Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 5:17-26; John 3:16-21)
The fundamental idea of missiology or the theology of missions was once very simple. It claimed that missionaries bring Christ to peoples who do not know him. We find this idea reflected in both readings today. The gospel proclaims that God so loved the world that He gave His only son so that all who believe in him might have everlasting life. This is basic kerygma, the missionary message. The passage from Acts shows the apostles preaching in the Temple area – the paradigm of missionary activity.
As always, reality has complicated the simple vision. Missionaries going to non-Christian areas lands often find, in a sense, Christ already there. They see the people cooperating with one another and expressing genuine concern for the needy. The missionaries conclude that the Holy Spirit working within minds and hearts has molded the people in Christ’s ways.
Still missionaries bring something new and authentically Christian to the people. The gospel remains a unique document expressing the fullness of God’s promise even if it is sometimes misrepresented by self-serving evangelizers. Most importantly, missionaries bring the Eucharist, the sacrament of Christ’s death and resurrection which assures the people of God’s love no matter who or where they are.