1 Thes 4:9-11
Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more,
and to aspire to live a tranquil life,
to mind your own affairs,
and to work with your own hands,
as we instructed you.
Funnily enough, this reading reflects a good bit of our life in Germany at the moment. “Live a tranquil life”….we are trying to live a tranquil life so that our tranquility can spill over to those around us, so the peace can be shared. The part about minding your own affairs and working with your own hands is a little ironic. Because we can’t mind our own affairs, and our primary work begins through our hearts.
Here in Germany, there is such a strong work ethic. The first question is usually, “So what do you do, what is your profession?”.
“Missionary” is not the best answer. For one thing, Germans cannot comprehend how being a missionary is a profession. They have a point. It’s not a profession, but rather a vocation that should be in the hearts of all Catholics.
Pope Francis is just the latest one to insist that all Catholics are missionaries, and that all Catholics share in the responsibility of sharing and spreading the message of Jesus.. To quote directly from his May 2013 homily:
Each individual Christian and every community is missionary to the extent that they bring to others and live the Gospel, and testify to God’s love for all, especially those experiencing difficulties. Be missionaries of God’s love and tenderness! You are missionaries of the Mercy of God, which always pardons us, always awaits us. He loves us so much!
My family and I are lucky in a way. We have acknowledged that we are dedicated front-line missionaries in this mission to Germany. This is the force that drives us every day, even if only subconsciously. In our daily life, our work, our vocation is to show God’s love in how He works in and through us.
You too can aspire to do this every day, in your home, in your local community. Mother Theresa said it like this
It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.
It’s not always easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistent persistence, and does feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall sometimes. If you ask God, though, He will give you what you need to be missionary every day.