Surely you have made other plans!
Any organization, in order to achieve their goals and materialize their vision, needs to have a strategic plan. It basically defines concrete steps and actions in the process, clarifies expectations and provides transparent communications to all involved. As Peter Drucker, an Austrian-American management consultant, educator, and author, once said, “In the face of uncertainties, planning defines the particular place you want to be and how you intend to get there.”
When we read the Gospel story, and witness Jesus’ death on the cross, his resurrection, as well as the terror of the disciples in the Upper Room after his assumption, we can clearly see “the face of uncertainties”. What was God’s strategic plan then? How can the great commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations!” (Mathew 28:19), be fulfilled and all its goals achieved?
There is a story told (I don’t know who to credit it to) that after Jesus returned to heaven, he and the Archangel Gabriel had a conversation. Even in heaven Jesus bore the marks of the crucifixion. Gabriel said, “Master, you must have suffered horribly! Do people know and appreciate how you love them and what you did for them?” Jesus replied, “Oh, no; not yet. Right now, only a few people in Palestine know.” Gabriel was perplexed: “Then what have you done to let everyone know about your love?” Jesus answered, “I have asked Peter, Andrew, James, John, and a few more friends to tell others about me. Those who are told will tell others about me, and still others until the last man and the last woman in the farthest corner of the earth will have heard the story of how I gave my life for them because I love them so much.” Gabriel frowned and looked rather skeptical. “Yes, but what if Peter and the others grow weary? What if the people who come after them forget? Surely you have made other plans!”
Said Jesus, “Gabriel, I haven’t made any other plans. I’m counting on them.”
As we hear in this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus’ strategy was very simple and involved discipleship (being called) and witness (being sent). “He called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two…” (Mark 6:7) Knowing that the Church is made up of saints and sinners, broken people and wounded healers, a variety of cultures and spiritualities, you might wonder how this is going to work out. Looking at the centuries of evangelization efforts, it seems like the plan has worked out pretty well. History shows that not everything went perfectly, but over and over again there were people who answered the call and embraced the mission of being sent.
Now it’s our time! God calls each one of us to a personal relationship with him and to missionary discipleship. Some of us might be called as a spouse, parent or single person. Some might be called as a religious brother or sister, or to the priesthood. Some of us might be called to a specific ministry within the Church or society. It’s up to us now to live as witnesses to the Gospel. Surely God hasn’t made other plans, because he is counting on YOU.
By Jarek Pachocki, OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada – Vocation Director