The Omission Of Mission?

26 10 2008

82nd World Mission Sunday was 2008, Oct. 19.

article here

TOKYO (UCAN) — In a message for World Mission Day 2008, Pope Benedict XVI says, “It is therefore an urgent duty for everyone to proclaim Christ and his saving message.”

How are we responding to that urgent duty here in Asia?

Here in Japan, the bishops’ conference or its committees issue statements for various “Days” that the Church marks with prayers and collections. As usual, however, this year’s World Mission Day will pass without any official notice from the Church leadership.

We seem to be infected with a missionary malaise.

I agree with all of the above and at last Sunday`s mass no mention was made of World Mission Sunday.

Christians face persecution in India and other places, and being a Christian is challenging in more places, but we are for the most part comparatively free to live and proclaim our faith in Asia. The constraints on that proclamation are generally not outside us, but within ourselves and our communities.

I agree once again.  Being a Catholic in Japan is probably a lot easier than being a Catholic in even Western Countries these days I think.  The average Japanese person, in my experience, has no hatred, prejudice, or dislike of Catholicism usually they know very little about it.  Many have traveled to Europe and have visited at least one church while there so that is an easy topic to introduce a bit of Catholicism.   On subjects like abortion and gay marriage it is much easier to have a discussion about Catholic views Ive found because most people here are at least willing to hear you out especially if you use direct quotes from the Pope or Catechism.

I easily recommend books, movies, music, restaurants and websites to others, but am I as forthright in recommending what Saint Paul calls the “surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus?” If I truly believe that the proclamation of Christ is the will of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, I might be another Paul, who said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.”

Part of the reason I used to be reluctant in talking about religion with people was I didn’t know enough about it to defend it  Now Ive learned enough to feel comfortable discussing my faith and try to do so at appropriate times.  I also used to be wary of possible hostile reactions from people, however, the Holy Spirit has given me courage, and as I have said before most people here wont react with blatant hate and hostility.

The fact is that billions of our brothers and sisters on this year’s World Mission Day will not “know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” They will not know they are children of a loving God.

But they have the right to know this, and our timidity in proclaiming the Gospel is an injustice against them and against God who commissioned us in baptism to be heralds of the Gospel. Do I have the right to deprive others of that knowledge through my sins of omission?

I didnt know this until recently but one of the spiritual works of mercy is to instruct the ignorant so knowing that I now understand how failure to do so could be a sin of omission.  Once people are told about Christ it is up to them to accept or reject Him however we have to hold up our end and at least mention Christ first.  As Cardinal Francis Arinze says ” you can propose but you dare not impose.”



One response

30 10 2008
Viator Catholicus

In my encounters with non-Catholic Japanese expats in the US, I’ve found that the parables of the Gospels have been moving.

In many ways Catholicism seems a natural fit for Japan with its (I know its cliche) both…and approach. Catholicism fulfills the longings of the Japanese psyche in my opinion. For example, it admits the fleetingness of this world but ends with hope in everlasting life; it has hierarchy but also affirms the equal dignity of all before God; it is an exclusive community but others can enter; its worship is structured with ritual but also calls forth an interior life of devotion; it offers a strict discipline but also mercy and forgiveness.

I would imagine if Christ were proclaimed more opennly and clearly, the Japanese would be very interested.

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