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Neela Kale Answers:
Our word “mission” comes from the Latin word “missio,” which means “sending.” After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and sent them out to the world to proclaim the good news. As they preached his message, they sent others, who sent others, and so on, always in Jesus’ name. Thus, from the earliest days of the Church, to be a Christian was to be a missionary, someone sent by Jesus with the message of salvation. Wherever people hunger for that message, we need missionaries. While we often associate “mission” with foreign lands and distant peoples, and find the word’s exotic connotations attractive, long-distance travel is not required. The message of Jesus is not only for peoples who have never heard of Christianity; it is also for Christians who constantly need to be reminded of what the good news really means and what our faith really requires of us. A missionary is someone who, like the earliest disciples, has been sent with that message of Jesus. That could be a priest from your own diocese, or someone from your own parish – or it could even be you.