World Mission Sunday, the Pope’s annual appeal for spiritual and financial support for the work of overseas mission and missionaries, is celebrated on Sunday 24th October.
This year’s theme is: ‘We Cannot Remain Silent – We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard’ (Acts 4:20).
It is a message of hope – Jesus Christ is risen and we cannot keep his love, compassion, and mercy to ourselves. It also challenges us to stand up and speak out on behalf of those who are weaker. All too often, the voices that need to be heard are not the loudest. For them, we cannot remain silent.
In his message for World Mission Day on Sunday, Pope Francis reminds us that, “as Christians, we cannot keep the Lord to ourselves,” as we “recall with gratitude all those men and women who by their testimony of life help us to renew our baptismal commitment to be generous and joyful apostles of the Gospel.”
“Let us remember especially all those who resolutely set out, leaving home and family behind, to bring the Gospel to all those places and people who thirst for its saving message.”
When we contemplate their missionary witness, writes the Pope, “we are inspired to be courageous ourselves.”
He also points out that “the call to mission is not a thing of the past, or a romantic leftover from earlier times.” Today too Jesus needs “messengers and agents of compassion.”
Concluding his message, Pope Francis stresses that, “Always, but especially in these times of pandemic, it is important to grow in our daily ability to widen our circle, to reach out to others who, albeit physically close to us, are not immediately part of our “circle of interests.”
To be on mission, he adds, “is to be willing to think as Christ does, to believe with him that those around us are also my brothers and sisters.”