Grace to you!
As I do my morning walk through the streets of Sarasota, Florida—where I will preach a mission on the Healing Power of Forgiveness this weekend, and enjoy the gentle breeze and the fresh air of the clean city, I reflect on the beautiful story of the mission of the twelve apostles.
The twelve apostles were sent by the Lord to spread the Good News of the kingdom. They were to greet any place or people with peace. They walked the streets, preaching repentance and casting out demons. They also healed the sick (Mk 6:7-13). There was authority and power behind their words and actions.
The authority and power of their ministry sprung from the authority and power of the one who sent them. They were sent. They did the bidding of the sender.
When someone is sent on a mission, the person is simply a messenger and not the owner of the mission. When God calls us for His unique work, whether as ordained ministers or as men and women in our everyday life, we are mere messengers sent for His purpose. The effectiveness of the mission will lie on our connection with the owner of the mission. This entails following the parameters He has set forth for the mission, including the leadership structure flowing from the apostles.
Some would say: of what use is ecclesiastical bureaucracy which stifles the mission by setting forth many rules and regulations for the mission? Why won’t an ordained minister be free to minister whenever, wherever and however he pleases; after all, the field is the Lord’s? Why must there be parameters at all, though the Spirit blows wherever he wills?
Thoughts like these seem to forget that one who is sent does not send oneself. Many times, God speaks to us through a chain of command. This is necessary to guide the faith of His people and guarantee the continuity of the mission.
A missionary Armageddon where anyone does anything and preaches anything would be a safe haven for the spirit of confusion and disorder. Such a spirit is far from the spirit of peace, the spirit of order, which is at the center of the mission.
Tradition is a beautiful thing. The office of the episcopacy is an excellent gift through which the grace and gifts of the mission are nourished and granted to God’s children.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, one of the earliest fathers of the Church, was prophetic when he said: “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 8). The office of the bishop speaks to us about this missionary spirit, as one who is sent to oversee, nourish and guide the Body of Christ.
I pray for the grace of constant awareness of the missionary zeal and authority as one sent. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Thursday Week 4 B: 1 Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12; Mk 6:7-13]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.