On the great Feast of the Ascension, we celebrate the return of Jesus to heaven. Equally, this day marks the moment when Christ shared his final instruction with his disciples – known as the Great Commission – to go out and deliver the message of God’s love and mercy with everyone, everywhere.
This is the mission all Christ’s followers continue to share. It’s the mission which we at Missio continue to support around the world, and which we invite you to join us in.
We are all a mission on this earth
Not everyone is called to leave home and travel hundreds or thousands of miles to accompany and serve poor communities. But that is not the extent of Christ’s instruction to us, and it doesn’t mean that other calls to mission are easy – because to be in a state of mission means seeking out the very best of ourselves and, rather than using it for personal gain, offering it to God to do with as he sees fit. As St Peter exhorted the early Christians:
‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms’(1 Peter 4:10).
The foundation of love
Christ’s call is a challenge to each of us. Whether we are called to serve overseas or bloom where we’re planted, Christ’s call demands something of us, it demands both our heads and our hearts: it demands that we look beyond and outside of ourselves and our own needs. This is why the ingredient of love is so vital; without it,we risk proselytism; we will become ‘a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal’ (Corinthians 13:1).
We cannot serve others as Christ commands if we don’t truly see them. If we are in a state of mission, we walk beside our sisters and brothers; understand them, pray with them and be a family with them; and in return we humbly ask them to do the same for us. As Pope Francis says, sharing Christ’s salvation:
‘… is not born from a desire for domination or power, but from the force of love… It means bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did.’
One family in Christ
Because mission is rooted in love, it can never be about observing from a distance. Through mission, we work to make the world smaller: so small that we become neighbours, siblings; family with people around the world.
And we know – because we have witnessed it first hand and through the testimonies of missionaries around the world – that with love, all things become possible. As the Holy Father says:
‘Bringing the Gospel is bringing God’s power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance and hatred.’
In our world which so often seems so under attack, we can deliver the Gospel: God’s message of love.
You are a vital member of our family
Something else we know for sure is that we are not sent out alone. Just as Jesus gathered the early disciples together, so that they could share the task, so we go forth today, together as one family. As St Paul reminded the Thessalonians:
‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’
Through your prayers and donations, you are encouraging missionaries around the world, and the communities they serve. In turn, they are praying for you – a truly global family united in Christ’s love.
In this way, together we are building a vibrant Church today, and a bright future for tomorrow.
All together now!
What is Christ’s mission for you? How will you share the Good News? Here are some suggestions…
- Our Novena to Blessed Pauline Jaricot, whose Beatification took place this time last year, is designed to help you pray and reflect on how Christ is calling you to be part of the great commission. Inspired by this remarkable woman, whose fierce faith began a global legacy, we hope it helps you, in turn, to discern your mission.
- Your prayers are always needed. You can join our weekly Mission Rosary – a beautiful way to hold our global family in prayer – or find all the ways to pray with Missio here>>
- Every penny and pound you share with us makes a real and vital difference to our sisters and brothers around the world, both through material and practical help and spiritual and emotional support. Will you give what you can today to help support our sisters and brothers in faith around the world? Donate here>>