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CFE 103 Catholic Foundations of Mission

To do mission is an integral part of Christianity’s self-understanding. Christianity
cannot be understood apart from its activity of doing mission. Hence, from the very
beginning, Christians have been engaged in witnessing for the faith and
communicating the message of the faith to many nations and cultures. And as there
was growth in the understanding of the faith, so there were changes in how the Church
conceived and did mission. Furthermore, there were development in the understanding
of mission necessitated by changing times and situations. One important change is the
shift from ecclesio-centric to theo-centric view of mission.
Lesson 1. The Ecclesio-centric and the Theo-centric Understanding of Mission
- An activity showing how mission was done before.
Inspired Word
- Jesus sending the Seventy-Two
Church Teaching
A shift in understanding mission from:
a. Mission as primarily belonging to the Church.
b. Even if there is the acknowledgement that God is the origin and source
of mission, this idea is not emphasized.
c. Excludes others outside the Church in the doing of mission. Since mission
is primarily the work of the Church, doing mission is also the work of Church
leaders and members only.
d. Mission therefore is equivalent to converting others to become
members of the Church. Sometimes evangelization is the same as
e. The number of converts, indicated by baptismal records, is an
important gauge for a successful missionary activity.
f. Such an understanding resulted in insensitive attitude towards
indigenous views and practices in mission territories.
g. Such a narrow view of mission has been criticized in modern missiology
as very limited and unfaithful to the inclusive and tolerant spirit of the
vision and practice of Jesus.
References: Amaladoss, M. “The Challenges of Mission Today”; Bosch,
David. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shift in Theology of Mission, 1991;

Caluza, R. “Reflections on Mission,” 2013; Shenk, W. Changing Frontiers of
Mission, 1999.

To an understanding of mission as one that affirms the following (theo-

centric view):
a. God's redemptive mission: the source – The source of the Church's
mission is the work of God in redeeming creation. God always takes the
initiative to reach out to human beings in their varied cultural situations.
b. Jesus: the embodiment of God's mission – God's mission of redemption
is concretized in the person and ministry of Jesus. The Church’s mission has
to pattern itself to the Jesus event as testified to by the New Testament
writings, especially the Gospels.
c. Holy Spirit: the Power for the mission – In the Gospels and in the Acts,
Jesus and the disciples' mission is always inspired and directed by God's
Spirit, so the Church must be open to this inspiration and guidance in her
d. Church: An instrument for the mission – The Church participates in God's
mission of redemption. The Church does not own the mission and so it has
always to discern God’s will in the very concrete situations where she finds
herself in.
e. Cultures: the context of the mission – Understanding and dialoguing
with cultures is a necessary prerequisite to doing effective missionary
Missionary Response
By shifting to a theo-centric understanding of mission, we are all called to:
 Be active participants in God’s redemptive action in the world and the
whole of creation: as priests and ministers, as religious/consecrated life,
layperson –doctor, teacher, workers, parent, student, etc.

References: Amaladoss, M. The Challenges of Mission Today; Bosch, D.

Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shift in Theology of Mission, 1991; Redemptoris
Missio; Shenk, W. Changing Frontiers of Mission, 1999; Verstraelen, F.J. et al.
Missiology: An Ecumenical Introduction, 1995; Stuhlmueller, C and Senior, D. The
Biblical Foundations for Mission. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1983; Verbum Domini.

Chapter I. Mission and the Jesus-event
As followers of Jesus, we see in him and in his life the model for
participating in God's redemptive act. He is the content and process of doing
Lesson 1: The Incarnation as God's Contextualization of Himself
- An activity on the theme that we can only understand and be truly
united with people if we experience what they experience.
Inspired Word
- The prologue of John’s Gospel (John 1: 1)
Church Teaching
1. The mystery of the Incarnation (God becoming a human being in Jesus;
Immanuel), is God
a. reaching out to the whole of creation
b. immersing Himself in the very concrete situation of His people. In the
words of the Old Testament, He “pitched his tent among His people.”
2. God's vision/ dream for creation (Jn 10:10 – Fullness of life)
3. Jesus' life and ministry as the concretization of God's vision (dream) and
mission (action) for creation
Missionary Response
As missionaries we incarnate Jesus by:
References: Bevans, S. Models of Contextual Theology, 2008; Dei Verbum; Kirk, A.
Mission Under Scrutiny: Confronting Current Challenges, 2006; Laudato Si, 2015;
Redemptoris Mission; Soogard, V. Media in Church and Mission, 1993.

