You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
It is no secret that many churches these days are closing. There are lots of reasons why, but here’s a reason not often discussed: missions. Or rather how their lack of mission is a contributing factor to their demise. Churches that are inwardly focused and only all about themselves are less healthy, and therefore less prone to grow (unless they’re in growing communities, then their growth is automatic). Churches that are not growing are already in decline.
An outward focus opens a church up to the larger world and places parish problems in their proper perspective. And besides the good and great work that can be accomplished through service projects and mission trips, undertaking such work answers an indispensable Gospel mandate. And when we are obedient God blesses us. Every act of service beyond the church campus brings blessing back to the church itself.
This weekend is Mission Sunday at Nativity and we’ll be celebrating our local, national, and international missions at all weekend Masses. Jesus’ command to his disciples before his Ascension is really three distinct command: we are to witness to Jerusalem (our own city), Judea and Samaria (our own country), and to the ends of the earth (elsewhere in the world).
Not every parish can fulfill all three all the time, but we are grateful that currently we can each year.
This weekend we will be announcing some fun and exciting mission trips in Kenya, Haiti, and to Charlotte, North Carolina. Additionally we’ll be celebrating and promoting the wonderful work so many parishioners do right here in Baltimore City each week, to promote peace and bring restoration and renewal. I believe that local missions is an untold story here in our parish, with many parishioners simply unaware of the good and great work undertaken together with some amazing mission partners like our friends at Catholic Charities.
Join us all weekend on the Concourse to celebrate our missions, mission teams, and mission partners. Missions are all about restoration, restoring creation and raising up and celebrating the inherent dignity of the children of God.