Pastor Message - September 29, 201910/15/2019
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:1920).
These last words of Jesus to his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew form what is known as the Great Commission. From the very beginning of his earthly life, Jesus himself was sent to bring the good news of salvation to all the nations, symbolized by the visit of the magi. In his ministry, he was always on the move, never staying in one place for too long but constantly going from one town to another announcing the coming of God’s kingdom in his words and deeds. Finally, at the end of his earthly life, before ascending into glory, he gave the same mission to his apostles, and he equipped them for this awesome task by breathing his own spirit into them, the Holy Spirit, who foreshadowed their mission to the nations by enabling them to speak in foreign tongues.
The mission of the apostles is the mission of the Church. Just as it was their Great Commission to make disciples of all nations then, so it is our commission today. For some, that call takes the form of the foreign missions, leaving the comforts of home and traveling to distant lands to share the good news of salvation in Christ. We have with us this week Ms. Samantha Pashel, a lay missionary with Catholic Volunteer Network, who is here for this year’s Missionary Coop Program to talk to us about her experience of missionary work and how we can help further the mission of the Catholic Volunteer Network.
For most of us, however, the call to be missionaries of Christ hits closer to home. We are called to sow and nurture the seeds of God’s saving love in the hearts and minds of our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors right here in the Erie area. While we don’t face the many challenges of the foreign missions, witnessing the gospel to those closest to us comes with challenges all its own. Let us look to our brothers and sisters, like Ms. Pashel, laboring in the foreign missions for inspiration. May their passion for winning souls for Christ, regardless of the challenge, stir our hearts, and may we just as zealously, even more so, continue the mission of Christ, the mission of the Church, our mission right here at home.Fr. Marc Stockton