OCTOBER 23, 2016
A man was stumbling through the woods totally drunk when he came upon a priest baptizing people in the river. He proceeded to walk into the water and subsequently bumped into the priest. The priest turned around and was almost overcome by the smell of alcohol, whereupon he asked the drunk, "Are you ready to find Jesus?" The drunk answered, "Yes, I am." So the priest grabbed him and dunked him in the water. He pulled him up and asked the drunk, "Brother, have you found Jesus?" The drunk replied, "No, I haven't found Jesus." The priest was shocked at the answer, dunked him into the water again for a little longer this time. He again pulled him out of the water and asked, "Have you found Jesus, my brother?" The drunk again answered, "No, I haven't found Jesus."
By this time the priest was annoyed and dunked the drunk in the water again--- but this time held him down for about 60 seconds and when he began kicking his arms and legs he pulled him up. The priest again asked, "For the love of God, have you found Jesus?" The drunk wiped his eyes and caught his breath and said to the priest,
"Are you sure this is where he fell in?
How many people have not found the Lord Jesus? Have you ever met a missionary who totally devoted him/her selves to bring Jesus to the people? I’m sure you have. I have met lots of them and they have played an important role in shaping who I am now, one of those is Fr. Denis Paquette from Montreal who came to Vietnam as a teen. He studied and was ordained there. After working with the poor for 40 years he was put in jail by the new communist government that condemned him as a spy for Vatican. After serving his terms, they kicked him out of the country. He returned not to North America, but to the South and worked with the Spanish speaking people until he ran out of energy. I met him again in Calgary when I first came to Canada in 1991. Maybe some of you knew Fr. Louis Malo who was from our diocese but worked in Columbia as a missionary until he died a decade ago. I also met many nuns, priests, lay people who have been working for years among the aboriginals up North.
These missionaries and a lot of other missionaries are bringing the Good News of Jesus to the world. On this Mission Sunday, I would like to remind you to keep them in your prayers and support them with your spiritual and material help. Do you know that the Catholic population in the world is about 1.2 billion? Other Christians, such as Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans, Baptist, Reformed, Alliance, etc. together make up another billion. That means 5 billion people do not even know what Christianity is. Missionary work is so urgent! The last words of Jesus before he ascended to heaven should echo in our ears: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19-20).
A few weeks ago we had study days in Banff, I sat at the table with a senior priest. He pointed to the non-Canadian born priests in the dining room and said, “If we don’t have these guys from the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Poland, Germany, Brazil, Nigeria… the diocese would be in big trouble and the people wouldn’t have the Eucharist every Sunday. They are real missionaries.” Think about them this week and pray for them. Think about the people whose salvation very much depends on our efforts of evangelization. Invent some methods to evangelize people. Last Thursday someone pointed me to a little note in Medicine Hat News “Ticked Off” I copied it for you. “At the local church that insists on putting nativity statues in front of the church year round. They should be put where everyone in Medicine Hat can enjoy them and only at Christmas time.” There are 26,000 copies of the newspaper and many people may have read it. If you know this person, please send him/her a thank you card. This comment is a great invention for evangelization for three reasons:
A non-believer may be curious to inquire who those figures are and the grace of God may stir up in them some sort of Christian faith.
Away Catholics may come to check it out and it would remind them they have a home and a church to go to.
Regular Catholics may be reminded that the gift of Jesus’ Incarnation is the active beginning of our salvation. It’s also a reminder that Catholics are always in the public. Everything they say, and everything they do has to be a reflection of their Catholic faith.
Thank you again and may God bless you.