What kind of trains do ballerinas like to ride? Tutu trains!
Where do ghosts like to swim? In Lake Eeeerie.
This coming week will be Catholic Schools Week. So I thought I would begin by reading our school’s Mission Statement:
“We educate our students in a nurturing environment, rooted in Gospel values and Catholic traditions, where each child is recognized, respected, and cherished as a child of God. In partnership with the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Community, we guide our students to grow in love, understanding, and practice of their Catholic faith, to realize their individual academic potential, and to be responsible citizens who are Christ-like in their service to others.”
That’s our school’s mission statement. Many effective organizations, businesses, parishes, schools, service institutions, etc., have mission statements.
You may recall that in the book titled, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the author states one of the habits as, “Begin with the end in mind.” That’s what a mission statement is. It proclaims the end in mind. It gives us a goal or goals to aim for. It gives direction to our time and talent. It energizes us.
What was Jesus’ mission statement? We have it in today’s gospel. Jesus makes his own the words of the prophet Isaiah. He says he was anointed “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
What is your personal mission statement? Do you have one? If not, I suggest you -- and I -- take on the same mission statement of Jesus, that is, “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and recovery of sight to the blind.”
To bring glad tidings to the poor…
Who qualifies as poor? There are the obvious poor, the poor in money, esp. the homeless.
There are those who are poor in health.
There are those who are poor in positive emotions, -- the depressed.
There are those who are poor in friendship, -- the lonely.
It has been said, “The poor man is not he who is without a cent, but he who is without a dream.”(Harry Kemp) Many qualify here. The bored. The uninspired. Drifters.
To proclaim liberty to captives…
There are those who are lacking in political freedom.
There are those imprisoned by addictions.
There are those shackled by fear.
There are those who are all locked in on themselves because of selfishness.
Recovery of sight to the blind…
There are those who are lacking in joy because they can’t see the beauty and goodness and wonder of human life.
There are those who have a poor sense of self-worth because they can’t see their own inner goodness and beauty.
There are those who are don’t see the light that is faith and don’t know Christ.
Last week at Cana Mary told the waiters, “Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you.” What is he telling you? God speaks to us through the needs of others? God speaks to us through the talents and abilities he has given us to respond.
In coming up with a personal mission statement, the problem is that there are so many human needs and we are limited in talents. And we are limited by time and energy.
I have a suggestion. For just the next month why not choose two human needs as the focus of your mission.
A recent study (by AARP) found that one-third of Americans reported chronic loneliness. Isolation is a state “about as deadly as smoking.” Why not reach out for a month to anyone you suspect of being lonely. Take the time to be present to them, to take an interest in them, to listen to them, to assure them that they are not alone. That would be a great personal mission for a month – and always.
Secondly, I read that 52 percent of college students reported notable bouts with depression. Depression can strike at any age. Why not make a special effort this month to help dispel depression. This can be done with encouraging words, humorous words, kind words, and again listening and being present to another so they know they are not facing their problems alone.
All our life we are challenged to:
-- proclaim glad tidings to the poor – letting them know that the Christian community cares about them, that they are not alone.
-- proclaim liberty to captives – letting them know that Reconciliation with God can free them from guilt, that reconciliation with their neighbor can free them from hurt.
-- proclaim sight to the blind – helping them see that they are made in the image and likeness of God and that they are beloved of God, and loved by us.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon us. Our mission is to go forth to love and serve God -- and bring joy to God’s people – just like Jesus.