WHO PRACTICES THE WORK OF MISSION ?
The question seems simplistic, to say the least, as the answer comes to all of us automatically: the missionary. Things are not, however, as simple as they seem. This automatic answer could be totally denied by someone who would say that the contribution of the missionary to the work of mission is insignificant and for this reason it must not be taken into consideration.
Where does the truth lie? We cannot ignore the work of the missionary, of course. By examining the situation, though, we have to confess that the one involved in the mission is not the missionary, but God Himself. And when we say God we mean the three persons of the Holy Trinity; that is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
This is the truth taught to us by the Holy Bible. The passages of the Holy Bible on this topic are many. We will mention here only some basic ones. The Holy Bible first of all teaches that God-Father wanted the salvation of people and this is why He sent His Son (Galatians 1:4, 1 John 4:10). Without His advent, people could not be saved (Acts 4:12 , 2 Thessalonians 2:10 ). The Son, by coming into this world, preached what the Father entrusted Him to say (John 12:49 , 14:24 and 17:8, 13). Christ, then, gives His gospel to the apostles and reveals it to Apostle Paul (Galatians 1:12 ). The accomplice in this work is the Holy Spirit which reveals the mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:5) to the Apostles and helps them teach it to the world (Ephesians 6:18 ).
The Holy Trinity chooses the apostles; sometimes it is said that the Father and the Son choose them (Galatians 1:1), sometimes the Father (1 Corinthians 1:1, 1 Thessalonians 3:2), sometimes the Son (Acts 22:21 ) and sometimes the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2).
The three persons of the Holy Trinity participate in the work of the mission. Christ called Paul and his companions with the well-known vision to preach in Macedonia (Acts 16:10 ). God the Father opened up the hearts of the Greeks to accept the Apostles' preach or, as the Holy Bible says so beautifully, “opened a door of faith to the nations” (Acts 14:27). At another point it is said that some apostles plant and others water. But the one that increases the seed is God Himself (1 Corinthians 3:6).
We should perhaps add here that the work of mission is concluded with the establishment of ecclesiastical hierarchy which is also the work of the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28 ).
After all these things stated in the Holy Bible it is easily concluded that the role played by the missionary in the mission is secondary. Apostle Paul underlines in few words this role when he says: “for we are labourers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9). This means that the mission is basically God's work who makes us the honour of taking us with Him to work as his labourers. This spirit makes us understand why the Apostle of the Nations persistently asked the faithful to pray to God to support him in his work. We put forward two of his characteristic requests: “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, even as also with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:1) or “praying together for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3).