This week culminates with the celebration of World Mission Sunday. It is a day when all Christians are reminded of their missionary nature and commitment to ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation’ (Mark 16:15).
Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation begins with the words, ‘The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus’. It is the same joy that sent Mary hurrying across the hill country of Judah to visit Elizabeth. It is the same joy that made Elizabeth exclaim, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb’ (Luke 1:42). It is the joy experienced by Zacchaeus, the tax collector and Nicodemus, the Pharisee. It is the joy of the Samaritan woman at the well and it is the joy of Bartimaeus, whose sight was restored. It is the joy of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb and it is the joy of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after they had recognised Jesus in the breaking of the bread. It is the joy the frightened disciples experienced in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. It is the joy that makes our hearts burn within us. It is the joy that makes people exclaim, ‘They are filled with new wine’ (Acts 1:13). It is the joy of having a personal encounter with Jesus. The encountered Jesus is made known to all, fearlessly.
Where in my life have I encountered Jesus? What is my personal experience of Jesus? Who is the Jesus that I make known to the world? I was once asked, ‘What do you know about Jesus that you did not read in a book or that someone did not tell you?’
In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus says, ‘You are the light of the world … let your light shine before others’. Each of us has a light to shine upon this earth. This week the Hindu community celebrates the festival of Diwali. It is the festival of light that commemorates the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness, and of truth over untruth.
Let this festival be a reminder to us to let our light shine – the light that flows from our encounter with Jesus, the light that makes known the glory of God, the light that reaches out to everyone, especially the poor and needy of the world.
READ: Pope Francis’ Message for World Mission Sunday 2017
CONSIDER: A Reflection on World Mission Sunday