We are called to be missionaries of faith and joy

| Deacon Mickey Friesen | October 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

Rose Anne Hallgren, president of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, shows the organization’s newsletter to Anna Mwanza, a delegate visiting from Kitui, Kenya, during a meeting Oct. 2. Deacon Mickey Friesen said he is struck by how much the faith of Kenyans is connected to joy. Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

We just completed hosting a delegation visit from our partner Diocese of Kitui, Kenya. This eight-year-old partnership of solidarity between our two dioceses is designed to build relationships, exchange gifts and share faith.

I am struck with how their faith is so connected to joy. They say, “God is good all the time! All the time God is good.”

This phrase accompanies their words and deeds. Before they talk about the desperate drought and food insecurity at this time, they first claim God’s goodness. No matter what happens, they place it in the context of God’s goodness and faithfulness. It seems like their faith evokes their joy and their joy sustains their faith.

Easter prevails

Faith and joy are two sides of the same Christian life and mission. At a recent event held at Fordham University, comedian Stephen Colbert and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York spoke about the relationship between faith, joy and spirituality.

Colbert said he sees the Catholic Church as teaching joy, which he called the “infallible sign of the presence of God.” Cardinal Dolan added, “Here is my reason for joy: the cross of Christ. . . . On that Friday strangely called ‘Good,’ literally the ‘lights went out’ as even the sun hid in shame. It seemed we could never smile again. But then came the ‘Sunday called Easter, the Son rose from the dead and God had the last laugh.’” He concluded by saying, “Lord knows there will be plenty of Good Fridays in our lives . . . but they will not prevail, Easter will.”

As we begin the Year of Faith, we have an opportunity to rediscover our faith in the cross and the joy in the resurrection. We start by celebrating World Mission Sunday, our annual celebration for Catholics in every parish in the world to celebrate our universal faith in Christ and our call to support the missionary activity of the church that sends ambassadors of faith and joy to the ends of the earth.

As our brothers and sisters in Kitui expressed so well, the good news is that God is for us and God is with us in all circumstances. It is joy to experience the way that Christ brings life out of death. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus reveals God’s plan for transforming the world.

To be baptized into this mystery of faith is to also be sent forth into the world witnessing to God’s presence among us. As the Body of Christ, we are each given a share in the good news of Jesus that makes us new and makes us one. Realizing this blessed assurance we have in Jesus can also bring us joy.

Church’s greatest work

World Mission Sunday connects us to what God is doing in the hearts and minds of people all over the world.

We support those who go forth to bring this message of God’s goodness and faithfulness. They carry with them the joy that comes from knowing God’s will to bring life out of death. It remains the greatest work of the church.

As Scripture says, “How lovely are the feet of those who bring good news” (Romans 10:15).

May we each find joy in our faith and share it. God is good all the time. All the time, God is good!

Deacon Mickey Friesen is director of the archdiocesan Center for Mission.

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Category: World Mission Sunday