A reflection by Fr. Mike Traher, SFM
Where do we find the Spirit leading us to witness to the reign of God today? How do we bring the light of the Gospel message in a manner that is genuine, humble, and forthright as Jesus did in his day?
One of the greatest opportunities for a Christian faith witness is through interfaith dialogue with people of other faith traditions, each of us learning to listen and be open to the other. Never before in the history of the world have the major religious traditions felt such a common desire and need to listen to one other, to share together each one’s experience of the Divine. In all of this, God’s Spirit is slowly but surely helping us to discover that we can all find unity in God even as we experience the diversity of our religious traditions.
Jesus proclaimed again and again, “The kingdom of God is near to you and among you.” Is this not the goal of mission, to witness by word and action the kingdom or reign of God?
The times call for authentic witnesses who are willing to immerse themselves in service to the needs of others, to advance the basic needs of humanity and of all creation. Our priorities must be to advocate for justice for the oppressed, to bring peace and healing to those wounded by conflict and ill with disease, to phold the rights of the weak and vulnerable, the hungry, the homeless, the refugee, those enslaved in global sexual trafficking.
We know from the teaching and witness of Jesus that our God earnestly seeks freedom for the captive and the oppressed. Everyone just by being born on Earth is a child of God and inherits the right to share in God’s gifts. Our mission is to live and promote these Gospel values — values that reflect the heart of God.
There is a great urgency to witness the Gospel in the world today. In the words of the late Scarboro missionary Fr. Robert (Buddy) Smith: “There is so much at stake now, that we are talking of a total giving, where there is no turning back. The mission of Christ is worthy of a lifetime. Now is the time to look over the horizon to the world that awaits us, and to see things another way as Jesus did.”