This weekend we celebrate World Mission Sunday. Pope John Paul II called the support given to world missions on this day the “central fund of solidarity.” As such, it is a visible reminder that “we are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that, “if you want peace, work for justice.” The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.” This is a great challenge to us as Christians. We are paradoxically called to make disciples of all nations while at the same time “leaving our nets” behind. This means we cannot expect to have everything bundled up and under our control. It involves much more an attitude of giving than gaining. We must set aside the notion that discipleship means other people must be exactly like us. If we are one human family, as Pope John Paul said, then we must acknowledge that no family member is the same and some family members can cause a lot of difficulty. Some come to the family gatherings while others never do. But all of us have the same last name. The name we have been given is “children of God” and we all live in the same house.
For this year’s World Mission Sunday celebration, we are focusing on the words from St. Matthew’s Gospel, “I Will Build My Church” (Matthew 16:18). The word “church” is based on medieval Greek kurikon, from Greek kuriakon (d?ma ) ‘Lord's (house),’ from kurios. May this day be a point in our spiritual maturity where the Lord's house is no longer a building or a temple or a mosque, but anyplace God's children dwell.