Scripture and Gospel Reflection for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 23rd) – Mission Sunday
(Prayers of the Faithful for the 30th Sunday now available – click on the tab in the menu above.)
But the Pharisees, when they heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, testing him. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment.A second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:34–40 WEB)
A day to remember and one I remember. Fr Frank was a Jesuit who worked most of his life in Zambia. Like many he left Ireland for three years in 1956 to work as a teacher before ordination and learn the language. After ordination in Ireland he returned to parishes in Zambia until 1998. I remember him, and many other young Jesuits, visiting our school, introducing us to the wider world of Africa, Japan, Hong Kong.
Exciting – Frustrating
At times it was an exciting life for them. Other times it was frustrating and lonely. Like many of their sisters in the women’s congregations, they would come home only every six years, in the days when long-haul flights were expensive and not always available.
We got the impression they loved their new country and its people. For many of them, returning home to an Ireland that had changed meant they had lost their old homeland also. We salute them today, many of them in the nursing homes of their religious congregation who look after them well.
They did all this to follow Jesus; to bring the world of the gospel in education, parishes, health care and seminaries to a new world. They wanted to make the world of the poorer nations better and in many ways they succeeded. They are followed today by many who want to do the same, in ways suited to the culture today.
Mission Sunday is our reminder day to pray for our people helping in the struggle for faith and justice, equality and peace in many countries. They need our prayers and our help, and we are proud of them.
They are baptising the world with the gospel of Jesus so that the world may be a place more like what God wants, a world more equal and thus a holier place for people to live in.
Donal Neary SJ