African Mission, celebration of the 2. anniversary of foundation
Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord!
Today we celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the ecclesiastical foundation of the Catholic African Mission in the Diocese of Augsburg. Our joy and gratitude we want to express to God, the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth!
I’m sure in the last two years many things are here happened: the praise of God, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, the transmission of the faith in many ways, in word and deed, and the many forms of interpersonal care, support and help. With the establishment of the Catholic African Mission a story started here two years ago, which is a very special; a piece of history of God with his people, a story in which each of you, dear brothers and sisters, experiences a calling and has a place.
You are probably asking yourself: do we have really a calling? Which calling? Do we have a place? Which place? Yes, dear brothers and sisters! You are living here in Germany, in Augsburg and the surrounding area. And by helping to build the Catholic African Mission, you help to bring the Gospel in our secularized Germany, in our secularized Europe. Germany and Europe depart unfortunately more and more from the God of Jesus Christ. But you come as African Christians to help so that Germany and Europe can return to the God of Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church! This is your calling and your place! If the African Catholic Mission grows, it is a help for our weary Church in Germany, then new opportunities open up that our local church becomes alive again. You should become a living missionary community.
If we look at today’s Gospel, then we know we should not be like the rich man. The rich man thought only of himself. He was lacking both in the gratitude to God and in the merciful love towards the neighbor. In this way, he overlooked every day the poor, who sat at his door and had to beg for the necessary. He had no mercy and remained until the end in his egoism. His life ended far away from God, in the hell. Our lives should be different: we must love God and be grateful; we must think of the others, of the neighbor, that is, of the brothers and sisters who set up the African Catholic Mission and of the other African Catholics, who are waiting for you, who hope that someone of you invites them to belong to the family of God and of African Catholics here in Augsburg.
In the celebration of Holy Mass the gifts at the offertory are included in a special way. Above all, it is bread and wine, the fruits of the earth and of the vine and work of human hands, that are offered as gifts before God. He might sanctify them and transform by the word of the priest in the body and blood of Christ, who offered himself for us as an offering to God.
If that happens, then vicariously through these visible gifts also our lives enter as a gift into the celebration of the Eucharist. That should be our concern at every Mass: that we become ourselves a living sacrifice that is pleasing to God and unites us with fellow Christians in love. In his Son Jesus Christ God has given us everything, all his love and everything we need. We are always the recipient infinitely rich and able therefore to pass on this love to the fellow Christians.
Grateful joy fills our hearts today: Let us thank God, because he invites us in the Eucharist to participate in the heavenly banquet! Amen.