Twenty-ninth Sunday B in Ordinary Time, Mk 10,35-45

Two essential questions for each of us: Can I talk about missions for a minute? As a Christian Catholic, do I commit myself to tasks?
Missions are often understood as exotic. Regions far from us, such as Africa or Oceania. Half-naked black people, smiling children, bearded missionary handing out rosaries, another nature, other types of houses …
There is also room for missions and new evangelization in Slovakia. This requires, in particular, a non-Christian lifestyle, an anti-Christian social situation, the absence of knowledge, especially in the field of faith and morals, but also a simple approach to tradition, a traditional approach to the sacraments, and others. The gospel requires an appropriate interpretation of the situation of our lives. Wherever it is in the world, it is “ad gentes – overseas missions” or “a new evangelization – a situation where Christianity already has its own tradition.”

In 1827, a match was invented. A thin wooden stick with a phosphor head ignites by rubbing against the rough surface of a matchbox. The game is not used for heating or lighting; it is too tiny and explosive for a short time. It is only used for ignition. It ignites contact with a flammable substance so that a small match can ignite the whole forest: small cause and significant consequence.
In the turbulent 1930s, new economic and political conditions began to prevail – the production of matches also started at this time. The French Revolution led to the impoverishment of the once omnipotent Catholic Spanish and Portuguese colonial dominions, which also felt like a protector of missionary work. Rising rationalism and enlightenment have dried up religious life in Europe, and thus missionary spirits. Around 1800, missionary activity reached its lowest point, with barely three hundred missionaries in the world. In France, monasteries were dissolved, church property confiscated. Overseas missions were left without material assistance, even without personnel. Therefore, ways were sought to eliminate this misery. The 23-year-old girl Pavlína Mária Jaricot got the world name in this respect. In 1822, she founded the Society for the Spreading of the Faith in Lyon. Members were to sacrifice a small amount for missions per week, which, in tens, hundreds, and thousands, was put together and prayed for Father and Rejoice for the tasks daily … They began publishing mission annals that published not only mission reports but also pastoral letters bishops, which was to arouse enthusiasm for world missions. Readers of mission annals were able to learn about the current state of tasks. Each issue contained information and experiences of missionaries, which at the time when there were no news agencies, felt like a sensation. Pavlína Mária Jaricot was a missionary match made by God. Two essential questions for each of us: Can I talk about missions for a minute? As a Christian Catholic, do I commit myself to tasks?
Missions are often understood as exotic. Regions far from us, such as Africa or Oceania. Half-naked black people, smiling children, bearded missionary handing out rosaries, another nature, other types of houses …
There is also room for missions and new evangelization in Slovakia. This requires, in particular, a non-Christian lifestyle, an anti-Christian social situation, the absence of knowledge, especially in the field of faith and morals, but also a simple approach to tradition, a customary practice to the sacraments and others. The gospel requires an appropriate interpretation of the situation of our lives. Wherever it is in the world, it is “ad gentes – overseas missions” or “a new evangelization – a situation where Christianity already has its own tradition.”

In 1827, a match was invented. A thin wooden stick with a phosphor head ignites by rubbing against the rough surface of a matchbox. The game is not used for heating or lighting; it is too tiny and explosive for a short time. It is only used for ignition. It ignites contact with a flammable substance so that a small match can ignite the whole forest: small cause and significant consequence.
In the turbulent 1930s, new economic and political conditions began to prevail – the production of matches also started at this time. The French Revolution led to the impoverishment of the once omnipotent Catholic Spanish and Portuguese colonial dominions, which also felt like a protector of missionary work. Rising rationalism and enlightenment have dried up religious life in Europe, and thus missionary spirits. Around 1800, missionary activity reached its lowest point, with barely three hundred missionaries in the world. In France, monasteries were dissolved, church property confiscated. Overseas missions were left without material assistance, even without personnel. Therefore, ways were sought to eliminate this misery. The 23-year-old girl Pavlína Mária Jaricot got the world name in this respect. In 1822, she founded the Society for the Spreading of the Faith in Lyon. Members were to sacrifice a small amount for missions per week, which, in tens, hundreds, and thousands, was put together and prayed for Father and Rejoice for the tasks daily … They began publishing mission annals that published not only mission reports but also pastoral letters to bishops, which was to arouse enthusiasm for world missions.

