hands when we do His will, we become His feet when we go where he calls, we become His voice when we proclaim his Church.
St. James continues, James 5:7-8, "Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand."
We are the presence of the Lord to those who are in need, doing His will.
St. Peter gives this challenge, "But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name. For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:16-17)
In other words, as Christians, we should not allow ourselves to become idle, to become so attached to things that we forget our real purpose in life.
To care for those who are suffering.
The need is great and there is so much to be done.
It is not so much of how successful we are, but rather, how faithful we should be.
Jesus gives us the basis for his teaching and for our participation stating: "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp-stand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5:13-16)
Some are called to be missionaries to go where the need is great and thank God for them.
We need people to give this kind of commitment.
We also need to renew our faith in our families. To bring back the light of faith that anchors the imagination of the mind to seek to do God's will.
Please keep in prayer Evelyn and all our missionaries serving throughout the world. They truly are the hands who serve those in great need. Many are facing persecution particularly in the Middle East because of the violence there. Please keep them in your prayers and pray that our Government will finally do something about that. You become a participant when you support them. God bless you and Merry Christmas.
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