Supporting the Mission of Christ
What does it mean to be on mission for Christ? Just as St Barnabas supported St Paul in his mission, Archbishop William Goh reminds us to support each other in the mission.
In the Gospel of John we hear Jesus declare, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”(John 20:21) Jesus sent forth the apostles, then the disciples, into the vineyard of the Lord to proclaim the Good News of the kingdom, in the same manner in which the Father had sent Him to reveal God’s love to all.
To be on mission is to be “sent out” by the Lord, to carry out what He had instructed us to do. We as the people of God need to have encountered God’s message of love first, before we can communicate it to someone else.
Fronting the Mission
It is important for us to form leaders and missionaries for Christ. No mission can be undertaken unless our people are set apart for this work. This was what our Lord did when He chose the twelve apostles (Luke 6:13-16). Likewise, the early Church set apart Barnabas and Saul for the mission (Acts 11).
There is an urgent need for more lay people to live their call as missionaries. We cannot solely depend on the clergy to lead our Church, as proclaiming the Gospel involves the entire Body of Christ. Furthermore, a large proportion of our clergy in Singapore are getting old, with almost two-thirds being 60 and above.
We need lay missionaries who are formed in faith, theology and pastoral ministry, because they are the prophets today who can preach the Gospel, being fully aware of what the world needs in faith. Such prophets are mature, Spirit-fi lled, anointed leaders – lay, religious and clergy – who have a sense of the vision of the future.
Whilst all of us are called to bring the Good News to the world, some of us are meant to be set apart for this specific work of proclaiming the Gospel by forming our Catholics in faith and then together, proclaiming the Gospel to the entire world.
Supporting the Mission
As a non-profit organisation, the Church provides the Good News to the world for free, obeying the Lord’s instruction, “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You have received without charge, give without charge.” (Matthew 10:8)
However, without financial support, the mission cannot continue. Having received much from the Lord, then out of gratitude and love, we need to freely give for the mission of the Church, which is ultimately for the good of humanity.
We cannot only depend on part-time volunteers either; otherwise, our Church cannot grow. That is why our archdiocese today is trying to get more lay people, including lay leaders, for full-time ministry, whether as volunteers or paid staff . We must utilise the energy and passion of our capable fulltime lay leaders who give their heart and soul to the Church for the sake of the Gospel.
Jesus in the Gospel made it clear that “the workman deserves his keep.” (Luke 10:7) Financial contribution is vital. If we cannot commit to full-time Church ministry,
then we should, if we are able to, support our missionaries, priests, religious and full-time workers, and provide for their upkeep.
Missionaries as well as collaborators also need support in the form of encouragement. Just as St Barnabas (a name that means “son of encouragement”) spoke up for St Paul in his mission, we realise that our missionaries today need to be similarly supported. We should give constructive feedback with charity and gentleness.
Everyone is Called
We are called to contribute to the mission of the Church. We cannot say, “It is not my responsibility,” when Jesus has clearly commissioned us for mission. If we are unable to front the mission of Christ, then we must do all we can to support it and those who are fronting it.
The cross of preaching the Good News, especially to those who may not be open to hearing it, is a heavy endeavour. Thus as brothers and sisters, let us work together and support each other in this mission.