What call have we received? What is our call as candidates of Missionaries of Africa or as missionaries of Africa? A call to be sent to the mission of God, a call to communal life which includes prayer, charity, unity. Fraternity and apostolate.
Appointed and sent; as who? Representatives of Christ: Representing Christ and promoting Christ’s message. They went to places where Jesus Christ himself was supposed to go. The need is there: You are all needed in the mission of God “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; ask (pray) the master of the harvest (God) to send out laborers for his harvest”. It is God who calls us to his mission.
The difficulties of the mission: “I am sending you out like lambs among wolves” they don’t know where they are going, they don’t know who they are going to face, situations, life conditions, weather. They are going to a world that is hostile to Christ….The Martyrdom…
Detachment: Travel light, “carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals”. In one way, it tells us to leave all that we have and go with the minimum needed, trust in God’s provision, God will provide. Will we need people if we have everything on our own? In another way, it is telling us that we don’t go to the mission to accumulate goods for ourselves to carry them back home.
Stay in one house
Eat and drink whatever is provided because you deserve it.
Description of the ministry: Proclamation and service. The message to be proclaimed is easy: “Peace to this household, the kingdom of God is at hand”. The service: “Heal the sick in it”, Show compassion and love to whatever suffering the household is going through. Whatever you are going to say or do in a household, for God’s sake, if it does not contribute to building up peace, if it does not contribute to building up of the kingdom of God, please don’t say it or don’t do it.
Warning about rejection: Even Jesus himself was rejected many times in his mission [In his hometown, Mark 6:1-6, Chorazin Bethsaida, Capernaum and Decapolis (Galilean cities). Luke 10:13-15, the unrepentant cities, Jesus not welcomed in Samaritan Luke 9:51-56. If Jesus himself faces rejection, who are we not to face rejection in our pastoral or apostolate. Sometimes it is not even rejection, but it is that our expectations are not met, or we don’t give time to know people and for people to know us.
Somehow, the purpose of our formation is to help us to know we are (people called and sent), to see that we are needed in mission, and to describe the nature of our mission, during this time, we also learn detachment, to eat and drink what is offered to us, and we start even facing rejection during our formation. And it will continue till the tomb. Therefore, formation houses are not manufacturing missionaries of Africa but training future Missionaries of Africa. Open-minded people ready to face missionary challenges and to enjoy responsibly missionary joys. Formation cannot manufacture missionaries because situations, challenges, and joys differ from one place to another, from one generation to another.