Mission Sunday, October 22, 2023
by Tom McGuire, a USCCA Board member
In the dark loneliness of political tension between China and the United States, where is joy? Matteo Ricci, the 16th-century Jesuit missionary in China, wrote, “A world without friends is a world without joy.” Something to ponder in light of our USCCA mission of building bridges of friendship and dialogue with the people of China.
The USCCA initiated a Chinese and America Ministry of Friendship at four U.S. university campuses during the past year. Indeed, we witnessed friendship fostering joy. Catholic university students experiencing the joy of friendship in Christ responded to the missionary call of the Holy Spirit and invited Chinese students to share food and conversation. The result was joyful friendly gatherings that encouraged reflections and cultural dialogue
One Chinese Catholic participant shared with me his experience of joyful dialogue with no demands or pressure. The conversations created intimacy and friendship. This is missing in the celebration of Catholic Mass. Catholics when they gather for Mass, need to experience shared conversations that create intimacy and friendship, to experience communion with one another in Christ. Others discovered friendship is a way of sharing personal experiences of God with others, even those of with no faith in God. Some became curious about the Catholic Church and asked questions. Some even wanted to experience the Catholic Mass. Seeds were planted, and the joy of the Gospel awakened desires for the fullness of life. The little steps of hospitality made possible the transformation of human hearts to accept the gift of friendship in Christ.
Let us Pray
Come, Holy Spirit, in this seemingly joyless world, inspire in us, confidence that Jesus is our truest and closest friend. May the joy of His friendship glow so brightly in us that others open their hearts to His love. Help each of us engage in a ministry of friendship so we may discover the different faces of one humanity. We are grateful for what we have learned from dialogue with Chinese friends. Send us friends to continue the USCCA Ministry of Friendship. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen
Shalom, Tom McGuire "The Hebrew word “shalom” embodies this sense of harmonious relationships and peace that we can strive for day to day. To reach that goal, we will learn how to communicate love for our enemies and peace." Dunams, Alicia.