What is your mission in life? Can you express your mission in a succinct and clear way? Many of us have participated in the writing of a mission statement at our place of work, but have any of you gone through this exercise within the context of your faith? A couple of years ago our parish staff and council went through a process of composing a parish mission statement. You can see it on the cover of the bulletin you pick up on the way out of church today. It reads, “We are a Roman Catholic community committed to the mission of Jesus Christ; dedicated to the formation of disciples, who use their gifts to fulfill His mission.” It is interesting to note that our parish mission is Jesus’ mission. …but what is the mission of Jesus, and have we committed our lives to advance the mission of Jesus?
Jesus’ mission is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, which consists of the advent of a commonwealth of love and justice. Jesus proclaims this Kingdom by word and deed, through healing the sick and possessed, the blind and the lame. Jesus now directs his steps toward Jerusalem – the completion of his mission on Earth. Jesus’ mission on earth is finished on the cross. (John19: 30) Our mission begins by picking up this cross and following in His footsteps. We advance Jesus’ mission on earth through loving others and doing justice. Through the corporal works of mercy: Feeding the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, comfort the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead.
This Jubilee Year of Mercy is a perfect time to recommit oneself to the corporal works of mercy and our parish offers many excellent opportunities to engage in these Kingdom building efforts. To name just a few: the Sophia Sewers make cards to benefit the children at the OLPH Orphanage, in Jérémie, Haiti; our Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers, bring comfort to the sick and imprisoned; the Good Samaritans provide food for the hungry; and our funeral ministry assists with burying the dead. Are you ready to commit your life to advance the mission of Jesus? Perhaps you can begin by reflecting on what is important in your life and what you desire most.
Several years ago I participated in a retreat and ritual that consisted of just this – reflecting on what is important in my life and what I desire most. I realized what I wanted most was peace and joy and what was most important to me was, justice and love. The culmination of this retreat and ritual was to compose ones own personal mission statement. My mission statement is this: I will experience the peace and Joy I seek in this world when I walk with humility in mindfulness, act for justice with compassion, and love with tenderness through understanding. Keep in mind that ones mission statement is more the vision for the future and the path to that future, than a present reality.
If you wish to recommit yourself to the mission of Jesus in this year of mercy I believe that it would be helpful is to first reflect on what is important in your life and what you seek most. Then write your own personal mission statement that unifies your own hopes and dreams with the mission of Jesus – this may take considerable time and reflection. It may mean rewriting and refining your mission statement over time. You will know when it is right – you will find peace and consolation when you are living in mission. Conversely you will sense discord when you are out of mission. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.