Pope's Missionary Intention for September

Missionary Intention: Christians in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. That by placing their trust in the strength of the Holy Spirit, Christians in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, who often confront great difficulties, will not lose the courage to proclaim the Gospel to their brothers and sisters.

It is generally true that be a Christian in Asia is to be a member of a small minority. By contrast here in sub-Saharan Africa, Christianity is either in the majority or constitutes a substantial minority.

Sadly, small minorities are frequently the target of repressive governments such as those presently in control in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma), which often makes the position of the Christian believer uncomfortable in the extreme.

Unfortunately because Christianity is identified with the West, these repressive regimes who fear the West and its values and power, can use Christians as political scapegoats, reminding their people of the past colonial history of the Western powers. They can also blame Christians for being a threat to the local culture, and stir up envy against them when they are economically and educationally successful.

We should pray for Christians in Asia therefore, not just because they are beleaguered, but because they have such symbolic importance. They remind us of our past history. We were all minorities once. The Roman Empire once had a small subculture in it called 'Christians'. Christians were a minority group in Africa a hundred years ago.

Hence small Christian minorities remind us of the symbolism of the mustard seed, which is never to be underestimated. So given the  growth Christianity has enjoyed in certain societies (especially African ones), perhaps repressive Asian governments are, from their own point of view, right to be wary of Christian minorities. It is just a pity they are so scared of a faith whose love casts out fear.

This article originally appeared in The Southern Cross (www.scross.co.za)

Advertisement

Chris Chatteris, S.J.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018
The coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII is seen during a ceremony in Vittorio Veneto Square after its arrival in Bergamo, Italy, May 24. The body of the late pope left the Vatican on May 24 to be displayed in his home region until June 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

BERGAMO, Italy (CNS) — Accompanied by Bishop Francesco Beschi of Bergamo and escorted by both Italian and Vatican police officers, the glass coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII left the Vatican early on May 24 for a 370-mile drive to Bergamo.

On this week's episode, we talk with Lieutenant Governor of Washington State, Cyrus Habib.
Olga SeguraMay 25, 2018