Dear friends on the journey, Today’s gospel message is about sending out. Jesus has been preparing the Twelve and many others to witness to himself and his ministry. The seventy-two are being sent out to evangelize, by sharing the good news of Jesus. He describes the conditions to which they’re going, gives them specific instructions on what to bring (or not), and tasks them with a mission: bring peace and cure the sick. The mission involves sacrifice, trust, patience, and faith.
Jesus also tasks us his modern day disciples with a mission that can be summed up a few verses later in chapter 10. When Jesus is asked what is required to inherit eternal life, he responds with the simple and yet complex commandment: You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Lk 10:27).
“And your neighbor as yourself.” How do we do that today, individually and as a community? So many ways! Individually we are called to bring Jesus and be Jesus for our immediate family, neighbors, coworkers, friends, and strangers in our daily path. The parish community is another way to live out our missionary call individually and especially collectively. Our parish is rich with many opportunities to bring the mission of love to others. The Holy Spirit has called forth many individuals to engage in ministry and even start a ministry. I love watching the development of grass roots ministry. Someone sees a need then does something. This happened with our caregiver, cancer and divorce support groups, Career Transitions, Seeds of Faith, PAX Christi, Social Spanish, and so many more.
I am excited to share that today we launch another such ministry of love … our new Military Family Ministry (MFM). In recent years we recognized the growing number of military families attending our parish, rather quietly, and their unique life. Two military bases are situated in our county so we set out to learn more by meeting with the chaplains at both bases, sharing our experience thus far, and learned more about military life in general and the spiritual care in place at both bases. The Holy Spirit then got to work bringing together a small group of Catholic military persons under the leadership of Dave Gutierrez and Victor Maxion to brainstorm and vision what more we could do as a parish family to love these military families for the time they are here.
When I think about how military members are sent out around the world with a mission, a task and often times with great sacrifice for themselves and their families, I am even more convinced that our parish has now been called and sent to minister in a special way to the men, women, spouses and children of the military, right here in our own mission territory of Ventura County.
If you’re an active or reserve member of the military, we’d love to meet you after Mass today. Stop by the courtyard table to meet Dave, Victor and the team. We love you and thank you!
Faith Life Minister