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Holy Audacity and World Mission Sunday

On Oct. 22, the Church celebrates World Mission Sunday, calling for a renewed focus on and prayer for the Church’s mission to share the Good News of Salvation with the world. Included in Pope Francis’ message for this day is a call for a “holy audacity” in discovering new ways to bring the gift of salvation to the world. 

The Church exists to evangelize. Recall Jesus’ last commission to the Apostles, often called the Great Commission, “to make disciples of all nations…” (Mt. 28:19-20). This is the Church’s—our—mission.  

We can read the stories of those who have gone before us for inspiration. St. Paul, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier, St. Francis de Sales, St. Peter Claver, to name but a few. There are countless men and woman through the centuries who have carried the Gospel message to the ends of the world. Each of them, inspired by Christ, possessed the holy audacity to offer everything for the love of God.

Our own founding shepherd, Bishop DeGoesbriand, possessed that same holy audacity as he left home for this country, coming to Vermont with nothing, but trusting that “God will provide.” And God did! Recall that there were seven churches in Vermont when he arrived, and 71 when he was finished; the number of priests in Vermont increased from five to 50.  

In our own day and age, Pope Francis reminds us that “the world vitally needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  We must be the missionaries in our communities and on the peripheries, joyfully sharing the love, peace, joy and purpose that Jesus offers the world.  

To be “holy” is to be “set apart.” By virtue of your Baptism, you were set apart for God. You were set apart for a mission.

To remain “holy” is to remain closely connected to Jesus Christ, especially in the Eucharist. Thereby, when you are holy, you radiate Jesus Christ and when people see you, they discover Jesus Christ (cf. Raoul Plus, SJ).

“Audacity” is the “willingness to take bold risks.” There is a risk in every mission. Admittedly, it takes a special boldness to proclaim the Gospel in our world today. Yet, a mission undertaken in love is the most fulfilling and life-giving of all. There is a holy audacity in simply saying to the Lord, each and every day, “Lord, I am yours. Use me as your instrument however you see fit.” That’s what each of the saints did, and see what the Lord did with them! 

As Pope Francis ends his message for this World Mission Sunday, “May the Virgin Mother help us to say our own ‘yes,’ conscious of the urgent need to make the Good News of Jesus resound in our time… May she intercede for us so that we can acquire the holy audacity needed to discover new ways to bring the gift of salvation to every man and woman.”

Originally published in the October 21-27, 2017 issue of "The Inland See" bulletin.
Last modified onThursday, 12 October 2017 12:13
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