Yesterday was the feast of Saint Francis Xavier.
He was a son of a noble Basque family in the region of Navarre in Northern Spain.
Francis was studying at the University of Paris preparing to be a lawyer.
It was there that he met another Basque man in his early 30’s who was studying for Priesthood.
He was Ignatius of Loyola who had journeyed through a major conversion experience.
Ignatius began to challenge Francis about what he wanted to achieve in his life.
Francis kept on responding that he wanted to be a lawyer, a famous one, one who brought honour to his family.
After that what? Was Ignatius’s next question…I suppose that I will die said Francis.
What will you take with you asked Ignatius?
Ignatius got Francis thinking…
Eventually, Ignatius invited Francis to join the foundation community of Jesuits which he had just founded. He has also Ordained a Priest.
Ignatius had seen the potential in Francis and encouraged him to join on a spiritual journey.
Eventually, Francis went as a great Missionary to Asia.
He started in India where he Baptised several thousand. He went through the Malacca’s and then on to Japan.
Eventually, he was on the way to China where he died on an island just off the coast.
Francis left a great legacy of Missionary activity. Many thousand heard and embraced the Gospel because of him.
We are called to also be Missionaries in our own time and place. The Church is not meant to be a safe comfortable club for ‘saved’ people. It is not meant to be a bastion of the status quo.
Indeed, Christ does save us. However, it is not just about me being saved it is rather about US being saved.
Jesus told us to go to the ends of the earth and proclaim the Good News to the whole of creation.
The Gospel calls for radical conversion.
It is about true liberation, the true freedom to be ourselves.
We can be Missionaries wherever we are and to all.
When we witness to the resurrection by our life, we are already being a Missionary.
When we live the Gospel, then we are indeed truly loving and witnessing.
As an individual, as Parishes, we are all called in our different ways to be Missionaries.