From the Pastor's Desk
In today’s Gospel Jesus was asked to test him , " Is it lawful to pay the census Tax to Caesar? ( Mathew 22:17). For a faithful Jew whose promised land was occupied by gentile Rome, this was really several questions in one. Since God prohibits graven images, was it lawful to traffic in coins that bore the images, was it lawful to traffic in coins that bore the image of an emperor who claimed divine status, to acknowledge the emperor’s authority, to fund the emperor’s projects/.If agreed with the tax, he would scandalize the devout by failing to champion God’s sovereignty. If Jesus opposed the tax, he would be considered an anti-Roman revolutionary. Jesus response is sometimes interpreted as having it both ways. But that’s precisely what Jesus is not doing. Jesus refuses to slit life into two discrete compartments, independent of each other. God getting one part of me, "the real world" where I live and work getting the other. For someone who belongs wholly to God, no part of life is strictly "Sacred" or "secular". Everything, Everyone is God’s, who calls even the Pagan King Cyrus "my anointed".
Today is called World Mission Sunday. Over one billion Catholics all over the world observe today as World Mission Sunday. This annual observance was instituted 87 years ago in 1926 by a Papal decree issued by Pope Pius XI. Every year since then, the universal Church has dedicated the month of October to reflection on and prayer for the missions. On World Mission Sunday, Catholics gather to celebrate the Eucharist and to contribute to a collection for the work of evangelization around the world. This annual celebration gives us a chance to reflect on the importance of mission work for the life of the Church. It reminds us that we are one with the Church around the world and that we are all committed to carrying on the mission of Christ, however different our situations may be.
The Holy Father’s Mission Sunday messages: Pope Benedict XVI, in his World Mission Sunday messages stressed the importance of Christian charity in action as the key note of evangelization. He encouraged churches with a shortage of priests to get them from countries with many priests. In the Pauline Year, he encouraged everyone “to take renewed awareness of the urgent need to proclaim the Gospel”. He reminded us that the “the goal of the Church’s mission was to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel” and exhorted all Christians “to redouble their commitment to participate in the missionary activity that is an essential component of the life of the Church.“
Pope Francis, in his first World Mission Sunday message, challenges us to proclaim courageously and in every situation the Gospel of Christ, a message of hope, reconciliation, communion, a proclamation of God’s closeness, his mercy, his salvation, and a proclamation that the power of God’s love is able to overcome the darkness of evil and guide us on the path of goodness. The missionary Church: The Church, according to Vatican Council II, is "missionary" in her very nature because her founder, Jesus Christ, was the first missionary. God the Father sent God the Son into the world with a message of God’s love and salvation. Thus, the evangelizing mission of the Church is essentially the announcement of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation as these are revealed to mankind through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.
How should we evangelize? By exemplary and transparent Christian life, by prayer and by financial support. The most powerful means of preaching Christ is by living a truly Christian life -- a life filled with love, mercy, kindness, compassion and a spirit of forgiveness and service. Prayer is the second means of missionary work. Jesus said: “Without me you can do nothing.” Therefore, prayer is necessary for anyone who wishes to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. All missionary efforts also require financial support because the love of God can often be explained to the poor only by providing them with food, medicine and means of livelihood. Hence, on this mission Sunday, let us learn to appreciate our missionary obligation and support the Church’s missionary activities by leading transparent Christian lives, by fervent prayers, and by generous donations.