by Ken Rolheiser
We are made for mission

“I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” St Teresa of Calcutta

Pope Francis said, “Each of us is God’s love story”.

“Have you ever tried to use a lawn mower as a dishwasher? Yea, doesn’t really work that well. You put the dishes into the lawn mower and you turn the lawn mower on and . . . things go bad pretty quickly,” said Father Brendan McGuire in a homily entitled “We are made for mission”.

McGuire says that God has placed us on this earth for a specific purpose; he wants us to carry out that mission. Sometimes we’ll spend a year doing something, and we might even think that’s our mission. And then God will send us in a completely different direction.

Years later we’ll realize, “Oh, God had me doing that other thing because he was preparing me through that for this other mission over here,” says McGuire. The more we serve the people around us powerfully, the clearer God’s mission for us becomes.

At his Wednesday May 11 audience Pope Francis gave a personal testimony: “I have changed my life because I have seen the Lord. Now I am different from before; I am another person. I have changed my life because I have seen the Lord. This is our strength and this is our hope.”

Jesus does not give joy with an eyedropper, the Pope said, but rather a cascade that overflows into real life. This joy of Christ energizes our mission in life.
“Christian life is not woven with fluffy happiness, but with waves that overwhelm everything. Try to think, all of you, at this moment, with the bag of disappointments and defeats that each of us carries in our hearts, that there is a God who is near us and who calls each of us by name, and says: ‘Arise, weep no more, for I have come to free you!’ This is beautiful,” Pope Francis said.
The challenge to us is to be open to the mission that God calls us to in our lives. It may be a simple call. Mary Magdalene simply announced, “I have seen the Lord.” The first witness to the earth changing event of the Resurrection simply said, “I have seen the Lord,” That was her witness.

At times our witness may be a silent presence, like our personal prayers or attendance at worship services. You and I are made for mission. We’re not made to be served; we’re made to serve, says Father Brendan McGuire. And when we ignore that, at best, we get frustrated. At worst, we become really, really miserable.  God is present and faithful in our lives.

Pope Francis said, “God was the first to be concerned about our lives… [he] wants to raise up our lives… Every man is a love story that God writes on the earth… he knows us by name, he watches us, he waits for us, he forgives us, he is patient with us.”

Our mission may not be grand, but change starts with the smallest things. St Teresa of Calcutta said, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” If you want to clean up the world, start by sweeping your small space.

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