You are crazy! What are you doing here?
The reactions from people when we tell about our mission in the Middle East are varied. But there is one that is repeated time and time again.
Many times we have heard expressions like the above because we remain in these places.
Normally we answer by repeating what Christ said “Go into all the world” and not just to the places which we know, we understand, places that are safe, or where the majority are Christians, etc.
With this last reason, we come a little closer to the actual answer as to why we are here. If no one wants to come here and Christ commanded us to go to the whole world, someone needs to be here.
God calls us all to evangelize, as Pope Francisco teaches in Gaudium Evangelii. The majority must be a witness to the Gospel in their families, among their own, in the workplace. A few are sent far away. And He chooses where to send us.
Each mission is sacred because it comes from God. The initiative is God’s, as the Pope says beautifully: God takes the initiative and calls the Church to also take the initiative, calls us to take the initiative.
And that’s what we try to do when we respond to His call. That’s why we’re here.
To this, we must add the fact that we are indebted to this group of Christ’s flock. Because they are persecuted for their faith. Because they are giving their lives for God and for us. If we believe in the communion of saints we have to be aware of everything they do for us.
And here we come to a point that is not often considered. Sometimes even the missionaries who are here do not take it into account, namely that we’re not worthy to serve these people.
Who am I to serve in a land of martyrs? Is not a gift from God to do so?
As usually happens with the “things of God”, that we are called to help is itself a gift of God. We may be tempted to think that we are generous in serving, but in reality we are useless and petty servants and He is really generous is giving us this incredible gift.
That is why St. Paul said: “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (..)I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings”(1 Cor 9 16 and 23).
If this applies to any mission, does it not apply in a special way to the places where the Church suffers most? Are we not indebted to these persecuted Christians?
Maybe we are crazy for being here, but if God has called us to preach in the land of martyrs, would we not be crazier if we did not do so?
We count on your prayers so that we may be faithful to this mission.
God bless you!
Fr. Luis Montes, IVE