One of my favorite TV shows was “Mission Impossible.” The program always started with the description of the mission and its goal. The sender of the mission always asked if the person would accept the mission. I was impressed by the sender’s question because it gave the opportunity to say “yes” or “no.” It respected the freedom of the team and the risk that they would encounter if they said “yes.” It would be nice if we had more of respecting the freedom of others in today’s world.
Like the apostles Jesus has invited us to embrace the Mission. Jesus respected their freedom to say “yes” or “no” to his invitation. He also respects our freedom to take up His Mission or to set it aside, although He is hoping that we would embrace it. No press on His part, but Jesus realizes the efforts of others give credibility to the Mission. The Mission is found at the conclusion of Matthew’s Gospel. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
We are not alone in fulfilling the Mission. He has given us the Holy Spirit who will guide us and He promised to be with us as we go forth carrying it to the ends of the earth. Jesus’ Mission is not a mission impossible. It is very “do-able.” He knew when handing over the Mission to the apostles that they were not faultless human beings. He promised to be with them until the end of the age. We read in St. Mark’s Gospel, 16:20, “They went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.” Jesus knows that we too are sinful people but He also knows that once we let the Spirit in great things happen. It is amazing that even with our sinfulness the Spirit can accomplish much through us not in spite of our sinfulness, but with it.
We are living in a post-Christian-era in which we believing disciples are fast becoming a minority. Our times are not too different from the time of the apostles. They brought the message to an unbelieving world. He will work with us and confirm our work with accompanying signs.
The Mission is entrusted to us and we are asked to carry it forth into a global community. His mission can be summed up in three short statements for us to remember. Love God! Love Others! Make Disciples! Feast of the Ascension asks us to reflect upon how we have embraced His Mission in the past year. How do you know you are loving God? What signs has the Lord given you to affirm that you are on the right track? Have you opened your heart up to allow your love to touch others? What signs has the Lord given you to affirm you? Have you in the past year led others to make a commitment to be a disciple? What affirming signs has the Lord given you?
The angels asked the apostles, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?” The angels were simply asking the apostles where their focus was. It had to be upon the Mission and the Spirit who would work with them in the world We too need to remember that He is in the world waiting to confirm our work with accompanying signs.
Sincerely yours in Christ,