Tegucigalpa (Fides Service) – The document of convocation to 2nd American Mission Congress (CAM 2), 25 to 30 November in Guatemala City (Guatemala), underlines that mission in Latin America is characterised by three fundamental aspects: littleness, poverty, martyrdom. For many instead mission is associated with the idea of large resources, human and financial and the martyrdom of missionaries is seen to be almost a sign of defeat, something to hide. Fides asked Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras), a speaker at CAM2 to illustrate the significance of this qualifying relation of mission. Here is his comment:
“In fact, I think that the theme of Mission starting from littleness, poverty and martyrdom is a characteristic aspect of the Latin American reality. The first thing the Lord Jesus told his disciples was: “Do not be afraid little flock” (Lc 12,32).
The task of evangelisation is immense. Only one fourth of the people on earth know the Lord Jesus. Nevertheless God continues to unfurl his plan down through the centuries using simple and humble persons, like ourselves, who are not very important in the eyes of the powerful and those satisfied by the things of this world. There is nothing better that the parable of the mustard seed to understand this teaching of the Lord Jesus. From small insignificant things and persons God can make the greatness of the Kingdom of God rise and grow.
Secondly mission starting from poverty reminds us of what Jesus said when he sent his first disciples out: “Carry no bag or sack…” (Lk 10,4).
Giving of our poverty as the Conference at Puebla said, means giving something original and important: a sense of salvation and liberation, the riches of our popular piety, the experience of our Basic Ecclesial Communities, flourishing services, hope and joy of faith. Poverty, detachment are indispensable for mission.
Lastly martyrdom: in the New testament we find that mission and martyrdom are two inseparable elements. The first witness is the Lord Jesus himself and then hundreds of martyrs of this “young vineyard” our Continent. It suffices to think of Bishop Romero, Bishop Ramos, Bishop Gerardi, Bishop Duarte and Cardinal Posadas Ocampo. Guatemala itself is a land of martyrs.
The Church’s mission is strengthened by these giants of the faith. Only a Church immersed in History, open to the Spirit of the Risen Lord becomes a responsible subject of mission. Starting from this evangelising experience we can assume responsibility for mission ad gentes following the example of the early Christian communities ”. (S:L.) (Fides Service 20/11/2003 - lines.36, words 469)