All is in God and God is in all. “Why does God need priests?” The answer is “We need priests to remind us that we are in God and God is in us.” Priests, by what they do and what they say, are in our midst to remind us that we are Jesus people. If priests do not make real to us the God that is in our lives then they have fallen down on the job. It sounds presumptuous to claim the “God made me do it” but that is actually what we believe.
Jesus was not a priest in the Temple in Jerusalem, but He did show us that God is in our midst. He was revealing God. He is saying by His words and His life, “This is what it means to be God living in our human reality.” If you are wondering what God is like follow the story of Jesus. Read the Gospels.
Columban missionaries leave their homes, their families, their cultures and all that is familiar and comfortable. There are difficulties, of course. Learning a language and engaging with people of another culture are not easily done. Why did they do it? Because they were and are characters in God’s story. Just as Jesus revealed God’s love for people of His time so God continues to use these missionaries today to show His love for the people. The result of mission may be hard to name, but one thing is for sure: all Columban missionaries develop a great understanding and love of the people. With them they all take the message of love and concern for people not their own. God’s mission is a mission on love for His sons and daughters, and He would love to see the whole family united in love. That is the dream of God for the world.
While we reflect on the past we also can look forward to an unknown but wonderful future because God is in all and all is in God.
Loving the world is not an easy thing either. Ask Jesus. Because of His love for the people of His time, He was crucified. There is too much in all of us that is not loving. We become fearful or aggressive towards those who are not like us. There is pain and suffering in all of this. There is loss and grief. It is a drama of love and betrayal. For those of us who are older missionaries, hair, hearing, sight and mobility also have been lost! These losses need to be grieved properly and in that space our God resurrects and transforms us. God is always the creator. God is the source of all life. While we reflect on the past we also can look forward to an unknown but wonderful future because God is in all and all is in God.
Columban Fr. Trevor Trotter lives and works in Australia.