Here I am. Send me.

| Deacon Mickey Friesen | October 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

During this year marked by the disruption and pain brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves bound together with the rest of the world in ways unknown before, as we all reckon with our human frailty and uncertainty about the way ahead. To some degree, we are all in the same boat. It is in the midst of these troubled waters that the missionary journey of the Church continues. God is still calling and sending forth disciples to bring good news to the poor, light to those in darkness and liberty to captives. God is still asking, “Whom shall I send?” (Is 6:8).

On this World Mission Sunday Oct. 18, we are invited to consider this question in light of our baptismal call to be a missionary Church. How might God be sending us forth at this time? It’s a time to ponder our own missionary vocation and to stand in solidarity with the Church’s mission around the world. How might we echo the words of the prophets and apostles before us who responded to God’s call and we ourselves say, “Here I am, send me” (Is 6:8)?

Like Peter in the Gospel caught in the middle of a storm, in the middle of the lake, in the middle of the night, the Lord says, “Come” — step out in faith and be not afraid. Pope Francis says, “In this context, the call to mission, the invitation to step out of ourselves for love of God and neighbor presents itself as an opportunity for sharing, service and intercessory prayer.”

When we step out in faith to follow God’s call and give of ourselves to others, it is then that we find ourselves and discover new gifts. Giving and receiving are bound together. We cannot allow the fear and physical distancing of this time to keep us from sharing ourselves, giving ourselves and receiving from others.

Like the early disciples who crossed over to the other side of the lake to bring the good news of Jesus to the gentiles, the missionary call leads some to leave the comforts and familiarity of home and cross over into foreign lands and foreign realities to bring the good news. The Spirit of God went ahead of the disciples and went along with them to give them encouragement as they made their way. We can also encourage and support those who are willing to travel and serve beyond our borders.

Pope Francis reminds us of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who put herself completely at the service of God’s will in her life while not fully understanding the meaning of God’s call to bear and birth the beloved Son: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me, according to your Word” (Lk 1:38). Here I am, send me!

The missionary spirit is a way of listening to God’s call and being ready to receive the truths about the kingdom of God still being revealed. Our times are revealing the disparities in our world that keep us apart and divided. God is speaking through those who are calling out for healing, for peace and for justice.

Even though we are forced to be socially distant, we do not need to give in to the temptations of fear that can foster division based on our differences. We are together in the ark of God’s kingdom moving through these troubled waters, and we need one another and we need God’s help to lead us through.

Now is the time to draw life from communion in prayer that can transcend the physical, social, economic, racial boundaries between us. In prayer, we are one Body in Christ. God is calling each of us to say yes to his kingdom. Here I am. Send me!

There is a saying in mission: Some go to the missions by giving. Some give to the missions by going. Without both there is no mission. We are in this boat of God’s mission together. Let us listen and let us be ready to go when the Lord calls, “Whom should I send?” May we respond, “Here I am, Lord; send me!”

Deacon Friesen is the director of the Office for Mission in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

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Category: The Local Church