Pastor’s Corner for the 30th Sunday In Ordinary Time, Year A, by Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ
We have reached the last Sunday of Missionary Month, under the theme: “Hearts on fire, feet on the move”. For Pope Francis, “The urgency of the Church’s missionary activity
naturally calls for an ever-closer missionary cooperation on the part of all her members and at every level. This is an essential goal of the synodal journey that the Church has undertaken, guided by the key words: communion, participation, mission. This journey is certainly not a turning of the Church in upon herself; nor is it a referendum about what we ought to believe and practice, nor a matter of human preferences. Rather, it is a process of setting out on the way and, like the disciples of Emmaus, listening to the risen Lord. For he always comes among us to explain the meaning of the Scriptures and to break bread for us, so that we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, carry out his mission in the world” (Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for World Mission Day 2023).
In today’s Gospel, Jesus answers the question regarding the greatest commandment. Jesus cites the commandment of loving God, which commits the depths of a person’s being (heart), energies (soul) and thoughts (mind). We can add to this the commandment of loving your neighbor, which Jesus considers similar, inseparable from the first commandment. In the Bible, love is more than a feeling given to the seasonal variations of affectivity. It is the decision to become attached to someone to whom we give rights over ourselves and concrete actions that nourish this decision.
In his catechesis “The passion for evangelization, the apostolic zeal,” Pope Francis talks about the missionary discourse that Christ addresses to his disciples before sending them. He draws out three aspects. First, why proclaim? Because I have received freely, and I should give freely. The proclamation does not begin from us, but from the beauty of what we have received for free, without merit: meeting Jesus, knowing him, discovering that we are loved and saved. It is such a great gift that we cannot keep it to ourselves.
Then, what must we proclaim? Jesus says: “Preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” This is what must be said, first: God is near. So, never forget this: God has always been close to the people. This closeness is one of the most important things about God. There are three important things: closeness, mercy, and tenderness. Don’t forget that. Who is God? The One who is Close, the One who is Tender, the One who is Merciful. This is the reality of God.
Finally, how to proclaim? What should be the language for proclaiming? He tells us that the manner, the style is essential in witnessing. Witnessing does not just involve the mind and saying something. It involves everything, mind, heart, hands, everything, the three languages of the person: the language of thought, the language of affection, and the language of work. Everything is involved (cf. Pope Francis, catechesis 2023, No 4. The first apostolate).
For the sick
Let us continue to pray for the sick members of our parish especially Benedicta Ngwebelele, Phoebe Ngwenya and Andrew Ledwaba.
Rev. Fr. N. Munekani SJ