The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Oliver Quilab, SVD (Switzerland)
Monday 22nd Week in Ordinary Time
Throughout my seminary training and ministry, I have always participated in workshops involving the drafting of a mission-vision statement. This exercise has established itself not only in the corporate world and in educational institutions but also in religious communities.
During those group activities, we are asked to outline our priorities, review our charisms and advocacies, or restate our global vision. We tackle questions like: Are we clear about who we are, why we are here, for whom we are, and what we intend to do? Concomitant with the communal soul-searching is also the implicit formulation of a personal mission statement that invites me to think deeply about my life choices, clarify my life’s purpose and identify what truly is important to me.
The gospel today, often called the inaugural homily of Jesus, could be considered as a public declaration of his mission and vision. After a workshop of soul-searching in the desert, where he wrestled with inner demons, Jesus has come to a clearer understanding of his identity, his passion, and his life’s purpose. Immersed in the history of his people, in their daily struggles and hopes for liberation from sin and oppression, he has come to see himself as the anointed One (Messiah) foretold by the prophets: “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Like the prophets before him who were imbued with a strong sense of mission, Jesus only earns violent rejection from his townmates. But that does not deter him from his all-consuming vision of the reign of God that manifests itself in his person and his missionary ministry of uplifting the marginalized, of healing the sick, of liberating those oppressed by societal structures or by a destructive lifestyle.
Some of us might find crafting a mission-vision statement a useless academic exercise. But in whatever situation we find ourselves, it is important, even without a workshop, to regularly examine our life, review and restate our core values, our purpose, and particular paths. Have you ever tried articulating these in your solitary moments? If you were to choose a scriptural passage today that sums up your identity, your mission, and vision, what would it be?