The world needs missionaries at home and abroad to burn for their faith. They have to burn; they meet specific criteria, and Jesus is talking about them.

“… Whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant. And whosoever will be chief among you shall be servant of all” (Mark 10: 43-44).

We see these always relevant words in the example of Jesus: “For not even the Son came to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Mark 10:45).
The driving force that wings our will and leads us to set out on a journey is not a desire for power or world domination, nor is it glory or human success … Our missionary consciousness is a gift, the most beautiful gift, which we can receive from heaven because he ennobles our being as a creature and engages us in the work of the evangelization of the Son of God, who became man.
No obstacle and no difficulty must discourage us from constantly going to new countries and new nations … No political timelessness and no ideology must put out the fire of the Spirit that has been given to us, the inner passion that encourages us to do so. That we may bring to our brothers and sisters Christ and the joy we feel in proclaiming the kingdom of God. The life of a missionary, often marked by difficulties, brings us to the same wavelength with the message of the salvation of Christ sent by the Father, brings us to the heart of the Church, which beats and lives by the rhythm of her sons and daughters who advocate the growth of God’s kingdom throughout the world. We must not confront the difficulties that missionaries face daily: the lack of educational opportunities at all levels, the effects of globalization and consumer thinking, the lack of religious freedom, the lack of jobs in different parts of the world. Account must also be taken of the suggestions made by missionaries to the Congregation dealing with missions. There is a need to analyze the current situation in the mission countries, the creation of a ministerial conference in Africa, and greater interest in the problems of emigrants in Europe.

Today, the world’s population is now six billion, at least two-thirds of whom do not know Christ. The remaining third are Christians who are divided among themselves. Only 18 percent, or only one billion, are Catholics. Nevertheless, there is a negative tendency in the Church, which shows that one’s mission ad gentes seem to be relieving, which certainly does not comply with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, nor with the statements of the Magisterium. Therefore, it can be said that the mission of Christ entrusted to the Church is still far from complete.

It cannot be said that missions are an exclusively Catholic idea. Protestant Gustav Warneck (1834 – 1919) began to work systematically on the definition of missions. He understood the organization of the Christian Church among non-Christians as a mission, as it took place through messengers (apostles, missionaries).

The Holy Spirit follows, accompanies and precedes the Church in her mission, and the Spirit is thus the true bearer of the mission of the apostles and the Church.

John Gilmartin recorded the testimony of a woman in her middle years, which she gave at an evangelistic event. She talked in detail that God had begun to disappear from her life since she left her parents’ house. Years later, due to various situations, she found herself in a state where her life seemed in ruins, she did not find its meaning, and she often considered ending it herself. By the way, her girlfriend just gave her a leaflet inviting her to an evangelistic seminar. She remembered her childhood when she went to the temple with her parents and prayed with them. Maybe even under the nostalgic influence of this memory, she decided to go there. It was a day of grace for her when, listening to God’s word, she not only recognized her failures in life but also found the courage to open up to God and start a new life with him.
When she later thought about it, she thanked God for her friend, who gave her a leaflet to start a change in her life. She figured that as a thank you for the gift of conversion; she would strive to be a similar “sower of the Word.” Not being eloquent and very ashamed to talk to anyone about God, she found another way. She always carried a magazine or a pocket edition of the Scriptures with her. She always tried to leave it somewhere: in the waiting room at the doctor’s, the hairdresser’s, in the bus waiting … She prayed, “Lord, I’m not eloquent, so call yourself … “In the evenings she read the Gospels and wrote the sentences that touched her, writing on small cards or small reproductions of icons. The next day, she gave them to customers in the store, along with a bill for the goods purchased. Some immediately dropped the card, others threw it into the bag without looking, and some thanked. She said she did it at first with great fear and a certain shyness. However, that changed one evening, when just before the store closed, a lady came shopping that day. There were tears in her eyes, but she was happy. She said, “Thank you for the card … I know that God spoke to me through it! Today I prayed again after many years …” She squeezed her hand and left without further explanation.

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