Our Mission is Love

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 45:1,4-6

Thus says the LORD to his anointed, Cyrus, whose right hand I grasp, subduing nations before him, and making kings run in his service, opening doors before him and leaving the gates unbarred: For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel, my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not. I am the LORD and there is no other, there is no God besides me. It is I who arm you, though you know me not, so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun people may know that there is none besides me. I am the LORD, there is no other.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5B

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen. For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.

Matthew 22:15-21

The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone's opinion, for you do not regard a person's status. Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?" Knowing their malice, Jesus said, "Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax." Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, "Whose image is this and whose inscription?" They replied, "Caesar's." At that he said to them, "Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."

The Christian identity is intricately connected to the mission of the Church – the mission to which each one of us is called through Baptism. On this very special Sunday, designated as the World Day of Mission by the Pope, we are urged to reflect on our “Christian identity and our responsibility as believers in a world marked by confusion, disappointment and frustration, and torn by numerous fratricidal wars that unjustly target the innocent” (Pope Francis’ Message for World Mission Day 2017).

Identity is seen by some as a fluid concept as it can be understood differently in different contexts and cultures. However, for Catholics and all those who believe in Christ, we understand that who we are is intricately tied to the mission of the Church, that is, to bring the Gospel of Life to all; a life that “sets us free from every kind of selfishness, and is a source of creativity in love” (Ibid). Pope Francis explains that the Church’s mission “is not to spread a religious ideology, much less to propose a lofty ethical teaching”, but to bring joy, hope, love, and new life to all whom we encounter (Ibid).

So, what are we called to be and to do? Indeed, to be and to do are one and the same. Isaiah clearly and beautifully explains that God calls us into being and intimately knows us even though we do not know Him: “I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me” (Is 45:4). We are God’s beloved children; each conceived in the mind of God long before our existence. Indeed, as God calls each of us into being, He invites you and me to be part of His salvific plan. St. Paul affirms that God “has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1Thess 1:5).

“Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength”, the Psalmist proclaims. Indeed, there is only one Creator God who is rightfully all-powerful, but more importantly this God is loving, compassionate, “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Ps 145:8). As we live to our full potentials and upholding human dignity in all we do, we give glory to our loving God. This week’s Gospel reminds us to “give to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21). Whatever we do in God’s name – caring for the sick, serving the poor, journeying with the lonely, fighting for justice, or speaking for the voiceless, we are revealing God’s boundless love and mercy while living up to our best selves according to God’s perfect design.

Posted: October 22, 2017

Susanna Mak

Susanna深信,信仰需要在日常生活中顯露出來,尤其是當與別人相處時,需要分擔對方所面對的困境、抉擇和挑戰。她有着很多不同的身份:女兒、姐姐、朋友、姨姨、妻子、老師、校牧、終身學習者和偶爾替《生命恩泉》寫作的作者。在每一個身份當中, 她努力為天主的愛和希望作見証。 她在多倫多擔任高中教師近二十年,擁有英語、學生讀寫能力、青年領袖活動、校牧組等經驗。 她是多倫多大學商業和英語學士,教育學士,亞省Athabasca大學綜合研究碩士,以及擁有多倫多大學Regis學院神學研究碩士證書。她對於成為《生命恩泉》寫作團隊的一份子, 深感榮幸。 Susanna has a deep conviction that faith needs to be manifested in daily life, particularly, in one’s encounters with others as well as amidst dilemmas, choices, and challenges. She strives to be a living sign of God’s love and hope as a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, wife, teacher, chaplain, life-long learner, and occasional writer for FLL. She has been a high school teacher in Toronto for almost 20 years, with experiences in English and literacy, youth leadership initiatives, the Chaplaincy Team, to mention a few. She has a B. Comm, B.A. in English, and a B. Education from University of Toronto, an M.A. in Integrated Studies from Athabasca University, and a Graduate Certificate of Theological Studies from Regis College, U of T. She is humbled by the opportunity to be part of the FLL Writing Team.

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