The Mission of the Twelve
I do not know if you are familiar with this saint, St. Christopher. The name ‘Christopher’ is coming from the two Latin words, Christo or Christ and ferre or to carry. And so Christopher is “Carrier of Christ”. Following this line, Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD in his homily, asked these questions for us to reflect: what would your name be, Moneypher? Powerpher? Problempher? Vicespher? And I will add, or Christopher?
In today’s gospel, Jesus sends His Twelve Apostles for a Mission. Later in the gospel, He sends out seventy-two of His disciples too. He gives them instructions on what to do while doing a mission.
One of His instructions is to take nothing for the journey. For me, I think this is not a fixed rule to be followed. This is to show to us that the success and accomplishment of His mission does not depend on material riches that we have accumulated but on the commitment, the kind of witnessing that we should have and to love God with our whole heart. Actually, when He was born, He borrowed a manger to lay His delicate body; He borrowed a boat and stayed in the shade of a tree when He spread the good news; He even borrowed a tomb to lay His dead body for three days. Jesus not only sets the example. He explicitly warns us not to find our security in wealth and possessions that moths eat and rust corrodes and cannot secure what we are seeking. Rather He urges us, who work for His mission, to put all our trust in Him alone. In other words, trust in the Divine Providence, that God will provide, not only our material needs but also spiritual security in the next life. The word ‘providence’ is coming from the two Latin ‘pro’ and ‘videre’ which means, ‘to see to something.’ God is a Father who sees to things, not a cold pagan God like Aristotle’s, who doesn’t even know that anything else exists. The Father of Jesus is a warm God. Anyway, when we were born, we were born with nothing and when we will die, we will be stripped of everything.
Somebody, a priest, in his homily, said that our greatest treasure is not what we have but who we are. An accumulation of things for a life of ease and comfort can be a powerful temptation. Yet Christ has made us heirs of His fortune and that is, children of God: created in His own image, redeemed by His blood, called to share with Him the eternal happiness of heaven. God’s children carry in themselves the power of God, His presence and His message. And so therefore, we are called by God to be Christophers.
Just like His Twelve Apostles, Jesus sends each one of us to go and work for the establishment of His Kingdom. The mission entrusted to the Apostles on Ascension Thursday, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,” is a mission entrusted, not only to the Apostles and their successors, but to the whole Church and to each and everyone of us who are members and are incorporated into the Church through baptism. Those words are addressed to you and me.
At the end, if you can still remember by heart our catechism that the answer to the question, why we are on this earth, was: “To know, love and serve God, and by this means to be happy with Him forever in heaven.” God then was a means to our happiness. It is not surprising that many found mammon could do it better.