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Weaving Ourselves Whole: Exploring Your Life's Story

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SSND Summer Service Week

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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES FOR MAY 21 | Be on fire with the Holy Spirit to be on mission in the world

Ascension of the Lord | Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus promised He would be with us always

Imagine what confusion must have been in the minds and hearts of those who were gathered on the mountaintop as Jesus said, “I will be with you always,” and then disappeared. For the last 2,000 years, we have attempted to put the teaching of this Gospel passage into practice. We have made it our vocation to live in such a way, so that people are drawn to Jesus through the lives that we lead. Some days we’re better at that than others, but what sustains is the promise that He is with us always. We experience the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, in the word of God proclaimed to us and in the people gathered in His name. Each of these experiences reminds us that He is with us, always, until the end of the ages.

Have you ever imagined when the end of the ages will be? The members of the early Church must’ve thought that Jesus would be back very soon. He said, “I am going to prepare a place and I will come back and take you with me.” There seemed to be an immediacy to His words. Now, 2,000 years later, we await His coming. In the meantime, we are trying to observe all that He taught us to do and set an example for those around us.

Think about the story of the disciples going to the grave of Jesus and finding that the stone had been rolled back. They saw a vision of angels, who gave a message that holds true today. The angels asked why the disciples were looking up to the heavens for Jesus: He is gone, and they should go and do what He asks.

I often hear the excuse of some Catholics who believe they have had their turn at doing what Jesus asks them to do, and they’re stopping their ministry so that somebody else will do it. Jesus didn’t put a time or age limit on His call to be disciples. He didn’t say feed the hungry until you’re 60 years old, or clothe the naked until you’re 50 years old, or visit the sick and the imprisoned until you get tired of it. He said that we were to do that throughout our lives so that He might be made known to the world. So what does that look like in your life right now?

We are all awaiting the Pentecostal news of All Things New. We who live relatively stable lives are not used to change, often living predictable and comfortable lives. We don’t like somebody else telling us what we must do or sharing a vision that is different than ours. We all have a choice to make: Do we remain in our anger and frustration because things didn’t go the way we thought they should? Do we take on a sense of arrogance or haughtiness because we didn’t have to change like all those other places did? If any of us remain the same after this much effort to regenerate the Catholic Church in St. Louis, we have wasted our time.

What commitment have you made to become a better disciple so that you can share the witness of Jesus Christ among your family, your neighbors, your church community and the world? Have you acknowledged the fact that you still have much to learn about how to evangelize? Have you become aware that that is your mission in life? Are you finished being a Catholic who just sits in the pews, and are you on fire with the Holy Spirit to be in mission in the world?

Look out and see! The harvest is great, but the laborers are few.

Father Donald Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

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