Christ invites all missionary disciples to participate in his salvific mission of healing and renewal. Thus, the Church is missioned to stitch tears in our cultural fabric, to heal hearts and minds, to renew relationships with God and one another in our land, and to initiate processes for spiritual transformation.
The way the “People of God” gives witness to Christ as his Church is always dynamic. In considering the needs of the “poor” whom Christ desires to encounter first; in tending to their flourishing and ongoing formation; the Church is Christ’s hands and feet in the world, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The heart of the Christian life is the encounter with Christ who calls us to himself and sends us forth.
The encounter with Christ is fulfilled by proclaiming the Good News (Evangelisation) through concrete acts of charity (Diakonia).
The experience of Christ forms us as a “Holy People of God” who:
- seeks integral ecological flourishing through an active stewardship of our land and relationships;
- is reconciled with its history and lives in the hope of the resurrection;
- celebrates the Paschal Mystery in gratitude for all the gifts received.
The Church is called to live the four ecclesial dynamics,that Christ teaches us in the story of Emmaus:
- to listen (to his Word);
- to welcome (the “poor and the stranger”);
- to accompany (one another); and
- always to go forth (without fear).
That we may resist the temptation to fragmentation and of building ghettoes in the ecclesia, we recall how as disciples—sinners who are called by Christ—we are all bonded as one in the Holy Spirit to be missioned in distinct but complementary ways:
- as ordained ministers;
- through the different charisms of the religious;
- as lay ministers;
- as Christians in society;
- as those who, through questioning their faith or seeking it, live their one baptism
(or desire for baptism) from the peripheries.
Our witness of the Good News must be lived in synergy in all thedistinct “spaces” in which the Church seeks to sow seeds to grow “in time” in today’s Malta:
- at the peripheries,
- in “the city”,
- in state institutions,
- in ecclesial structures,
- in the domestic sphere, and
- in digital spaces.
Experiences of suffering, which shock, traumatise and stultify (see Lk 24:17), are always the kairos where Christ desires to encounter every man and woman to offer his healing and build his Church. Thus, as People of God we are first and foremost missioned in the “field hospital after the battlefield” where suffering is greatest. There, wounds can be nursed to health to become marks of his glorified resurrected body:
- wounds in our memory, personal and collective;
- wounds in intimate relationships, especially in our families;
- wounds in our ecclesial structures and institutions, stemming from a history of clericalism;
- wounds in the People of God of lethargy or misdirected zeal, of strife and division;
- wounds in our public life, especially our tribalism, greed and political corruption, omertà, hatred and discrimination;
- wounds in our ecology, the uglification of human spaces and all kinds of sensory and mental pollution in physical and virtual spaces;
- wounds to our individual and collective soul as we engage in mindless activity that disconnects from the transcendent love of the Father and impoverishes our ability to contemplate the beauty of God.
To be missionary disciples is to be attentive to a process of co‑creation with the Holy Spirit that demands ongoing personal and communal discernment in the ecclesia.
- Personal discernment for my private affairs
- Personal (and communal) discernment on behalf of those I am entrusted to care for
- Personal (and communal) discernment to govern institutions for the common good
- Personal (and communal) discernment to steward the earth
- Ecclesial discernment in the domestic Church or small Christian community
- Ecclesial discernment in the parish
- Ecclesial discernment in the religious congregations and lay movements with ties to the universal Church
- Ecclesial discernment on behalf of the Archdiocese
Lastly, we turn our gaze upon Our Mother, who has always protected the community of the faithful in Malta, we pray for the intercession of the Apostle, our father in faith, as we keep the words of Pope Francis in our hearts:
“Faith also means believing in God, believing that he truly loves us, that he is alive, that he is mysteriously capable of intervening, that he does not abandon us and that he brings good out of evil by his power and his infinite creativity. It means believing that he marches triumphantly in history with those who “are called and chosen and faithful” (Rev 17:14). Let us believe the Gospel when it tells us that the Kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing, here and there, and in different ways: like the small seed which grows into a great tree (see Mt 13:31‑32), like the measure of leaven that makesthe dough rise (see Mt 13:33) and like the good seed that grows amid the weeds (see Mt 13, 24‑30) and can always pleasantly surprise us. The Kingdom is here, it returns, it struggles to flourish anew. Christ’s resurrection everywhere calls forth seeds of that new world; even if they are cut back, they grow again, for the resurrection is already secretly woven into the fabric of this history, for Jesus did not rise in vain. May we never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope!
Because we do not always see these seeds growing, we need an interior certainty, a conviction that God is able to act in every situation, even amid apparent setbacks: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor 4:7). This certainty is often called “a sense of mystery”. It involves knowing with certitude that all those who entrust themselves to God in love will bear good fruit (see Jn 15:5). This fruitfulness is often invisible, elusive and unquantifiable. We can know quite well that our lives will be fruitful, without claiming to know how, or where, or when. We may be sure that none of our acts of love will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. No single act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted. All of these encircle our world like a vital force. Sometimes it seems that our work is fruitless, but mission is not like a business transaction or investment, or even a humanitarian activity. It is not a show where we count how many people come as a result of our publicity; it is something much deeper, which escapes allmeasurement. It may be that the Lord uses our sacrifices to shower blessings in another part of the world which we will never visit. The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. We know only that our commitment is necessary. Let us learn to rest in the tenderness of the arms of the Father amid our creative and generous commitment. Let us keep marching forward; let us give him everything, allowing him to make our efforts bear fruit in his good time.” (Evangelii gaudium, 278–279)