Reflection & Dialogue: The entire Church is missionary
During his public life Jesus commissioned the apostles to preach the Good News to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and after his resurrection his commission was to preach to Gospel to the ends of the earth. And in the Church’s history the main emphasis on mission has been that by specially chosen persons. This may overlook another mission there from the beginning, one given to all believers. Christ told his first followers, before the choice of the Twelve, that they were the salt of the earth and then light of the world, and that their light should shine before others so that they give glory to their Father in heaven. Peter in his epistle (1 Peter 3:15-16) told his readers to be always be ready to make their defence to anyone who demands from them an account of the hope that is in them; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. This is a missionary activity. He also told them (2:9) that they are chosen by God as a royal priesthood and holy nation to proclaim the mighty acts of God. The Church, the people of God, has been missionary through its missionary priests and through the financial and other support it provided for the missions. The Church in our own day, in the Vatican Council, and later, has become aware of the mission of the Church as a whole, as God’s people, to the world of our day. As the Council document on Missionary activity puts it, the Church one earth is by its very nature missionary, since according to the plan of the Father, it has its origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit to communicate the love of God to all individuals and to all peoples, and by reason of this it is aware that for her a tremendous missionary work still remains to be done. There is a growing disbelief in God and an active movement of atheism. Believers are missionary by their knowledge of the riches of their Christian inheritance and by a life in keeping with it. They should be aware of the profound transformation which is talking place among nations, and work hard so that modern men and women are not turned away from the things of God by an excessive preoccupation with modern science and technology.