At last Sunday’s mass in all churches in the Penang diocese, the bishop went on video to urge to people to go on mission. This was in conjunction to mark the yearly theme of Mission Sunday. A 5-minute video recording of the bishop’s sermon was played in which Bishop Sebastian Francis urged the people to go out to proclaim the word of God, saying “As a father speaking to his sons and daughters I urge you, with the authority of Jesus, to go out and spread his good news to the world…”
It was a powerful and motivating message that could inspire many hardcore Catholics to on mission to evangelize. But is it want we need now in a multi-religious nation that is already badly divided by race and religion? This active call for evangelization is the least we need at this time of tense Christian-Muslim relations.
What we need now is to go on mission in our own church to ‘reconvert’ baptized Catholics who have left the church for some reason. There are so many of such Catholics, even staunch ones, who were forced directly or indirectly to leave the church. The reasons I am sure many will be familiar. It is sad that not even a single effort is being initiated by the priests and parish administrators to bring these lost sheep back into the flock.It is said that charity begins at home, doesn’t evangelization also begin at home too?
Another important issue is the one relating to our fellow Christians leaving the faith, especially those converting to other faiths due to weakness in our own system. What are we doing to deter our own brothers and sisters leaving us?
At the Mission Sunday mass last week every Catholic in the diocese was given a crucifix, a booklet and anointed with sacred oil. These these are not free but could have cost hundreds of thousands ringgit. Couldn’t that money be spent on caring for the less fortunate and needy in our parishes?