We don’t have to travel to faraway lands to learn exotic languages, or adjust to strange foods, unfamiliar music and unusual clothes to be on mission. We can be on mission right here in the United States and other nearby locations.
We may think that “mission” is for the experts, the chosen few called to cross vast physical distances, but the 50th anniversary of Vatican Council II (1962-1965) reminds us today that Christ’s mission is continued by all Christians, wherever they are, and not just by those called to leave their homelands. The “Pilgrim People of God,” on fire with the Spirit of Christ, lives out the mission to bring Good News to the poor in many ways, crossing boundaries that are not necessarily the international borders between peoples, but include the cultural, economic and social divisions within and near our own land.
The frontiers we overcome are those separating ethnic and racial divides, but also include the breach we have irresponsibly allowed to appear between humanity and our natural environment. We are sent to break down even the walls we have sadly built up inside of us, between how we want to live our lives and what we end up doing instead, deeply personal walls that are healed by God’s forgiveness, preparing us for the task of sharing our joy with the many others trapped in such interior darkness.
All believers find deep within themselves not only the natural curiosity and compassion that move human beings to leave the familiar and the comfortable, to cross over into the unfamiliar in search of truth and justice, but, much more intensely, the stirring of hearts that partnership with Christ in the coming of a New Creation, a Reign of lasting peace, provokes. His words, His example and His living Presence arouse and sustain the commitment of all the Church, both at home and abroad.
Here are a few stories of people on mission close to their homeland.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2013 issue Columban Mission Magazine