Throughout the Gospel, Jesus spoke of the suffering, which was to come to Him because of His mission from the Father: “to give His life as a ransom for many”. He also invited His disciples to follow Him, and He reminded them that following Him meant the journey to the Cross.
To walk that journey, we must follow Jesus listen to Him, and become more like Him. In our first reading from the Old Testament Book of Exodus, Israelites were in a battle against Amalek, a pagan King. As long as Moses raised his arms and focused on God, the Israelites had the better of the battle, but when Moses lost his focus, Amalek had the better of the fight. The people of Israel won the battle because Moses was able (with the help and support of others) to keep his eye on the goal.
In the second reading today, St. Paul reminded Timothy to “remain faithful to what we have learned and believed”. He continued “I charge you to be persistent in the faith whether it is convenient or inconvenient:” Today, we too are called to remain faithful to our vocation to live the Faith of our Baptism and “proclaim the Word of God by our example – by being to be persistent in the Faith.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us of the necessity to be persistent in our prayer life – our life of Faith. The example of the judge being reminded every day by a widow to render a just decision in her case. God does not need to be reminded of our needs, but He does desire our conversation with Him – our prayer life and thus our relationship with Him.
Pope Francis constantly reminds us of our baptismal vocation to preach and proclaim Christ by the way we live our Faith: to be missionaries. Today is Mission Sunday.
When we think of serving the missionary work of the Church, it seems natural to picture first – the missionary who responds to the call of Christ to leave home and family, to be sent to bring the Gospel to others far away. I think of people like Carl Schmidt – a Passionist priest – a friend who was martyred in the mountains on the Island of Mindanao in the Philippine Islands because he was ministering to the poor and denounced the government which abused them. I remember three Missionary Sisters from Cleveland who were raped and murdered in El Salvador as they cared for and ministered to poor children.
On Wednesday, we will celebrate the feast of Saints John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues, and their companions – the North American Martyrs, – all murdered because of their Faith and missionary activity in what is now the United States and Canada. What is remarkable about these missionaries, is that after being tortured and then rescued by the Dutch, they returned to their missionary locations to face sure death. I believe that it is natural to think of these men first because these lifetime missionaries are indispensable to the Church’s Mission.
Certainly, not everyone is called to set out on a mission in a foreign land, but each one of us is called to make our faith known and lived: – beyond our home and family, our parish and neighborhood, our workplace, and our daily lives. By reason of our baptism, we are all “sent”, to bring the Gospel to the world.
Missionary activity is at the center of the Church’s life. It is the “fundamental commitment of the whole people of God.” Each one of us is called to be a missionary by living out our Baptismal faith. We are called to know that Faith and live it. We are called to prayer and sacrifice” – offering our sufferings to God the Father, in union with the suffering of Christ.
Today, Christ asks each one of us: “Will you by My witness?” Today, we are invited to question ourselves sincerely; Do I offer the world the witness the Lord asks of Me? Do I live the faith, or merely go through the motions? How do I measure up to the command of Christ “Go make disciples of all nations.” Do I have a missionary spirit?
If we are to live the life that our mission calls us to live, we must live a life in union with the Lord. Like Moses in the first reading, we need one another to hold up our arms in prayer (as he did), so that we too can participate in the missionary work of the Church.