Sunday, 24 October 2021 : Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Mission Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday all of us mark the occasion of the World Mission Sunday, reminding all of us that all of us as Christians are called to be missionaries of our faith, of the truth and love of God. All of us through our baptism have received this mission from the Lord, the same mission that all of us share in our Christian faith, and we must never have the thinking that only those who are called as missionaries or those who are members of the ordained or the religious brothers and sisters who are called to a life of mission for God.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, the words of the Lord proclaiming His care and love for His people, in gathering all of them, scattered from among the nations and lost, humiliated and without a leader, as He would become their Lord and guide once again, and reunite them into the land that He would lead them into. And this was the promise and reassurance that the Lord made to His people, who at that time were in the midst of the lowest points of their fortunes, surrounded and oppressed by their neighbouring nations.

At that time, the prophet Jeremiah ministered to the people of God in Judah, at the last years of its existence, after the northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by the Assyrians for over a century previously, and its people exiled and scattered among the nations. Judah would also follow suit shortly as it was attacked, its capital Jerusalem besieged and destroyed by the Babylonians, and most of the populations brought off into exile in Babylon and other placed, while some sought refuge in Egypt. All these happened during the lifetime and ministry of prophet Jeremiah.

Therefore, at that time, Jeremiah spoke the word of God in consoling and reassuring His people at the time of their great misfortune and misery. The Lord wanted all of them to know that He did not leave them alone, and He was always with them even through their darkest moments, and He sent to them Jeremiah to be the one to reveal to them His will, His intention and love. Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, Jeremiah was sent as not just a prophet but also as a missionary to reveal God’s truth and love to His people.

Then, in our psalm today this is reiterated again, as the song of joy speaks of how God brought back the exiles and all those people that had been scattered, and how they went in sorrow and God reunited them and returned them to their homeland in great joy. God had done great things for His people, and He came to them, seeking them, sending prophets, messengers as missionaries to find them and to reach out to them, and to touch their hearts and minds, to put in them once again the love and faith for God.

In our second reading today, we heard of the passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which, as repeatedly mentioned throughout that Epistle, the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of all mankind and the whole world was presented as the High Priest of all, in presenting His offering on behalf of all of us, which is worthy for the atonement of all of our innumerable sins. That is because Christ acted as the High Priest of all, by offering the perfect and worthy offering, of Himself as the Sacrifice, the Lamb of God, put to death and slain on the Cross, which is His Altar.

Through this Epistle, the author of the Epistle, which was directed to the Jewish converts and other Jews among the people, both in Judea and around the world, wanted to tell all of them the same message that God has given their ancestors through the prophet Jeremiah. God loved all of them and wanted to be reunited with them, and as all of us had been separated from Him through sin, He sent us all the deliverance through His Saviour, Who is none other than His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, born into this world, the Divine Word Incarnate that became our Light and Salvation.

This is the same Christ Who in our Gospel passage today heard the cries of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, who was blind for a long time. He cried out for the Lord to have mercy on Him and to heal him from his affliction. And when the people around him scolded him and tried to silence him, he cried out all the louder, calling on the Lord, Who heard him perfectly and came to him. The Lord wanted to heal him and restore his sight, and asked the blind man if that was what he desired, and then healed his eyes, by the power of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as I mentioned earlier at the start of today’s discourse, all of us are reminded through today’s Scripture passages of our mission as Christians, as those who have answered God’s call and received baptism to be members of His Church. All of us share this calling to be evangelistic and missionary in our lives, which is not just limited to those who have given themselves to the sacred orders or the consecrated life as religious brothers and sisters. The Lord calls on each and every one of us to play our part in the mission of the Church.

And how do we do that, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is why we have to recall what we have just heard in our Scripture passages today, as well as what we have just discussed and reflected just now. The Lord is calling us to do whatever we can, in our respective capacities and abilities, in whatever opportunities we have, in reaching out to our fellow brothers and sisters, to show them the truth and love of God and to be exemplary and as inspirations in how each one of us ought to live out our lives as good and dedicated Christians.

That is the essence of the Lord’s Great Commission to all of us, His Church, as He proclaimed to His disciples just before He was about to ascend to Heaven, that they all are to go forth to the peoples of all the nations, and to make disciples of them, and to baptise them all in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the mission which the Lord has entrusted to all of us, for us to be His missionaries in this world, through our everyday living and our actions that lead many others to God and His salvation.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate this World Mission Sunday today, all of us must not be idle in living our Christian lives with true and genuine faith. We cannot be hypocrites who profess to believe in God and yet our actions show otherwise. Not only that it does not lead others towards God, but worse still, if our lives cause scandal to our faith, we can end up leading more people to leave the Church and to turn away from God’s truth and salvation. And with that, the responsibility for such event will hang heavily upon us.

We have to live our lives with faith, to reach out to the marginalised and those who are without hope and are downtrodden. Just like the Lord reassuring His people, gathering the lost and scattered ones back and calling on them to return to Him, and just as He has shown mercy and love on the blind man, healing Bartimaeus from his blindness, so all of us have also been called to follow Our Lord’s examples in love, in sharing this love He has for us, through us, with one another.

How do we do this? By genuinely loving our fellow brothers and sisters, and all those whom we encounter in life. We have to show our love for our loved ones, for our neighbours, friends and others, and even to acquaintances and strangers, and also, our enemies and those who hate us, that through our love and patience with them, we may even make them realise the errors of their ways, and be reconciled with them, just as the Lord had sought to be reconciled with us. It has to begin with us and our attitudes towards each other. As long as we are genuine in living our faith, then we are already good missionaries.

On this World Mission Sunday therefore, let us pray for one another, that we may be ever more effective and sincere missionaries of our Christian faith, that we may ever be more genuine in how we live up to our faith that we may always inspire more and more people to follow the Lord, and to touch the lives of more people, especially those who have not known or have distanced themselves from God. We should then also pray for those who have dedicated themselves especially to missionary work all over the world, all those who dedicated themselves to proclaim and teach the faith to diverse groups of peoples, both within and outside our Church communities.

May the Lord continue to be with us and guide us in our journey of faith and help us all to be good and dedicated missionaries that are committed to serve the Lord and His people daily, at all times. May God bless all of our good works, efforts and endeavours from now on, all for His greater glory, the holy mission of His Church for the salvation of souls. Amen.

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