Monday, October 21, 2013

One Family in Mission

Don't you love the image of being part of "one family in mission"?  It's a place belonging, with a purpose; it's a chance to be mission-driven, without having to drive alone.

This theme serves as the guiding vision, as well as the web address (, for the Pontifical Mission Societies in the U.S.  Maybe you already know of their wonderful work.  Or maybe you heard this phrase or recently saw the poster above, since the Church dedicates the third Sunday of October to the theme. 

Ultimately, the question of World Mission Sunday is a question about Jesus:  Is he still relevant and necessary?  Does he really need to be the center of people's lives--of my life?  And is there any other way to bring the authentic Peace and Joy and Hope for which the human person longs?  Is there any other fully-human answer to life's ultimate questions--why are we here, what's the purpose of my life, and how can I experience true love?

The alternative to Christ is to live in a world without a mission.  It is to take the fallen world--and our fallen selves--as they are, and then leave it at that.  As G.K. Chesterton observed, we're all in the same boat, and we're all seasick.  But are we content to let others continue rocking the boat, in pursuit of more power, more wealth, or more pleasure?  Or are we ready to invite Christ into our respective boats and then hand him the rudder?  To paraphrase an old saying, we've tried everything else and found it wanting, so maybe it's time to want and try the One who made everything else.

What if Jesus actually is who he said he is (the Lord!), and what if he is exactly who he revealed himself to be (the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!)?  In this case, World Mission Sunday is not about imposing Jesus on others; it's a matter of proposing the One who alone can "right the ship."

This is the faith we profess every time we pray the Creed, which has been handed down through the centuries by Jesus' family in mission.  If you have three minutes to spare, check out this video reflection which asks the question, "When we recite the Creed, are we being real or being robots?" 

Maybe now more than ever it's time for Christians to know and love and share what we profess as followers of Jesus.  Indeed, maybe it's time to recognize that the Holy Spirit is not just "out there" but is right here, in our hearts, waiting to get to work.  Maybe it's time for Christians to be Real and to continue becoming "one family in mission," one heart at a time.