We ARE a fishy mission.
Pope Francis often reminds us that we Christians don’t have a mission, we are a mission. This is what he is doing right now in his journey to South America. And this weekend’s bible readings are about mission.
The prophet Jonah thought that God could not possibly care for Ninevite Gentiles. He ran from his mission, but the story of Jonah in the belly of the great fish represents Yahweh’s refusal to let the prophet run away from mission. He was rescued at sea to fulfill his mission. Jesus used Jonah’s mission as a type of his own, but claimed that with him something greater was present, namely, the fulfillment of the kingdom mission by repentance and belief in the gospel (Mk 1:15).
Just as Jonah had to drop his aversion to the stranger gentile, Jesus’s call to his first disciples, and to us, challenges us to drop our entangling nets and simply let his mission become our own.
During our spiritual exercises such as the examen, can we ask for the grace to deepen our mission awareness, fishy as it may be? How are we to care for the strangers among us? Where we are called to conversion? What nets of entanglement do we have to drop to be the kingdom mission?
Just as in the case of Jonah, such conversion is more God's doing than our own. It is a matter of grace, to be changed into God's mission present in this world, to be changed into God's good news, welcoming the stranger, even our enemies, and inviting all to drop their nets and participate in the building of the kingdom.
May the grace of God’s call drag us along in our fishy mission!
Edward B. “Ted” Arroyo, S.J.