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Dream of a missionary Church

– Feast of St Luke –

“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

I am praying into this reading after a week of meetings in the first Assembly of the Plenary Council meetings. In light of this context, there is one phrase in this piece of Scripture that stands out for me, in bold: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”

During this week, we were invited into an agenda of 16 questions, all framed by the dream of making a missionary option our lens for everything we do:

‘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 suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation’ (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 27).

Saint Luke’s Gospel is so aware and inclusive of those on the margins who Jesus welcomed into his friendship. It makes me wonder: what would we be capable of if we were to take seriously that mission is the raison d’être of the Church, the reason of its being?

There are many people who do not know Jesus; who have not experienced the life of God that starts now and never ends; who have no one to turn to, in times of darkness, because they have not heard the reality of the love of God spoken to them in ways that they can understand it.

I firmly believe that taking this lens as our aim and focus will help us cut through the differences and find common ground: The Church exists to evangelise, to make known to a beautiful but often lost humanity that they, too, are loved, in Christ Jesus. It is worth every effort we can make to reach them, and say to them, with our lives and words, that God is close to them.

by Maeve Heaney


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