This is graduation season. Some children are graduating from secondary school and others are graduating from higher institutions. Graduation always marks the end of a specific period in a child's life; it also signals the beginning of another phase. As children are graduating, so are some adults retiring from many years of work and some young men and women feel it is time for them to start a family. At such moments, people look forward to the next phase: children look forward to graduating from secondary school and heading to higher institutions; those graduating from higher institutions look forward to doing their Youth Service; while those who have completed their service to the nation look forward to entering into the workplace and settle down to consolidate their lives; retiring workers look forward to their time of retirement and those getting married are ready to leave single life to enter married life! These moments are so exciting that they should be celebrated. And we do celebrate them.
The celebration symbolizes a transition, a kind of spiritual preparation to embrace the flow of life from one phase to another. But this transition is even more exciting if we know with our heart where the flow of our unique life should be taking us. In other words, we consciously follow the flow if we have come to the awareness that our life is invested with a mission from Almighty God. Otherwise, we would just do what everyone does or try to “fit in” to the expectations of the popular culture! We know how frustrating it can be when someone does not know what he or she wants in life. Some spend two to three years figuring out what life is calling them to be and to do. Others, to circumvent the pain of this personal search, simply bow to what they are asked to do, whether it reflects them or not. Someone has said that life is too short to be something one does not care for or do a job one does not enjoy. This soulish enjoyment intrinsic to one's being and one's work indicates that what we do needs to synchronize with who we are; and this harmony gives us the sense that we are accomplishing our mission in life. To live with a sense of mission is to align one's deepest self to God's intention for making each of us unique. This fact should help us understand the profound significance of Our Lord's prayer to the Father in Jn. 17, known as Jesus' Priestly Prayer!
When “the appointed time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). The mission of Jesus was so clear to Him: to redeem humanity and bring it back to God the Father, and to establish, through His life, passion and death, a family of God's children from all tribes, tongues and nations (Rev. 7:9). When Jesus had completed His mission, He had no doubt the time had come for Him to pass from this world back to the Father (Jn. 13:1). He did everything that the Father had asked Him to do (Jn. 17). Therefore Ascension is the earthly conclusion of the mission the Father entrusted to Jesus, but so is His glorification in heaven! How glorious it is! Jesus could not stay any longer in this world after the mission had been accomplished. What a great way to look at our personal lives! Jesus' sense of mission was the lens through which He perceived and interpreted all that happened in His life – the good, the bad and the ugly. Ascension and his glorification are two sides of one crowning event of his earthly mission. And when that time came, he boldly prayed to the Father: “Father, the hour has come: glorify your son so that your Son may glorify you; I have glorified you on earth and finished the work you gave me to do. Now Father, it is time for you to glorify me …” (Jn. 17:1-5). Because Jesus Christ lived with a heightened consciousness of His mission, He was willing to let go of this earthly life and go back to the Father.
In the same manner, we all have a mission given to us by God, and it is our first duty to find it. When we find our mission, our life makes total sense; everything revolves around our unique mission. If we do not find it, we try to fit in, do what everyone does or simply struggle to make money, and make choices and decisions that betray the deepest part of who we are. If we betray our true self and our true mission, it will be so hard to let go of this earthly dwelling when death comes, for there will be so much regret and guilt and shame. But if we lived in total commitment to our mission from God, dying will not be a terrifying event, for we will have nothing to regret knowing that we followed the course of our mission. This is the profound meaning of a fulfilled life. May our Lord's ascension and glorification fill us with the grace to find and live out our own missions in life. Amen