3rd June 2017
On Saturday June 3rd 2017, the day the universal Church celebrates St. Charles Lwanga and companions, martyrs of Uganda, faithful supporters of the Mill Hill missionaries in Scotland gatherered at St Joseph's House, Cardonald, for the yearly Mission Day.
The day started with the celebration of the Eucharist followed by a time for informal encounter and a snack. In the afternoon the participants were given a Powerpoint illustrated glimpse of the work of the Mill Hill missionaries in English speaking Cameroon .
Yours truly had the privilege of presiding over the concelebrated Eucharist and providing some comment for the the Powerpoint Presentation on Cameroon.
The homily at the Eucharist was themed on the the beatitude: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.
Mission is essentially about living and proclaiming the kingdom, that is to say attempting in our always frail and faltering human way 'to live God’s way', 'to think the way God thinks', 'to choose what God prefers'. To put it very simply it means to love and to forgive. (to love and to serve!)
What Jesus tells us in this beatitude is that if we attempt to do that we will run into opposition, ridicule, we may be dismissed as soft or irrelevant, misunderstood, and in some cases our lives may be on the line.
We have a Pope who is acutely aware of the witness of martyrdom. In April he paid a special visit to Rome's St Bartholomew’s Basilica, which sits in an island on the Tiber river. The church, run by the Community of Sant’Egidio, has been dedicated to the New Martyrs since 2000, when St. John Paul II gave it that purpose.
“What does the Church need today?” he asked in his homily, before responding: “Martyrs, witnesses, this means, every-day-saints, those who lead ordinary lives, carried forward with consistency; but also those who have the courage to accept the grace of being witnesses to the end, to their death.”
The living heritage of the martyrs, Francis said, “gifts us today peace and unity. They teach us that, with the strength of love, with tenderness, you can fight bullying, violence, war, and that with patience, peace can be achieved.”
Fons Eppink mhm