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A simple prayer to revive a sense of mission in all of us

I used to think of things like apostolic prayers as being long and windy, padded with unpronounceable words and hardly intelligible sentences.
But I found one that is different, ¡§That the Church may be a home for all people, ready to open its doors to any who are suffering from racial or religious discrimination, hunger, or wars forcing them to emigrate to other countries.¡¨
In a few words, it sums up a vital aspect of the mission of Jesus Christ¡Xthat all people, of all races, colours and creeds would live in harmony in one family under God¡¦s care and protection as if in a loving home.
The doors were to be open to all who come with good intentions¡Xthe sick, the hungry, the refugees, the asylum seekers, those deprived of dignity, the downtrodden and the wretched of this earth, the abused and victimised of this world.
The door is open to them day and night and also for the sinners to repent and to come asking for forgiveness and be willing to accept penance.
One example of this brave new world is the story of Hakim, a Muslim teenager, who was driven from his village by war and became a refugee and a migrant in the city. As a street child, Hakim was arrested and suffered abuse and hunger in jail and was forgotten.
The Catholic social workers who found him and worked for his release and recovery are an example of that apostolic prayer in action.
They opened the prison doors for Hakim and welcomed him into God¡¦s family. They healed his wounds and gave him a new life. This is the mission of Jesus in today¡¦s world, the prayer being answered and fulfilled.
This openness came from the mission of Jesus and is reflected in prayer; it is to bring life and salvation to victims of all kinds of human rights violations.
The insistence by Jesus that all persons are equal in God¡¦s kingdom, that all are God¡¦s children, loved equally and without discrimination, caused him to be castigated and falsely accused by the religious authorities of his day.
Jesus wanted heaven on earth, an end to injustice, hunger and discrimination, and he prayed that his Father¡¦s will ¡§be done on earth as in heaven.¡¨ The kingdom of justice that Jesus wished for all humankind was for this life, not only the next life.
The privileged ruling authorities in Jerusalem were all too aware of the power, impact and danger that this message of Jesus presented to them.
Jesus brought a new life-changing set of values centred on relationship between God and humankind into the world. It uplifted our knowledge and awareness of the dignity of individual persons as God¡¦s children with inalienable rights.
Two thousand years ago, it was expressed beautifully in the Magnificat and the Sermon on the Mount. Yet all such life-giving human rights have been, from time to time, suppressed by both Church and civil authorities alike.
In fact, it is only in this generation that we see the prayer being more fully answered in unexpected ways and venues. These human values and rights are being recognised in international laws by the United Nations conventions and protocols, and many nations are incorporating them into their laws and practice.
We see the International Criminal Court holding accountable the perpetrators of heinous and unspeakable crimes against humanity. Universal justice is spreading at an increasing pace.
Respect for individual and community rights and values is slowly being implemented and is empowering individuals, communities and organisations to work for the transformation of their own societies.
We also see the challenge that lies ahead, as some nations are oppressive and discriminatory towards asylum seekers and refugees, fleeing violence and economic hardship.
Openness and fair sharing of a nation¡¦s resources and wealth with the poor and exploited has to be fair and balanced.
All Christians need to revive their sense of mission, put their faith into action and work to make that one little prayer of the pope a reality today.

¡´ Father Shay Cullen