Continuing Christ’s Mission

“Jesus showed himself to the Eleven, and said to them,                                                           “Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation.”  Mark 16:15                               Thus, Jesus was commissioning the disciples to continue his ministry. So, what did that entail?

Consequently, the disciples would now have to proclaim Jesus’ teachings to all nations so that all people would know that Jesus through his death and resurrection had come to give everyone the opportunity to gain eternal life. The question is how did the disciples   encourage people from different cultures and beliefs to embrace the Gospel values and the promise of salvation?  Accordingly, God sent the Holy Spirit to give the disciples the necessary tools as they embarked on their mission. They were the gift of tongues which enabled them to speak in the languages of all nations and the fruits and gifts of the spirit which could assist them in overcoming the many obstacles they faced along the way.

Subsequently, the disciples became very authoritative witnesses of the Gospel which was sustained through the power of the Holy Spirit. That enabled them to perform miracles as well as offering fellowship to those wishing to become Christians while supporting them on their faith journey. Nevertheless, despite their great work many of them were martyred for their beliefs however, their legacy inspired a hard core of believers to continue Christ’s mission which continues on today.

Hence, as Christians how do we inspire people to be instrumental in what Jesus started 2021 years ago? I believe that for me it begins and ends with our personal relationship with Jesus. My faith is centred on Jesus and I believe he is the great model for all teachers the greatest teacher of all who in proclaiming the reign of God through his ministry lived these words: ‘What can I do to help?” For me this begins through being welcoming and being inclusive of all staff, parents, students and members of the local community, witnessing my faith and acknowledging that each person and living thing is made in the image of God. express these qualities through my commitment to the Christian faith, and modelling respect, compassion and faith in the community.  This will be evident in my response to each person or situation I encounter and my profession of faith which I celebrate by using my gifts in the assembled community at Mass, in the sacraments, in daily prayer, reflection, and pastoral care of Church and School Community members. Thus, inspired by Jesus, the disciples and those Christians throughout the years I feel my faith asks of me to continue to proclaim the good news of Christ’s mission. Therefore, hopefully people will still know about Jesus in 2021 years time.

I am the Vine

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2       This was one of Mary of the Cross MacKillop’s favourite scripture passages.  As we approach Mother’s Day, I am reminded of the inspiration Mary MacKillop had on my Mother’s life and how this scripture applied to her own life.

My mum was like the gardener who takes care of all the plants in the same way she looked after me and my three sisters. In our childhood it was starting our day with breakfast, sending us off  in our uniforms to our respective Catholic schools (ensuring we were educated in the Catholic faith) and then listening to the stories of the day at night. I often reflect when she heard our stories this was when she did the pruning. So, how did this pruning occur?

I think one of my mum’s clever ploys was to allow us to have freedom of speech when it came to talk to her about day without interruption. Her only requirement was that we did not speak negatively about anybody (a Mary of the Cross, MacKillop edict) and our recollections weren’t just idle gossip. As my mother would always remind me, “a still tongue makes a wise head.” Now as I reflect on those words, I realise nothing is to be gained from such diatribes. Thus, I acknowledge that living according to that idiom is a powerful weapon when dealing with challenging situations.

Another aspect of my Mother’s pruning was being an exceptional, faith role model in our lives. Mary of the Cross MacKillop wrote, “We teach more by example than words”.  My mum exemplified this through her commitment to prayer, Sunday Mass and paying for our education at Catholic schools helping us understand our own faith and building our relationship with God. Hence, she recognised that God could be a strong influence in our lives, particularly someone we can turn to in times of triumph and adversity while appreciating what we have in our lives.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 15:16 When I think about this scripture, I consider my mum’s character strengths just like Mary of the Cross MacKillops of faith, judgement, wisdom and perseverance. I believe they have shaped my sisters and I in building relationships with God, our own families and friends and hopefully we will continue to inspire others to bear fruit just like my mother and Mary of the Cross MacKillop did.