Dear MSSP brothers and sisters
Engraved on C.S. Lewis’ memorial stone in Westminster Abbey, 50 years after his death, is written one of his famous quotes: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” For those whose faith really matters, faith not only points them towards the future, towards a promised eternity, but most importantly it gives meaning to their present, interpreting their events, relationships and personal matters. Thus, if our faith in Christ is the key that opens all the doors, then it is really a piece of very good news. It is so good that we cannot hold it for ourselves but, with a burning desire, wish to pass on the flame to others. We are saddened when we see ourselves personally, as Church, or as a society get distracted in non-essentials, non-communal, and non-edifying lifestyles. This malaise that we feel comes to us because the chasm between our petty lives and the one promised to us in Christ is too large to ignore. To quote once again C. S. Lewis, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” The Christian who tries to live a moderate Christianity lives in the middle of a chasm, and the only direction is the fall.
The postmodern culture and posthuman concepts that surround us are becoming more pervasive and ingrained in us. The abolition of signposts along the way and the lack of final destinations on which to lock our compass are taking away our identities, putting us in the same pot, and forging us into a one size fits all. In his 2022 Mission Sunday message, Pope Frances pleads us “to dream of a completely missionary Church,” and repeats “Moses’ great desire for the people of God on their journey: “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets!”” It is in this context that, as Christians we need to realize that our words and deeds are God’s saving face for today’s world. We are God’s hands reaching out to “all geographical, social and existential horizons, and towards “borderline” places and human situations, in order to bear witness to Christ and his love to men and women of every people, culture and social status.”
… if our faith in Christ is the key that opens all the doors, then it is really a piece of very good news. It is so good that we cannot hold it for ourselves but, with a burning desire, wish to pass on the flame to others.
For many Christians, this might feel like a daunting task, one reserved for the few! But how few is few before I realize that the onus rests on me? Humanity with its post-everything has moved past nothing even though it tries to give us the impression that we are in control of everything and can explain anything. Modern culture(s) engaged in monologues serve nobody. As disciples of Christ, we do have a lot to say! We have a message which makes more sense and has much more meaning than the messages occupying the modern pulpits of social media. Once again, Pope Francis insists that “The disciples are sent not to proselytize, but to proclaim.” Indeed, the Christian faith is much more than rational arguments. However, let us not forget that we speak sense too and that we possess a scriptural logic that can nurture the human heart, mind and soul. I like Austin Farrer’s advice: “What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish.” Regrettably, many Christians have gone silent and appear to have nothing to say.
A true Christian lives out what he/she believes within a community, creating spaces of light in the surrounding darkness. In these contexts, the Word of God, spoken and lived, calls humanity to soar higher, reminding us that we were given wings and that there is a higher perspective from where to look at things and life. Mission Sunday is about seeing ourselves for who we are – Children of God, and thus with enough good and wisdom in us to make it available for others. Goodness to remain thus needs always be shared.
Wishing you a blessed Mission Sunday!
Fr Mark Grima mssp