World Missions and the Mission of the World

October 20, 2019

On this weekend we are invited to expand our vision and to see the potential and opportunity God gives us as we celebrate the world of missions placed before us.  It is a weekend devoted to embracing our faith and realizing this gift is meant to be shared.  Not everyone can leave their homes and travel, nor are they called do that.  Not everyone can join a group that will be immersed into the jungles of the Amazon, or the villages of Africa.  Yet all of us are called to be missionary disciples.  All of us are called to bring the message of Christ into the world in which we live.  This is far more difficult.  Crossing the street to converse with a neighbor, or teaching a child to refrain from choosing members for their team based solely on winning is not easy.  This is the world of mission we are called to impact.

In our second reading today, St. Paul in his letter to Timothy invites us to be “persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient.”  So often we look for convenient times.  When it is easy for us, we find it easy to share.  When it is easy to focus on a need or challenge and we have a passion for it, it is easy to find the energy to get involved.  It is the inconvenient part that sometimes stifles us.  When we feel it may become painful, we tend to lose interest.  When we feel it might take too long, if it is a long-term commitment, we see that the expansion of time might be too costly.  We are invited to look at situations just like these.  What is inconvenient for us?  How do we define inconvenience?  How we answer honestly will reveal what we prioritize in our lives.

Our mission was given to us by God and He sends us into the world, this world, our home, our workplace, our school, equipped with the Holy Word of God, the Scriptures.  “All scripture is inspired by God” we hear today in the second reading.  This is to be our strength, this is to become our energy.  Our call to mission begins with the faith God gave us and it is a gift.  God offers us Scripture so we may develop that gift and become strong in His mission in the world.  When we remain faithful to the God we find in the Scriptures, we will become overwhelmed with the love poured out upon us by the sacrifice of Christ.  We will be drawn into the joy of the Holy Spirit revealed to us.  Divine revelation unveiled in the Scriptures will never leave us.  So what holds us back?  Insecurity?  Lack of patience?

I love the missions and there I find an openness to the potential and possibility regardless of the outcome.  I am thrilled to have had rich and deep missionary experiences in my life, but what brings me the most spiritual growth is facing the inconvenience God places in my life. I learn so much when I face what is inconvenient.  Many times, I will look at the calendar and ask, what was I thinking by saying yes to all these things on the same day?  My inconvenience stirs up a selfishness in me.  By the end of those busy days I often see the fingerprint of God that guided my steps or words. I see the strength of God that helped me persevere.  It is allowing God to overcome my sense of what I feel is inconvenient that the world of His mission in my life deepens.

On World Mission Sunday may God bless us that we may be persistent on offering His love when it is convenient and when it is inconvenient.

Reverend  John J. Ouper