I don’t typically do well with remembering the names of characters from Disney/Pixar movies, but one that I do seem to remember easily is Dory from Finding Nemo. I think I can remember her clearly because in the movie she kept repeating, “P Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney.” I found that kind of annoying, actually. But it’s stuck with me, too, because while she knew she had a big problem with remembering things, she was intent and committed to try to not forget this name and address that had become so important. To the best of her ability, she made remembering this the most important thing for her, her primary mission in life.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God says, “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” And the last of the great biblical prophets—St. John the Baptist—says of Jesus, “the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” Brothers and sisters, we have this primary/fundamental mission in life: to make Christ known; to be a light to the nations. This is why the Church exists; this is why we, who are part of the Church, exist: to make Christ known; to be a light to the nations.
And in addition, we hear from the Apostle Paul writing “to the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” All these special words put together—apostle, Church, sanctified, holy, Lord—speak to our being called or set apart by God for God; we’re made to grow “vertically” (so to speak) in growing in a lived relationship with God, and “horizontally” in sharing that lived relationship with others.
But maybe we tend to forget this most important thing for us, our primary mission in life—just as the People of Israel would forget their mission not to exist for themselves but to be a light to the nations.
In his awesome book Divine Renovation, Fr. James Mallon proclaims, “Jesus Christ must be proposed anew! …We must labor to create spaces for people to come to know Jesus as the living Lord, awaken that hunger and then begin to form them, to make them disciples. We must rediscover our identity and place the heart of the Lord’s mandate for his Church at the heart of everything we do, so that at the heart of every parish there will be a community of growing, maturing believers who are committed to a lifelong process of disciplined learning, who are discovering their God-given talents, who are prepared to serve and eventually to become apostles.” [p. 23-24]
We keep trying to make a committed renewal of our core mission a focus here at St. Peter. This is why it’s important, for example, to have (and grow) something like the Alpha course—a chance to explore and question the meaning of life and the Christian faith in a friendly, open, and informal environment. This is why I feel it’s important to keep growing in the Mass Impact movement, which is about personal, family and parish discipleship overflowing to the world; and awakening families to their extraordinary life in Jesus Christ within their ordinary world. This includes families or groups committed to talking and praying together, which the Live IT Guide is there to help facilitate [go to massimpact.us]. And this includes bringing this to our experience of worship, both at Sunday Mass and at our special monthly Ignite holy hours.
Dear brothers and sisters, as we’re now back into the season of “Ordinary Time,” may it not be a time of settling for forgetting our fundamental/primary mission, but look to the grace of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to keep us moving forward in coming to know the Lord better ourselves and in making Him known to others, and so be a light to the nations.
©2017 St. Peters Catholic Church Huron Ohio.
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