Reflection From Colombia
By Fr Jaime M Baclayo SVD
I’ve been in Colombia since 1992 and people still ask me why I answered the call to be a missionary, considering its difficulties and challenges. Basically, I would say it’s a constant discovery of the living God who continually calls many people to commit themselves to the unfinished missionary work of Christ. It’s a process in which one may discover the loving God by being in relationship with him day to day during one’s formation and while on mission. During my formative years I discovered that Jesus loves me very much. Through that experience I’ve developed gradually in my faith, enough for me to commit myself totally to his Cause in a very concrete way. That is by being a member of the Divine Word Missionaries.
Many say that mission work exposes one to the best and the worst in people. I believe that mission work is not difficult. A missionary should start with a reflective listening faith and culture. Through constant listening he may generate illuminated ideas, enough for him to act and organize methods of evangelization and pastoral work. The experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus gives us a good method of evangelization: REFLECTION, ACTION, REFLECTION. On their way back from Emmaus they reflected on the Scriptures and on the person of Jesus. It was difficult for them to understand the way it happened but somehow, something had made them act generously to the stranger to whom they offered hospitality. And during the breaking of the bread they recognized the Risen Lord. The story didn’t stop there. Full of enthusiasm, they went back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples what they had seen.
Listening to the faith and culture of the people in the mission is an act of deep reflection. By that reflection one may enter into the action – mission. And doing mission doesn’t end in action but is a continuous reflection.
During my years here in Colombia I’ve never experienced the worst in people. On the contrary, they have been my great companions in the way of following Jesus and in the way to perfection in life.
Finally, I can say that there’s a real beauty and joy in sharing one’s faith experience with people of a different culture. I’ve tried to do this first in my own SVD community of 13 nationalities living and sharing together in mission. In sharing, I’m constantly learning and growing as a person consecrated and committed to mission in Christ.