Missionary Identity: standing up by the Risen Lord
From April 29th to May 5th 2019, the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ) and the Comboni Missionary Sisters (CMS) working in South Sudan held their annual retreat at the Good Shepherd Peace Centre, in Kit, some kilometres away from the South Sudanese capital Juba. The retreat was masterfully led by his Lordship, Mons. Giuseppe Filippi, bishop of Kotido, Uganda.
The major themes of the retreat were aiming at improving our relationship with God, which is the main source of our ministry and which, at the same time, creates a desirable positive atmosphere among the missionary community and at the inside of the pastoral teams and, in fact, this dynamics end up giving a true and credible witnessbefore the people to whom the missionaries are sent .
Mons. Filippi affirmed that our true identity comes from a deep relationship with God: He is the one who has called us into being first, and then into the Comboni missionary vocation. And humanly speaking the issue of identity is connected with the human need to belong to a larger project. Men and women cannot stand on their own in front of the many challenges that life puts before them every day. Therefore, there is an inner longing inside each one of us to belong to a place, to a family or to an institution, because this entity or reality allows us to stand in front of the whole world.
Therefore, as the witness to the risen Lord, we are called to stand by Him, identifying ourselves with Him, with his project and even to the extend of experiencing the same passion Christ underwent for the salvation of all. Only through dying with Christ, sharing in His suffering and passion, we will share in the joys of his resurrected being as well.
The retreat was a serious call to all of us: to remind us where we did come from, with whom are we to identify ourselves, and how our daily relationship with God and neighbour may bring about the coming of God’s Kingdom amongst us, where standing up by the risen Lord is our commitment, the fulfilment of our call and the difficult task that Jesus is demanding from all His followers.