Friday, July 15, 2016

The Mission Christ Gave to Us--Time to Report Back to Him

In the Sixth Chapter of the Gospel of Mark, after being sent out by Jesus to preach, drive out demons, and to anoint the sick, the apostles return and gather with Jesus.  They report to him all that they had done and all that they had taught.  It is reasonable to presume that they were filled with joy and enthusiasm about their missionary journey and were filled with amazement at all that had occurred. Jesus then invites them to go away to a deserted place to rest for a while.

"The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all that they had done in taught. He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (MK 6:30-31).

These few words offer us much to ponder. Like the parable of the man who gives to each of his servants money to attend to while he travels on a journey, the apostles were entrusted with treasures as well. They were given power and authority to preach repentance, cast out demons, and to heal the sick. Unfortunately, many Catholics do not live as though we have been entrusted with anything from the Lord or that the Lord expects anything from us. And yet, he has and he does! Every Christian is given the privilege, the authority, and the mission of going out and making disciples.

If we are honest, this mission entrusted to us by Christ is not something that always defines our lives. It is not what motivates our every action, shapes our every interaction, or serves at the catalyst for our daily decisions. We do not always live as people who are on a mission to serve and build up the Kingdom of God. We might pray for various things, but so often our prayers do not arise from a heart that knows itself to be a co-worker with Christ in the building of the Kingdom. We often fail to recognize that we are meant to live our lives in the world as men and women who are engaged in the greatest mission there is: The mission to draw others into friendship with Jesus Christ. This mission is about eternal salvation.  Do we think of this mission daily? Do we try to sharpen our skills, look for opportunities to advance the mission, or feel even a little bit enthusiastic about the mission?  Or, do we tend to think of this mission in some generalized way that really has no bearing on my every day life? Do we kind of shrug our shoulders when we hear that we have been commissioned by Christ to go and make disciples? 

In our daily prayer, perhaps we should consider that scene from the Gospel above. After being out and about, we have the opportunity to come and spend some quiet time with Jesus. Having been sent out by him to make disciples--in our schools, workplaces, and in social environments--we return to him. Everyone else is reporting to Jesus all that they had done and taught. What do you tell him? What do you share with him? Are you the man in the parable who said, "Lord, here is what you gave me. I buried it and am now returning it to you?" Or are you like the apostles who came back filled with joy and amazement at all that had been done in and through them?

There is not just one way of making disciples. The Lord has given to all of us various gifts and talents. What are the ways that I could help make disciples? Who are the persons that the Lord has placed in my life who may come to know him through me? Do I pray for those persons? Do I live as ta true friend to those persons and as a true model of Christian life to them? Do I talk to them about serious things and provide opportunities for them to consider the Christian life? Do I witness to them about my own Faith?

It's not enough to have a vague sense that there is something in the bible about us being called to make disciples. If we are Christians, then we are called to share the Gospel and make disciples, each in his or her own way. To do this, we need to live with the joy and enthusiasm of missionaries sent out into the world by Christ. 

Today, take five minutes and imagine yourself talking to Christ about what you've been doing to advance the mission.  If you find yourself struggling to provide any evidence at all that you are his missionary disciple, don't be discouraged.  But, perhaps you can ask him to show you and to provide to you clear opportunities to be a missionary. If we can't provide him much about what we've already done, we could show him that we are serious about this mission by making concrete plans for what we will do tomorrow: I will pray for this person who does not know Christ or who has left the Church. I will reach out to these persons. I will invite someone to Mass with me. I will mention to a friend at work that I went to Mass on Sunday. I will look for an opportunity to share with someone what the Lord has done in my life.

There is a world full of people whose lives would be made infinitely better by having a friendship with Jesus Christ. How will they be his friend if they are never introduced to him? And who is going to introduce them to Jesus if not you? 

It's time we all had a sit down with Jesus and told him what we've been doing with the mission entrusted to us. Let's start bringing him some awesome reports.

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