Lesson 2: Jesus' Relationship with God

- An activity on describing relationships with parents
Inspired Word
- Text on Jesus teaching his disciples how to pray to the Father. The Lord’s
Prayer indicates the kind of relationship Jesus had with God, his Father which
every missionary must have.

Church Teaching
- Jesus’ relationship with God is
1. Important in understanding how Jesus saw his mission
2. Characterized by intimacy as seen in his
a. prayer life
b. attitudes
c. preaching and dealing with people
3. Source of Jesus' passion for his mission
-Jesus is passionate because God is passionate
4. Jesus saw his mission as fidelity to his relationship with God
-Jesus' “food” as doing the Father's will
5. Jesus' saw God's will as primary and ultimate
- “Not my will but your will be done.”
Missionary Response
- As missionaries, we must exert effort to improve our relationship with
God by:

References: Borg, M. Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, 1994; Jeremias, J.
Abba: the Prayer of Jesus, 1978; Schweitzer, E. Jesus the Parable of God.
Edinburgh: Taudt Clark, 1997; Stuhlmueller, C. and Senior, D. The Biblical
Foundations for Mission. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1983.

Lesson 3: The Church's mission is patterned on the Jesus’ mission

-An activity about personal or community experiences of liberation
Inspired Word
- Jesus’ speech before the start of his ministry in Luke (Lk 4: 18-20)
Church Teaching
Jesus’ ministry was:
1. Liberating
a. Liberation as a theme of Jesus' ministry is suggested by the so-called
programmatic speech (Lk. 4:18-20)

b. Liberation theme is seen in his teachings (parables, sayings, critiques)
and practice (table fellowship, healings, manner of relating).
2. Hope-bearing
a. Jesus’ teachings and practice as source of hope for the suffering and
the marginalized
b. Relevant texts: the programmatic speech (Lk. 4: 18-20); the beatitudes
(Lk. 6: 20-23); healing stories
3. Inclusive
a. Jesus' teachings and practice as boundary-shattering, inclusive,
reaching out. These are suggested by his parables, table practice,
b. Relevant texts: The parable of the good Samaritan; parables about the
kingdom; stories about Jesus eating with outcasts; healing of the woman
with hemorrhage.

Missionary Response
As missionaries, we help others experience liberation and hope by:
References: Amaladoss, M. Mission as Prophecy, 1994; Boff, L. Jesus the Liberator.
Maryknoll: Orbis, 1992; Borg, M. Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, 1995;
Crossan, J.D. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. New York: Harper San Francisco,
1994; O,Murchu, D. Inclusivity a Gospel Mandate. Quezon City: Claretian
Communications Foundation, Inc., 2015; Spina, F.A. The Faith of the Outsider:
exclusion and Inclusion in the Biblical Story. Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2006;
Stuhlmueller, C. and Senior, D. The Biblical Foundations for Mission. Maryknoll,
New York: Orbis, 1983.

Lesson 4: The Mission Goal: Kingdom of God

- An activity on our experience of well-being
Inspired Word
- The parables of the kingdom
Church Teaching
The core of Jesus' ministry (teaching and practice) is summed up in the
concept “Kingdom of God.” This is a master symbol concretizing within the

Jewish context of Jesus' time what God wants and does for his people. Some
descriptions are of the Kingdom are:
1. Holistic: including the socio-political and economic
2. Present and future: concerned about the here and now and not just the after-
3. Gift and task: God makes the kingdom and reality but we are instruments

Missionary Response
As missionaries, we help concretize the notion of the Kingdom by:
References: Bosch, D. “The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this World.” In
Journal for Theology, Vol. 29, 1990, pp. 3-13; Fuellenbach, John. Community for
the Kingdom. Manila: Logos Publications, 2001; Loewe, W.P. An Introduction to
Christology. Quezon City: Claretian Publications, 1996; De Mesa, Jose M. and
Wostyn, Lode L. Doing Christology. Quezon City, Claretian Publications, 1989;
Dych, William V. Thy Kingdom Come: Jesus and the Reign of God. New York:
Crossroad Publications, 1999; Phan, Peter C. “In His Kingdom of God: A
Theological Symbol for Asians.” Theological Reprints in the Service of the Mission,

