Mission Sunday October 18th, 2020
The Theme which Pope Francis has chosen for Mission Sunday 2020 is
Here am I, Send Me
The words are from the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 6. The totality of the prophet’s words, their unreserved availability and the readiness for Mission which they enshrine, prompt us to search for the question that evoked this response. Times change, theologies evolve, insights expand but the question to Isaiah re-echoes across the centuries. Whom shall I send?
According to Isaiah his journey into mission began with a vision and in his moment of recognition he finds himself in the presence of God. The familiarity of the Temple environment is physically unchanged but his seeing and his awareness have changed and like ourselves in the days of our awakenings, Isaiah is transformed in the Holy Presence. He sees as never before the wonder of God, filling time and space with the Breath of Life. Initially, it seems that the prophet is overwhelmed, In this new dawn, in the intensity of the deepening Light, in the enormity of the invitation, we can relate to Isaiah’s feeling of vulnerability that threatens to overwhelm him:
Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips…
But vulnerability can be a turning point and in God’s Call to Isaiah we hear the reassurance, the yearning to connect with us, the transformation of our fear and fragility until the Presence becomes an irresistible attraction. It was Presence that opened the pathway for Isaiah, for Catherine Mc Auley, for us. “Whom shall I send… Who will go for us?” In the encounter where heart speaks to heart the answer overflows with total giving…
Hineni: Here am I
Isaiah walked forward to open a new pathway and in time, God’s message for Judah became the Book of Isaiah. In re-visioning our Constitutions we too are invited to embrace mobility and to ponder again, in our time, the response of the prophet. Our Mission in Christ is our response to the Holy Presence, in the community, in the neighbourhood, in the field, at the Table of the World. As we join together across continents and hemispheres to ponder the call of Mercy Global Presence, we are invited in Segment Three of this reflection process to behold the Presence and to open our arms to embrace the mission in our time.
My God I am yours for time and eternity…
On Mission Sunday 2020 we are returned again to Isaiah Chapter 6, to listen with prophetic wonder to God’s Call. Times are still difficult in the world of 2020 and we are also caught in the ravages of war, of famine and disease, of displacement and degradation. Isaiah is commissioned to carry a new message. Essentially he is being asked to tell of an Incarnate God, anointing all creation from a human heart. The Mission is in the Presence.
A Child is born for us; a Son is given to us. (Isaiah 9:6)
The news of an Incarnate God, in all creation and in the person of Jesus, the Christ, was a message that would be resisted. Although promised from the beginning (Genesis 3:15), the birthing of the First Light, in human flesh was inevitably going to challenge all prophets for all time. In the ancient system of governance the emperor was saviour and in our terms God was asking Isaiah to herald the change of an era. He was commissioned to tell the Good News that would offer hope and liberation, the fullness of life, to all the people. The vision of the Holy Presence became for Isaiah the content of his mission, and for over fifty years he took the vision to his people, connecting the pathways of history.
People of Israel, return to the Lord (Isaiah 31:6a)
Whom shall I send? We too have seen the vision! In our privileged time of travel, discovery, experience, in viewing the world from outer space and witnessing the invisible mystery become the visible wonder, we join our voices with Isaiah and proclaim:
Here am I… Send me
Anna Burke rsm