Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life…” (John 14:6). Jesus’s message was very clear, simple and straightforward. Jesus told his followers “go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). In the Acts of the Apostles there was a great enthusiasm with an air of expectancy and excitement. Jesus was proclaimed, people heard the good news, and people responded to the word and changed. Great numbers came into the Church, and with great numbers came many needs.
The needs of humans can be so pressing that we can fix our attention and lose sight of everything else. We tend to drop everything until the needs are fixed, but certain things aren’t meant to be dropped. The Church today is the same Church we find in the Acts of the Apostles. Our mission is the same mission. Do we understand that the Church is meant to grow? We constantly need to pray, serve the Word by evangelization and meet the needs of our surrounding community. It’s really quite simple.
When we fail to pray and evangelize two things happen. 1) The Church stops growing and 2) Confusion springs up within the Church. We can begin to believe that maybe the Church isn’t supposed to grow. That maybe bringing people into a relationship with Christ doesn’t matter. That it is okay to leave people where they are at and that Jesus is just one way or one of many truths to discover.
We have been entrusted with a mission as Christians. It’s a simple mission and we need to be faithful to it. When we are faithful to prayer, evangelization and supporting those around us we will be amazed at what happens. If we have wandered from our mission, let us get back on track and follow the Lord’s will, and may we find ourselves with great enthusiasm, living with an air of expectancy and excitement.
Homily originally given on May 17, 1987.