Mission Sunday 2022.

                                                        

This year it might be an idea to celebrate Mission Sunday and Diwali together as both are dovetailing in terms of festival dates and meaning. Mission Sunday, our Christian Mission Awareness day is about being a light to the nations and Diwali (October 24th) is the Hindu religious festival of lights which symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.

Pope Francis recommended that the theme for Mission Sunday on October 23rd be: “You shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). This recalls the bond between every missionary and Christ himself and expresses the face that no missionary acts alone on their own behalf but that each disciple is sent by Jesus to the world “not only to carry out the mission, but also and above all to live the mission entrusted to them; not only to bear witness, but also and above all to be witnesses of Christ.”

Each one of us is a missionary called to witness and be a light wherever we are. As we look at today’s social reality we see those who have come from the ‘ends of the earth’ standing at our doorstep looking for hospitality; migrants looking for a place to stay as they flee from war and terror; we look at the Horn of Africa and feel the pain of the children and people starving; we see the people of Pakistan suffering from the effects of unprecedented floods that has ruined the lives, homes, land of the people for years to come; we wonder how we can be a light in the midst of all the bickering in political camps throughout the world? We take note of what is happening in Iran as the women move into ‘people power mode’ as great witnesses seeking light. The list is endless. 

Pope Francis points out ‘how the ends of the earth are not only the geographical ones, but always include the new geographical, social, existential horizons, towards the places and human situations of the border, where witness is made to the love of Christ towards all peoples, cultures, social states’. This is our privilege and challenge.

                                    

The feast of the Guardian Angels, October 2nd seemed an apt day to visit the flood victims in Dadu, Pakistan, where the land is submerged under a big lake of water as far as the eye can see. It was a shock to the system to see it. “I have seen many humanitarian disasters in the world, but I have never seen climate carnage on this scale”, said the UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres, as he visited areas worst affected by the unprecedented flooding. The scale of the disaster is almost overwhelming – 33 million people out of a population of about 229 million affected, almost 1,500 killed and damage estimated now at $30 billion. Pakistan contributes less than 1% in global emissions and has played almost no part in creating the climate crisis.   Angelina Jolie visited Dadu recently and also Malala in the past week, trying to highlight the plight of the people of Pakistan and Mother Earth, all totally helpless and drowned in deep waters with rotten cotton, bananas, mango trees etc. sitting in the water.  

It so happened that on the Guardian Angel’s feastday, we found ourselves as guardian angels sent in the name of other guardian angels who contributed financially towards helping the people we met on the side of the road possessing nothing. They were hungry and it was into late evening when we met some families who were starving all day and one mother went into the water sodden fields to pick cotton that was already rotten, to try to get a few rupees to feed the family.  Nobody in that village had eaten that day.  Thanks to you we were able to give them food, bedspreads, shoes, clothes and other necessities to help them through their difficult time.  Many were Hindus who will be celebrating Diwali tomorrow.  God used us to be a light for them and thank you for supporting us and enabling us to respond to their needs there and then.  As long as the fund lasts they will be seen to, with visits from our co-workers in Pakistan. The people have great resilience and that is a blessing.  Disaster is no stranger to them.  God is near to them and they have built a temple made of mud in their midst which is decorated with tinsel and glitter, keeping their focus on the Horizon.                                                       Jesus said: “I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly”.

            

                                                                                                  Mission Sunday Blessings.

Diwali Blessings.