This weekend, 16 – 17 September, is ‘Evangelii Gaudium Sunday’ or, as it used to be called, ‘Home Mission Sunday’. A time to remind ourselves of the essential mission of the church to spread the joy of the gospel, the Good news not just in far flung places, but here at home in our own backyard. The title comes from the powerful and challenging Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel. In it he writes,
‘I dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be channeled for the evangelisation of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. “All renewal in the Church must have mission as its goal if it is not to fall prey to a kind of ecclesial introversion”.’ [EG27]
It is crucial to recognise that the Church has the fundamental calling to be open and share the joy of the Gospel in our world, in our own country and locality, as we face the many difficulties, problems, and challenges of our time. We need to pray for this and to begin once more to reach out beyond our church walls.
Canon Michael Griffiths
“Hearts on fire, feet on the move”
Pope Francis’ message for World Mission Day 2023, the theme this year is ‘Hearts on fire, feet on the move‘ (cf. Lk 24: 13 – 35).
Dear brothers and sisters!
For this year’s World Mission Sunday, I have chosen a theme inspired by the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus, in the Gospel of Luke (cf. 24:13-35): “Hearts on fire, feet on the move”. Those two disciples were confused and dismayed, but their encounter with Christ in the word and in the breaking of the bread sparked in them the enthusiastic desire to set out again towards Jerusalem and proclaim that the Lord had truly risen. In the Gospel account, we perceive this change in the disciples through a few revealing images; their hearts burned within them as they heard the Scriptures explained by Jesus, their eyes were opened as they recognised him and, ultimately, their feet set out on the way. By meditating on these three images, which reflect the journey of all missionary disciples, we can renew our zeal for evangelisation in today’s world.
Read Pope Francis’ Message for 2023 in full, here.
Suggested Bidding Prayer
We pray for our parish as part of the local church that we never lose sight of our calling to be missionary disciples and always look for ways to share with others the joy which comes from the Gospel we hold in our hearts, Lord hear us.