Two unique occasions mark this weekend. On Friday, October 16, World Food Day, an annual observance of the United Nations, draws attention to chronic hunger and food insecurity which affects one in nine people globally. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overturn decades of progress in human development, increasing risks to food insecurity and poverty, while further diminishing the quality of life for the most vulnerable, particularly women and children.
For Catholics, World Mission Sunday is observed two days later, inviting us to reflect on our baptismal call to mission and giving of ourselves to others. Taking seriously our call to justice, we can create a more dynamic world interaction in which all lives are valued and all have enough to live.
Pope Francis states in his new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, “A worldwide tragedy like the COVID-19 pandemic momentarily revived the sense that we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all” (#32). May this renewed awareness of our kinship last and lead us to discover new and adaptive ways “to give birth to a new world, where all of us are brothers and sisters, where there is room for all those whom our societies discard, where justice and peace are resplendent” (#278).
Many Maryknoll lay missioners have sought to do just that! They have adapted their ministries to meet new needs amidst challenging restrictions. Other missioners sought new ministries and engaged in creative ways of accompanying the communities who welcome us.
Jesus taught us that if we share, if we combine our resources, with trust in God, there is enough. As we celebrate mission this weekend, let us remember the words of Meister Eckhart who believed, “The seed of God is in us … It will thrive and grow up to God whose seed it is; and accordingly, its fruits will be God-nature.”