Ask God for Zeal!
Yoda: Do or do not. There is no try
I have a confession to make, one which I know might lose me some friends and even some respect. Here it goes: I have never watched a Star Wars movie. Well, I watched the first 15 minutes of the Star Wars reboot and found it just a little too sci-fi to encourage me to continue watching.
I have never bought Star Wars book covers or pencil cases or even a T-shirt. I do, however, have a friend who used to doodle sketches of Yoda on my lecture notes during our time at university, so I suppose I am a part-time fan by association.
From my investigation into the Star Wars phenomenon (and by that I mean asking Google), it would appear that the characters are always on a mission for something and are at times interrupted by opposing forces. That sounds a little like the lives of Jesus and the apostles, too. The Easter season, which also includes Vocations Sunday on April 25, is a good time to ponder the meaning of mission.
“Go forth and make disciples of all nations,” Christ says to his apostles (Matthew 28:19). I dare say, one must admire the trust that Jesus shows here. Not many would have such confidence in people who had denied them in front of others and abandoned them at the hour of their death. It is even more surprising when we consider that Jesus entrusted the apostle with such a serious and important task.
I do think, though, that all of us can see something of ourselves in Christ’s apostles. They had love for Jesus and felt close to him. They listened to him preach, watched him heal the sick, saw him cast out demons, and were astonished at his authority over nature. And yet, they must have wondered, “Why me? Why us? Why now?” I hope that in fulfilling their mission they were able to get answers to their questions.
On reflection, spiced with a little speculation, I can think of a few possible answers. Perhaps they began to see the infirm and the ignored of society who were in need of Christ’s mercy. I imagine they encountered those tormented by evils beyond their control. All of these afflictions existed before, but they now saw their impact through God’s eyes. I think this helped them to continue their own mission, and to help others “go forth”.
Mission in 2021
Even almost 2000 years later, as we find ourselves in the year 2021, we can see among us disciples from all nations. God, through Jesus Christ, still calls people to mission Those who are called also wonder: “Why me? Why all of us? Why now?” These are all difficult questions and very few will find the answers. In our modern age, being called to a mission by God may be difficult to understand.
There may be a number of reasons why this is so. Perhaps it is because we think we need to have it all in order to serve God. We may think that we are not financially secure, or too insignificant or maybe too ordinary.. Maybe we close our hearts and minds to pursuing the mission because it does not involve lightsabers, space travel, or the name Skywalker. Would you be more inclined to go on a mission if it included a sojourn through the galaxy? I know I would.
In the end, the call to mission arises from God’s love for us. We are called to mission not because God needs us or because we can do something to add to his glory, but because God desires that we share in his plan for salvation. In our “going forth”, we can ask God for joy, peace and zeal. And in the words of Yoda, we must “do or do not. There is no try”.