Image courtesy of Mr. Kaye Kaminishi and Ms. Grace Thompson
The book of Hebrew arrives, rich in wisdom needed for the early Church and needed today. The author speaks to us about followership, upon which leadership relies. However, following might be one of the most challenging tasks before any individual or collective. It imposes an orientation towards humility that the ego has difficulty imagining. Followership must recognize that another has been sent atop the Crows nest to scan the horizon. Faithful followers remain below, nurturing and attending to operational matters, with all hands on deck. For Christians, the leader is Jesus, who proceeds from the Father and shows the only path into the Trinity. A place where human hearts are tenderly satisfied and ultimately fulfilled. St. Paul Miki was one of Japan’s twenty-six martyrs, who counter-culturally followed Jesus, right to his death. Martyred in Christ, St Paul and his companions lived attached by Holy Eucharist to Jesus’ leadership. Western cultures, including Canada, later returned a terrible injustice under suspicion of national loyalty, with Japanese internment camps.
The passage presented in today’s Gospel, known as the Great Commission, becomes Jesus’ final instructions as Mathew records. I invite you to see a connection these directive make with Luke’s post-resurrection accounts in Chapter 24. Luke adds context to the Great Apostolic sending forth. You see, the real problem for the Eleven is with accepting Jesus’ resurrection. They must come to terms with that reality before hauling the message off to the ends of the earth. It is the same struggle, we have today. New and unanticipated concepts present an extraordinary challenge to Israel’s faith and culture, just as they do our own. None-the-less, Mother Church never ceases "going, teaching, and baptizing" into Holy Trinity, even during a pandemic. By our baptismal priesthood, we live our followership connected to the Church’s martyrs, who suffered persecution and death for Christ. Let us be steadfast and courageous in continuing that apostolic mission.