Chapter II. Mission as a Christian Imperative

An integral part of the definition of Christianity is its being missionary. This has to
be seen always as rooted in God's love for humanity and creation which, at one point
in history, became very clear and nuanced in the person and life of Jesus.
Lesson 1. The Church is missionary by nature
- An activity on the common understanding that the function of
something is determined by its nature.
Inspired Word
- Paul’s image of the Church as People of God.
Church Teaching
1. Mission is the fundamental reality of the Christian life (Castro)
a. Life has purpose only to the extent that it has a missionary dimension
b. By virtue of baptism, mission is a Christian responsibility

c. In Christian anthropology, to be human is to be other-directed
- Paul’s “nobody lives for him/herself” (Rom. 14)
- Schillebeeckx's anthropological constants: relating with others,
with society, with culture and history
- We are always kapwa to another (De Mesa, J.; Enriquez, V.)
2. The Church's link to Jesus obligates the Church to do mission
a. The vine and the branches (Jn. 15:1-17)
b. The Church as Body of Christ (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; eph. 1:23; 5:30; Col.
c. The great commission (Mt 28:19-20)
d. Jesus sends his disciples (Jn. 20:21)
d. Preaching Jesus from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Act 1:8)
Missionary Response
We cannot escape the fact that we are missionaries. As such, we have to
cultivate the following attitudes and their corresponding behaviors which are as
References: Castro, E. Sent Free: Mission and Ministry in the Perspective of the
Kingdom; Kirk, Andrew. Mission Under Scrutiny: Confronting Contemporary
Challenges. Minneapolis: Darton Longman and Todd, 2006; PCP II Nos. 67-71,
102-109; Stuhlmueller, C. and Senior, D. The Biblical Foundations for Mission.
Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1983; Evangelii Gaudium; Gaudium et Spes; Fiorenza,
F.S. “The Churches Religious Identity and its Social and Political Mission.” In
Theological Studies, 1982.
Lesson 2. The Church's relationship to the world is missionary in character
- An activity showing the relationship between the Church and society
Inspired Word
- The Gospel text on who is the greatest
Church teaching
a. The Church as servant (Gaudium et Spes)
- The Church is to serve and not to be served (GS 3)
- Christians must not shirk from their earthly responsibilities (GS 23)
- Doing the Father’s will is “taking a strong grip of the work at hand”

(GS, 93)
b. The Church as leaven for society
- Church must read the “signs of the times” (GS 40)
- The world is the arena of God’s saving actions (GS, 23)
c. Church must learn from society
- The Church can and ought to be enriched by the development
of human social life (GS, 44)
- The Church is not only a teacher but also a learner (GS, 40)
d. Examples of societal transformations where the Church played an
important role
- politics, economic, social
Missionary Response
We can be missionaries by being servants to one another in the following
References: Gaudium et Spes; Redemptoris Missio; PCP II; Compendium of the
Social Doctrines of the Church; Fiorenza, F.S. “The Churches Religious Identity
and its Social and Political Mission.” In Theological Studies, 1982.

Chapter III. Doing Mission Today: Contexts, Issues, and Methods

Doing mission today has to dialogue with a changed and constantly changing
context. The Church's message of God's love becomes meaningful only if it touches the
present experiences of people. The Church is duty-bound to study and understand
these contexts.
Lesson 1. Nature of today's missionary context
- An activity that can concretely describe the present missionary
Inspired Word
- The text referring to Jesus sending his disciples as “sheep among
Church Teaching
1. Largely globalized world

