Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: only the view of the above.
Saint Joseph’s Church is known also as the ‘Mission Anglophone’. We are a Mission as well as being a parish of the Archdiocese of Paris. The Gospel of St Mark today helps us appreciate this.
Besides gathering each Lord’s Day to praise and worship God, we are a ‘sent’ people. We are sent at the end of our Mass to be witnesses to Jesus’ presence and action in our world.
A particular calling in life gives us the context for our missionary calling. Couples are called to be witnesses to Jesus in their marriage. Marriage is an image of the relationship between Christ and us, His church. The kernel is love. Law embodies what God asks; only love can carry out the true will of God.
A couple blessed with children can make a conscious choice to set their loved baby on the path of faith. This they do when they carry the infant to the Baptismal Font. Parents are missioned to be the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith; prayer is offered that they may be the best of teachers. My experience is that first hearing about God in the home sets the deepest root for the rest of a person’s life of faith.
Some people say that the baptism of a baby ‘traps’ the child for the rest of their life. This is not the case. Every parent wants the very best for give their loved little one. So, they make choices that their baby can’t yet make – about injections against disease; a suitable creche to assist their growth and development. None of these, nor baptism, need wait until the child reaches maturity.
Of course, there are baptised children who, when grown up, don’t continue with their inherited faith. This is possible because of free-will, a wonderful gift from God. Without freedom, there can be neither faith nor love.
Many of us grew up with the idea that ‘missionary work’ was for nuns, brothers and priests. The history of the Church leaves no doubt about the amazing work they did in places near and far.
In our day, this has changed. The missionary call is still to religious and priests but not exclusively. This age of Laity calls all to be missionaries; not because of a shortage of priests, but in virtue of our baptism.
Our Mission Anglophone in Paris will from next month have one resident Passionist priest. This is not so much a problem as a great opportunity for us to link arms and boldly proclaim the love of God to people, near and far.