“He appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him to every town and place…tell them the Kingdom of God is at hand for you”.
He sent 72, a richly symbolic number in Scripture – Genesis numbers the nations of the earth at 72. The mission of the Christian is to all the world and the message of the Christian mission is not our own message – but Christ’s message – and Christ’s message was about the Kingdom of God – his Father’s kingdom, his Father’s world, his Father’s vision.
We received our mission at Baptism – a question for us is have we grown into that mission? Or perhaps HOW have we grown into that mission? Or maybe Are we ready to accept that mission? How and to whom are we willing to share our mission?
Pope Francis, in his exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, reminds us that we have each been given a mission, “planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel”. A question for each of us is which aspect of the Gospel have I been called to embody and reflect? How well do I know the Gospel – what facet do I need to embody here in my little corner of the Kingdom? What facet do I need to put flesh and bones on today in the 21st century? With whom am I called to share with? With whom am I called to partner with in spreading the mission? Who are the crucified in my neighborhood, workplace, community?
In his book, Reading the Clouds, Anthony Gittins talks about learning to read the clouds and that as Christians “Committed to the inclusive and boundary-breaking mission of Jesus, we are called – each of us in some fashion – to go beyond familiar people and places” (122). In Mt 25, Jesus tells us that whatever we do to the least of these, we do to him. How and to whom are we going to go and spead the word that the Kingdom of God is at hand, shake the dust when necessary, and share Peace – God’s Peace.
Faith Offman is the Associate Director of Ministry at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan.