Fr. Yves Moal is a French missionary priest working among an aboriginal community in the mountains of north-eastern Taiwan. Fr. Yves was only 25 when he first came to Taiwan 55 years ago and has said that he would be in Taiwan until his last breath. He was given honorary citizenship by the Taiwanese government and he now tells people “My wife is Taiwan.”
After learning Chinese and the local aboriginal language he started to work in parish ministry and began to notice that society had many marginalised peoples who were not being cared for.
Fr. Yves opened a recycling factory at one of his churches to turn waste into cash. This factory was able to give employment to those who could not find work or an income; here all were welcome: the homeless, the mentally ill, ex-prisoners and those addicted to drugs and alcohol. No one was ever turned away and the workers were able to get food and a basic income from their work. One Catholic here has said that she knew Fr. Yves for 50 years and never once did she hear him say “No” or refuse any person. Like with God, it was always “Yes.”
One day a man brought his brother who has Down’s Syndrome to Fr. Yves’s church and abandoned him there as he could no longer look after him. Fr. Yves brought him to his parish house, and he lives with him there to this day.
Fr. Yves says that every person is a unique gift from God and has a dignity which comes from God and each needs warmth, love and acceptance and this is his mission: to live out and share the unconditional love of God with every person he meets and especially those who have been marginalised or rejected.
The life and witness of Fr. Yves is a living embodiment of mission. Mission is an encounter and sharing of our lives with other people; it is a willingness to love like Jesus who “loved us to the end”, a love which lays down your life for your people, and it is helping others and journeying with them in their “joys and hopes, grief and anguish”.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus encounters Bartimaeus, and we see how this encounter leads to healing and new life. The encounter is a model of mission:
- First, Jesus sees / hears Bartimeus and understands his life and needs.
- Jesus has compassion for Bartimeus. Compassion in the sense he shares in his suffering and is willing to become involved and help in his struggles and difficulties
- Finally, out of this Compassion comes new life and healing, new joy and new hope.
In the sacrifice of the cross, where the mission of Jesus is fully accomplished, God shows us that his love is for each and every one of us. He asks us to be personally willing to be sent, because he himself is Love, love that is always “on mission” always reaching out in order to give life.
(Pope Francis for World Mission Day 2020)