SENT FORTH ON MISSION
At the Last Supper, Jesus demonstrated how Christians are called to service and love. Jesus and his disciples had just finished eating when Jesus, with only a towel wrapped around his waist, knelt down at the feet of each of them and washed their feet, drying them with a towel. Roads in and around Jerusalem were dry and dusty. People often arrived at their destination with dirty, dusty feet. The ritual of foot washing was usually performed by a household servant because it was considered a lowly task.
By his example, Jesus was teaching his disciples that those who want to be great in God's eyes do not worry about how others see them. This amazing example of service made a lasting impression on the disciples. It expressed pure love and by doing this Jesus laid the foundation for true Christian service; one that has become the model for all Christians today. To serve as Jesus did for the benefit of others shows the deepest level of love and humility.
We are called to be actively engaged in the Lord’s work on earth, Ite missa est, Go forth the Mass is ended. When we go to Mass we are given a mission to go out and live the Gospel. The New translation has emphasised this sending forth through the new forms of dismissal. These new forms challenge us more than previously.
We go out from the Eucharistic celebration to live the Eucharistic life – we go out as the Body of Christ. We the baptised go out and live our baptismal gifts. We bring Jesus to the world of today.
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
1Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ 7Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’8Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ 9Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’10Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.’ 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
The Mission to Live the Gospel
Work in groups of four and divide the following tasks between the members, with each choosing a particular area to research. Try and organise to be with people from your local community. If there is difficulty with this, ask the teacher to rearrange the groups accordingly.
What opportunities are there for people in your local area to be engaged in the Lord’s work on earth in:
The natural world:
- By caring for animals;
- By restoring and rehabilitating the environment;
- By preserving the earth’s resources;
- By promoting the appreciation in others of all aspects of nature.
- By caring for those with special needs;
- By joining groups that promote attitudes, values and decisions that promote the equality of all people;
- By providing opportunities to help people rest and relax;
- By promoting religious worship to nourish people spiritually.
- By supporting families who have financial and material needs;
- By supporting families who have children with special needs;
- By supporting families who have emotional needs.
- By helping them to care for their personal health and well-being;
- By providing social and emotional support if they are lonely;
- By providing networks to assist with the practical necessities of life;
- By providing opportunities for their religious development at different stages of life.
Note: It might be useful to contact local councils and churches to assist with this research.
Once all members of the group have completed their research, as a group, collate the findings and together produce a pamphlet of volunteer opportunities for your local area. You will need to include what is needed in the situation and the qualities that are needed by the different volunteers in each situation.
Discuss as a group: Are there any volunteer opportunities we could be involved in right now?
Organise with your teacher to distribute the pamphlets to interested people in your school.
Sharing in the Mission of Jesus
You are working for an advertising firm contracted to supply posters for large, road-side billboards. Design a poster that has one of the following themes:
- Today’s Christian youth – called to share in the mission of Jesus
- In every age, Christians are called to share in Jesus’ mission
- ‘Being Christian’ means sharing in Jesus’ mission to build the Kingdom of God in the world.
Choose a title and include a short, snappy ‘mission statement’. This statement will seek to express, clearly and concisely, what it means to be a young Christian who shares in Jesus’ mission in today’s society.
The poster should include at least three practical examples of how this mission can be practised in everyday life. This might be expressed most effectively with images and short phrases.