a. On the economic aspect
- increase in global/ national income and productivity
- concentration of wealth and power in a few
- Unjust distribution of wealth
- deprivation and impoverishment of the poor and marginalized
b. On human development/ rights
- disenfranchisement of peoples
- religious and ethnic fundamentalism
- exclusion of certain groups
2. Highly technological
a. Impact of technological developments on the life of individuals and
- challenge to traditional ways of life and values
- marginalization of the masses
- machines take over labor
b. Use of mass media in evangelization: possibilities, challenges, issues
- fast and wide spread of knowledge, pseudo-knowledge, and
outright fake news
- information overload
- digitization
References: Eilers, Franz-Joseph. Globalization, Culture, and Religious
Communication.” Religion and Social Communication. Vol. 7, No. 1-2, 2009, pp. 61-81;
Shome, Raka and Hedge, Radha. “Culture, Communication, and the Challenge of
Globalization.” In Critical Studies in Media Communication, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2002, pp. 172-
189; PCP II; Laudato Si; Compendium of the Social Doctrines of the Church.
3. Poverty in the face of affluence
a. Roots/ causes: Corruption, unequal distribution of resources,
b. poverty and its many evil effects
c. poverty as global phenomenon
4. Religious extremism and intolerance
a. Roots/ causes: Religious, economic, political

b. Threats to freedom and human existence: can lead to terrorism,
poverty, and war
5. Ecological destruction
a. Roots/ causes
b. Impact of ecological destruction on human life

Missionary Response
References: Shenk, W. Changing frontiers of Mission, 1999; Laudato Si; Shome
and Hedge; Eilers, Franz-Joseph. Globalization, Culture, and Religious
Communication.” Religion and Social Communication. Vol. 7, No. 1-2, 2009, pp.
61-81; Compendium of the Social Teacings of the Church.

Lesson 2. Missionary Call and Engagement

- An activity showing how different religions react to one another
Inspired Word
- Paul’s “no gentile, no Jew; no slave or free....”
Church Teaching
1. Mission and Dialogue of Life
a. The fact, beauty, and challenges of difference: Paul's “unity in diversity”
b. Nature and principles of dialogue of life
References: FABC papers; PCP II nos. 110-115; Laudato Si; Prior, John M. Religion and
Social Communication: Relations and Challenges.” In Religion and Communication,
Vol. 7, Nos. 1-2, 2009.

Lesson 3. Mission and Culture

- An activity that brings out the differences in culture
Inspired Word
- Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (A clash of beliefs and cultural
Church Teaching

1. Notions of culture
a. Empirical vs. classical
b. Vatican II understanding of culture
2. Relationship between faith and culture
a. Culture as integral aspect of being human
b. Culture as the ground where faith grows and flourishes
c. Necessity of inculturation and interculturation
- Dialogue between faith and culture
- Dialogue between and among cultures
Missionary Response
As missionaries we are called to dialogue with others in the following ways:
References: Borg, M. Jesus a New Vision: Spirit, Culture, and the Life of
Discipleship. New York: Harper San Francisco, 1987; De Mesa, Jose M. In Solidarity
with Culture. Quezon City: Maryhill School of Theology, 1991; De Raedt, J. “The
Notions of Culture.” Saint Louis university Research Journal. 32/2, Dec. 2001;
Flemming, Dean. Contextualization in the New Testament: Patterns for Theology
and Mission. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2005; Kraft, C.H. Christianity
in Culture. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1979; Luzbetak, L. The Church and
Cultures. 2nd Revised Ed. Maryknoll: Orbis, 1988.
Lesson 4. Mission and Ecology
- An activity on environmmental degradation
Inspired Word
- The First Creation story in Genesis, or Paul’s “the whole of creation is
groaning ...”
Church Teaching
1. Integrity of creation
a. The web of life: we are interconnected and salvation is for the whole of
- The sun is our brother, the moon our sister (St. Francis of Assisi)
- All of creation will be set free (Rom. 8:21-22)
b. Human solidarity with the rest of creation

- Creation as kapwa-kalikasan
- Common origin and destiny (Gen. 1; Rom. 8)
c. The earth as home
2. Sustainable development and inter-generational responsibility
a. A more holistic understanding of development
- economic/ material
- socio-political
- spiritual
b. Seriously taking responsibility for the future generations
- focus on the sustainability of resources
3. The Sapat Principle as an ecological moral imperative vs.
a. consumerism
b. materialism
c. wastefulness
d. unbridled desire for profit
Missionary Response
As missionaries united with the whole of creations, the following are what
we can do to save our only home in this life:
References: Boff, L. Ecology and Liberation: A New Paradigm. Maryknoll, N.Y.:
Orbis Books, 1995; Laudato Si: PCP II; Compendium of the Social Doctrines of the