Jesus-A Mission for Life, a Mission for All
" I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (Jn 10:10b)
With this one phrase Jesus summed up his mission. In this declaration he proclaims two truths:
It is God's dream for humanity to experience FULLNESS of life, and ALL human beings
are destined to live their life in fullness.
How do we understand this FULLNESS of life?
And whom do we include when we say life for ALL?
Jesus attended to the whole human person. He attended to the mind and intellect by teaching,
to the spiritual needs (when disease was understood as a sign of possession by an evil spirit)
by curing and forgiving. He understood our emotional need to be loved and befriended,
and was attentive to our most basic physical needs, hence his feeding.
Jesus challenges us to deepen our appreciation and understanding of life on all levels;
life from conception, life on a material, social, political level, on an emotional level
and spiritual level.
It is important to see the kind of people with whom Jesus was always mixing.
He visited, blessed, forgave, welcomed and even shared his table with all kinds of people,
from the rich and powerful through to the poor and outcast. But those to whom he showed
a preference for in his love were those barely surviving on the margins, those whose life
was in some way severely diminished.
He included everyone, especially those who were excluded by the religion and society of his time.
He included them by sharing his meals and table with them. This was a deliberate symbol
of the Eucharist and the final banquet in heaven.
Jesus so firmly belived in those who were excluded that he continued to mix with them,
despite the death threats warning him that he should stop doing so, untill those in power
killed him too.
Jesus challenges us to include people who have been pushed out, ignored, discriminated againse
and left on the margins. Even though they are part of the human family, their experience of life
is very much lessened. And our experience of the richness of life is also lessened when we act
in an exclusive way. We all lose out.
Jesus challenges us to stretch our hearts as wide as the heart of our God, to include every living
being in our sight and our work toward fullness of life for all. As George Cardinal Pell,
Archbishop of Sydney says,
" Like Jesus, we have to give the homeless food and shelter.
but we also have to heal their hearts... The poor are not just people we "do goo" to:
they must also become our friends." They gain and we gain from the exchange and friendship.
As followers of Jesus our mission begins anywhere we find people experiencing discrimination
and exclusion and a lesser quality of life. And our mission is to include those people
and help them with all the chances and possibilities so that they too may live life to the full.
Being faithful to the mission of Jesus, and hence the Church's mission,
is not about what we avoid doing, by what we deny ourselves and who we exclude.
Faithfulness and goodness is measured by whom we embrace,
what we create and whom we include.
Faithfulness is being faithful to real people.
Jesus: Good Sheperd in John 10:1-21
John 21:15-17 ...Feed my Lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep.
Feeding Sheep: Heb 5:12-14 & 6:1-3 / 2 Tim 3:16-17
Watering Sheep: Genesis 29:3
Grooming Sheep: Matthew 28:19-20
" go and make diciples of all nations",
" teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Sharing: Duet 18:4-5 , 2 Tim 4:2-5, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, Titus 2:15
Delivering Lambs: Isaiah 40:11, John 3:3 , John 11:25, John 11:39-44
Ps 23:1-6, Proverb 23:14, 1 Samuel 17:40, Ephesians 4:3, Eph 4:12-14, Matthew 10:16
Luke 15:4, 1 Timothy 6:10, James 5:19-20, Jude 1:22-23, 1 Peter 2:25
John 10:1-13, Acts 20:29, Matthew 7:21-23, Ezekiel 33:6-7
" Servant Leader: Servant under Sheperds in Body of Christ."