In today's Gospel reading, Jesus sends his disciples forth as evangelizers. This is our mission; it's the mission of the Church. We're sent forth as evangelizers at the end of every Mass. The priest, speaking for Jesus, empowers us with words such as: "Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord" or "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life." Or, as in Luke 10:3, "Go on your way! Behold, I am sending you!"
Jesus commissions us and commands us to go and make a difference in the world, in whatever capacity we can, in our homes, workplaces, recreation, etc.
"Go!" is the main action verb in Christianity. "I am sending you" is the main agenda in Christianity. The original Greek word for being "sent forth" evolved into the word "apostle" -- an apostle is a disciple sent by the teacher to do the work that the teacher assigns.
All Christians are supposed to mature into apostles. We all have apostolates! Our apostolates are assignments from Jesus to use whatever gifts we have, with whatever we've learned, wherever we find ourselves.
There are four stages of apostleship. First is PREPARATION, when we are discipled and disciplined by Jesus. We learn from hardships. We discover what impassions us. We mature in the recognition of and use of our gifts and talents.
Next is INVOLVEMENT, when we become active in ministry. Even before our preparations are finished, we start using our gifts and passions and newly gained wisdom in the service of God. And, by the way, if you are finding no outlet for the service you can give to God, contact me at Good News Ministries. We often are able to open doors that satisfy the desire to make a difference for the kingdom of Christ. Good News Ministries is plural -- we are not Good News Ministry -- because we do many forms of ministry under the over-arching mission of bringing others closer to Christ and helping them on their journey to heaven. What would you like to do with the preparations you've been through? Talk to us about it! Go to gnm.org/about-join.
Next, if we truly desire to be effective apostles, we enter into TESTING. We experience trials that challenge us where we're called to serve, like gold purified in fire. For some, it's the "dark night of the soul" and it might continue for years.
For example, we find ourselves in difficult relationships that challenge us to love and forgive more sacrificially. Our ministries might be interrupted by obstacles that challenge our trust in God and stretch our ability to discern where he's leading us. If we don't run away from these challenges or quit for the sake of an easier life, we're ready for Stage 4: SIGNIFICANT INVOLVEMENT, when we're useful enough to reach our full potential and make a huge difference.