Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mission not impossible

Last Wednesday our Parish Pastoral Council officers were formally inducted in the church during the evening Mass celebration. My wife and I were reinstalled as couple coordinators of the Parish Family and Life Ministry, together with the rest of the PPC Executive Committee. We hadn't planned on being inducted as Family and Life Ministry coordinators this time, after all my wife and I have already served the council for the past three years. It was challenging work not without its share of hardship and frustrations, and I really felt there were other more capable couple parishioners who could do the work much better than we can. It just so happened that our colleagues elected us again (more like forced us) and the parish priest encouraged us to stay on. It was strictly voluntary work but alright, alright...maybe just one more year.

In this Sunday's Gospel (Luke 10:1-12;17-20), Jesus sent out 72 of His disciples as laborers to seek out and work for the "abundant harvest". The directive came out with a lot of explicit instructions: "Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals, and drink what is not move about from one house to another...give your peace..shake the dust..". Jesus also made it clear up front that the mission was fraught with danger: "Go on your way and behold, I am sending you like lamb among wolves". This makes one wonder how on earth those 72 disciples could have developed eagerness for a daunting mission that gave them uncertain prospects, great danger, and zero provisions. In our office I am bound to complain that top management is expecting more and more from my department and yet my budget gets reduced more and more each year. But just imagine if you had no budget and resources at all, and yet you were tasked to deliver the most significant results for the entire company. In essence, that was what the 72 disciples were tasked to do - at first glance. We only see through it all towards the end of the narrative, when Jesus revealed: "Behold, I have given you the power to 'tread upon serpents' and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you."

It appears that the disciples had enough resources after all - Jesus' empowerment by itself was much more than enough. They had reason enough to be eager, and they had reason enough to rejoice that they were empowered. Our Lord made them realize however, that the real reason to rejoice was because "your names are written in heaven".

In this day and age, maybe we are all placed in a position similar to what the 72 disciples experienced a long time ago.The contemporary circumstances may be different, but in essence each of us are involved in the same mission one way or the other. The mission may be easy, it may be hard, it may produce the results we want, it may not, it may involve frustrations, and it may even involve danger. All of these should be secondary, for there is more than enough reason to rejoice when our names are written in heaven.

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