Mission Possible - Always


     In today’s Gospel Jesus said to his apostles: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”  Those words, possibly the last he spoke to them, shaped their mission and their lives. After three years of teaching and preaching, he reminded them one last time: “Go into the whole world….and remember, I am with you always until the end of the age.” Then he was gone and they found themselves unsure of their next move.

     In completing that mission, those same disciples were quickly reminded, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?  This Jesus who has been taken up from you will return…” In other words, don’t just stand here; get busy and carry out the mission.  And they did!  They went down the mountain and into the challenges and brokenness of the world to proclaim the Good News.  Today we ask the same question, brothers and sisters of St. Mary Parish, why are you just sitting here?  Get busy and continue to carry out the mission begun by Jesus himself so long ago---and remember---“[He is] with you always!”

     Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide and empower those working to fulfill his mission on earth.  He began that mission by introducing the world to his Father.  Scripture scholar Charles Cousar noted:  “Just as the eternal ‘I AM’ was revealed to Moses before he began his mission of leading Israel out of Egypt, so have the divine name and will of God been disclosed by Jesus to his disciples as his witnesses to the world.”  However, the disciples were not sent into the world without the proper support.  As his witnesses, it is important for us to remember that before Jesus sent “the disciples into the world, he sent the Spirit into the disciples.” For our mission efforts to be successful, we too must first recognize the presence of the Spirit in our lives.

     Jesus’ plan was designed to help proclaim the Good News to the world.  We are to pray, to listen, and to wait for “the coming of the Spirit.”  That waiting allows us to receive the Holy Spirit, and then prompted by the Spirit, we are ready to act.  That plan ensures success and appears easy enough until we face situations that challenge us to act as the Spirit directs.  In surveying our world today, we can quickly become disillusioned and fail to act when action is necessary.  We know that action requires sacrifice, energy, and huge amounts of faith, and we know there is so much to do, so many people in need, and so much brokenness to heal.  We can doubt that our efforts will produce anything worthwhile and allow fear to silence us.  

     Remember, Jesus came down from heaven so that we could be joined with him.  He became one of us so that he could then bring us into the same relationship he has with his Father. St. Augustine reminded us: “God became human so that humans might become God.”  This is God’s pure gift!    We are not half-brothers, not half-sisters, nor step kids.  We have received the gift of his own Spirit, having God’s life within us.  If we begin to think about that---believe that, then we may begin to act more like who we are---sons or daughters of God, and children of the light.

     Imagine if each of us were to bring the energies, dedication and perseverance of Jesus to bear upon every aspect of our lives and to every avenue where life leads us, how much more compelling might the Good News of Jesus Christ become?   We would know when to hang on and when to let go….to hang on with all our might to what is essential, and let go of all that is not.  God will always be with us sending forth his Spirit and renewing the face of the earth!  With deep yearning we pray: “Breathe on me Spirit, that I may think what is holy.  Drive me Spirit, that I may do what is holy.  Strengthen me Spirit, that I may preserve what is holy.  Guide me Spirit, that I may never lose what is holy.”  --St. Augustine

~ Deacon Wilson Shierk