Sat, 5/23/20: To the world and back
Updated: May 27, 2020
Today's readings can be found: [HERE].
In our gospel passage today, Jesus tells his disciples: "I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father" (Jn. 16:28).
Some of you have seen our recent parish strategy, titled, "A Pastoral Approach," in which we discuss the pastoral strategy of Holy Family Church in the years to come. The three "elements" of the parish's mission, which can be found [here], intentionally follow the pattern of our Lord's mission, which Jesus mentions in our gospel passage today (i.e. his coming from the Father and his return to the Father).
Likewise, as Jesus came down from heaven to accomplish his work of salvation and then returned to the Father, so also do parishioners depart from Holy Family to minister as stewards in the world before returning again to gather in worship. And as Jesus was sent by the Father, so the disciples are sent by the Son. And as the Son is loved by the Father, Jesus now tells the disciples, "The Father himself loves you" (cf. Jn. 16:27a).
This isn't a contrived mission statement. It's a statement that summarizes the dynamic that first exists between the Father and the Son, and into which the disciples and we are invited. We leave the Church in order to serve in the world after being strengthened by grace in the Eucharist. And then we come back again in thanksgiving to honor and praise our God, and to be nourished again in Christ to repeat the cycle. That pattern defines the activity of the disciple; there and back again, with the Eucharist as the fulcrum. Soon, public Masses will resume, and the great return will be consummated.