Do you think your Baptism gives you a mission?
How are you making disciples of all nations?
A story is told of a statue of Christ which was damaged in a World War II bombing in a city of Northern Europe. After the war the people of that city began to rebuild and wondered what to do with their beloved statue of Jesus which had lost its hands. When they discussed how to repair the sculpture, someone volunteered to make some new hands for Jesus. But after consideration, the locals decided that the statue would be left as it was, but with one addition. A sign was placed under the sculpture which read: “Christ has no hands but ours.”
This story is a fitting description of the mission of the Church which we all play a part in. Our Lord Jesus no longer walks on Earth as he did centuries ago. But he has left us his Holy Spirit to guide us so that we can continue his mission of evangelization. Without the cooperation of all Christians, the work of Christ in the Church is diminished. For that reason we take up our baptismal responsibilities and become the voice of Christ. Unless we speak out in our families and communities, God’s message is silenced. Unless we reach out to those in need, the ministry of charity of Christ’s Church will cease. As that sign which was added to the statue reminds us: We are the hands of Jesus in a world that needs compassion and love.
Yet we know that Jesus’ mission is not just our human efforts but is the work of God. The Latin term “Missio Dei,” which translates to "mission of God," reminds us that evangelization is not just a human accomplishment but a Divine project which the Lord has initiated in us. God has loved us first (1 Jn 4:15ff) and so we can and must share that love with others. When we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit, then we make the Church’s mission a reality. When we remain in union with the Trinity, through our prayers and good works, then the Church’s work is made real through us. It is as a Church that the Good News of Christ continues. For that reason Pope Francis teaches that it is the entire people of God who proclaim the Gospel (Evangelium Gaudium III, 1).
In his final discourse to the Apostles, Jesus left the entire Church the mandate to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28: 19). We do this first individually in our families and in our communities, and then we share His message to the entire world. While not all of us are free to be sent to foreign lands, we are all able to participate in the work of evangelization by supporting missionary efforts around the world. Full-time missionaries are already hard at work. By supporting them, we continue the work of Christ in the world. These servants of the Lord need our prayers and our cooperation to continue the mission of salvation.
Today let’s remember that Christ has no hands but ours.
MISSIO offers themed-quizzes in MissioBot to examine your religious knowledge - and this blog by Father Leo Perez, OMI to reflect on questions of mission and faith.