The Catholic Parish of Our Lady
and St John
Lee-on-the -Solent and Stubbington
Parish Priest: Father Francis Sasinowski (01329) 663 435
Reflection by Andrew Collins on 29th Sunday of the Year A
18th October.
Reflection Sunday Week 29 A: Mission Sunday

Today we celebrate World Mission Sunday, providing us with a moment of grace to express solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ living in poverty, violence and oppression, who are striving to preach and live the Gospel among those who have yet to receive it. We also remember our own missions as we received them at our baptisms and with it, our responsibility to pass on and spread the Good News proclaimed by Jesus Christ to his disciples.

In the Gospel today, we hear Jesus once again in conflict with the Pharisees. They cannot see who Jesus is, nor are they able to understand his teaching about the kingdom of God. He causes them to think deeply about what, in truth, belongs to God, urging them, and us, to return to the world the things which belong to it, its idols, false attractions, unhealthy desires and irrational fears, things which pass and fade to nothingness, instead giving ourselves over to the things which have permanence, the things of Heaven and to give God our unconditional love.

How well do we do that in our daily lives? Do we give ourselves to God and be his missionaries to those we encounter throughout our days, being beacons of light in a world filled with darkness and fear? Do we take the opportunities he presents us with to help others to find their way to him, helping them hand back “to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God”, that they may find a way to true fulfilment rather than the transitory, fleeting pleasures of the things of this world.

Our brothers and sisters, which we remember today, suffer greatly in their missionary work, often putting themselves in harms way in spreading the Gospel. Our mission is different, but no less challenging. To be a Catholic in western society today is seen, at best, as eccentric and slightly weird; at worst as downright dangerous and countercultural. To acknowledge God is one thing, but to believe in the words of scripture as divine authority, to refuse to accept that Jesus would have had an entirely different message if he had been born now and that he would have gone along with our selfish views is deemed wickedly old fashioned, rooted in misogynism and a desire to deny individual freedom. Yet spread his message we must, not just for the sake of our own souls, but for the good of all who live trapped in darkness, devoid of real purpose and happiness.

As we pray for missionaries around the world today, we remember Jesus own words“… when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk18.8) They are doing their part… are we doing ours?

Andrew Collins (Deacon in Training).