In one of Jesus’ post resurrection encounters with the disciples he says, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” (John 20:21) Matthew’s last words have Jesus commanding the apostles to make disciples of all nations.
Some take a narrow view that these words apply only to people who are called to religious vocations or missionaries sent off to distant lands. But we know that the Father, creator of each of us, calls each of us back to him. He gives each of us the opportunity to invite him into our lives to take up residence in our hearts. Then, like the apostles, he sends us out to be and bring his presence to the people and circumstances in our lives.
Like the apostles, he also equips us with the power of his Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit to do whatever he calls us to do.
As a parent and grandparent, I had the opportunity this past weekend to reflect on the Father’s sending in my life, as my wife and I visited two of our daughters’ families and witnessed the sacrament of confirmation being administered to two grandchildren, one from each family. We have five children including three daughters and a son who are married, raising families of their own, as well as a disabled daughter who lives with us.
Several of our thirteen grandchildren are moving into their high school years. As we see them mature as young Christian members of our larger family, we are able to observe what a fine job our children are doing in raising them in the Christian faith and for life generally.
After almost 54 years of marriage, I believe that God sent me to marry my wife, and raise the family he has given us. I believe he placed in my heart the desire to be an attorney and provide legal counsel and services to a large corporation, hopefully bringing truth and excellence to the people and circumstances in my work.
In the course of our marriage he gave us five children to nurture and raise in the Christian faith and be available to God to be sent as he has uniquely called each of them. We did this with words and example, and the help of the Church and other Christian friends.
Now, we are seeing the cycle repeated with our own children. We meet friends of theirs who tell us about the impact they have in various ministries and activities. We see their husbands providing well for their families and being good fathers in encouraging, nurturing and spending time with their children. We see our son and his wife doing the same with their younger children.
What joy it brings to our hearts!
What a blessing it is to be sent! In sending us God gives purpose and direction for our lives. Sometimes it takes time to discern his will, but he is always there to guide us in finding what that true call is.
As Jesus said to the apostles, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” John 15:16