by Fr Francis Anthony
2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18
Theme: You Shall Be My Witnesses
Today is Mission Sunday. We are being reminded of our role in the church.
Mission Sunday is not for us just to pray for all the missionaries who are on the various parts of the world but to remind each of us we are the missionaries.
Be my witnesses – that is the theme. How am I making God’s love not just manifest, God’s love present among us today? How, with my limited abilities may be, but yet I am a disciple of hope to the others?
My dear friends, today’s Gospel should open our eyes a little. To make us look into what I am that two men who went to pray, one a Pharisee, pompous guy, he was there sitting right in the front of the temple or rather in the sanctuary and he was just saying I am such a good person, I fast, I pray, I’m not like the other people who are adulterers, who are cheaters, whereas the other man, the tax collector, he in front of God, he knew his position. He needs Him to help him to be a disciple. And he doesn’t make the mark though Christ has said to be my disciples, to bear witness. He knows he is not making the mark. He just simply says:-
God, be merciful to me. I am a sinner.
This man has got a vision. He is able to see and that vision helps him to be a faithful disciple.
Very often many of us without realising it, without articulating it so bluntly as I am not adulterers, I am not unjust like this man or the others but spiritual pride gets over us and we come to church and we pray, telling God all the things that I did.
My dear friends, at the moment, since the 12th of this month right up to the 30th of this month, the Bishops of Asia and as far as our conference is concern, all the archbishops of Peninsular church, of Sarawak and Sabah and our Bishop because he is the President of the Conference of the Bishops here in Malaysia, Singapore, he is there. And this is the outflow of the Vatican II Council where the church has to reflect and to see how it is. In the Vatican II, the big word was aggiornamento, italian word, to update. And the Bishops are there to see how is it relevant, the church is relevant, and how are we making it relevant in Asia.
This is not something independently. The Pope himself has sent a video message and in that message, he is saying what we have to do but this is what it means – Synodality, that we walk together. And Pope Francis is making every effort to see how this Council that took place for a few of us during our lifetime, 1962 ended in 1965. And the latest Herald it carries a gist of what happened in that Council and there was such a radical change in the parishes because of that Council. For very many of you, it is history. Let us always be aware and to walk with the church.
Am I aware what is the church is today? For very many of us, a church is a building, I go there, I pray, I finish, I fast/abstain on certain days, I receive communion. But that document is telling us how we are to live our faith today. The Italian word is very beautiful though I know that language a little. Updating, aggiornamento. Giorno means day, to update. Am I updating my faith?
Yes, the Missionary Sunday is asking us to see our role – are we witnesses? Yes, very many of us, missionary means those guys who are working in Africa, from one country to another country they have gone. Like a few years ago, we had the French fathers here, the missionaries. They were responsible for the building of this church, Air Itam and this in our life, in my lifetime.
No, we are the missionaries today. Let us pray that we will make Christ known, make Christ loved. It is our duty. We do not have foreigners come and tell us what to do. And how am I and it is a very beautiful article in the Herald, tomorrow is Deepavali, what does it mean to me? Yes, that article is right on the back page is challenging me because if I am not bothered about the festivities of the others I would very boldly say I have to question my faith. Our faith is one to reach out to others with love, with compassion, with understanding and not to condemn any religion. Let us ask God to help us in this.
And as I said earlier, the Youth of the parish, of the Diocese rather, are gathered. Youth today. Let us help them, the seniors, to live their faith. Not because they are the future church leaders and guys who are being taking control. No. Today we have to help them to live their role in the church today. Very important, Pope Francis a few months ago when he met, he addressed the Youth, he told You are the NOW leaders, not the future. They are the NOW people. Let us help them.
And today is Missionary Sunday and last night I was preaching I forgot today’s collection. All the collection that’s made today is sent to Rome for a common pool and that will be dispensed to any part of the world, not the Catholic part. Any part of the world that is suffering. That money is sent to them. Let us be in solidarity with the people who are less fortunate due to the various conditions, the climate, the political situation, famine and so forth that we be one with them, to think about them and to help them financially.
Click below to listen to the homily and watch the video:-