Each and every Christian has a vocation; it is in baptism when we enter into the Christian family that we begin our obligation to live out our vocation. There are many examples of vocations that we could be called to, for example the religious ministries, the priesthood and religious life. But, then even the most “normal” of jobs and the most “simple” and “ordinary” things we do in our lives can be considered as fulfilling our vocation e.g. being a nurse, teacher, policeman or parent. We should have a positive response to vocation. We should not act like the Rich Young Man and let materialism weigh us down. We should act like the first disciples and give up everything and follow Jesus, but this has implications.
Many people may find it difficult to show all the qualities of a disciple, such as giving up all they have, because they may have family responsibilities and it would be negligent to leave them or take things away from them. Also, society has changed and money is needed, if we were to be disciples like the first twelve we would not be able to survive on charity alone. Today’s population is more materialistic and therefore unwilling to part with money or possessions. We should not become obsessed with wealth and materialism. We should be humble like the Woman at the Treasury. Christians who try to live out their vocation should develop the following four areas: service, prayer, faith and worship just like the disciples in Mark’s Gospel.
As Christians today we all have the responsibility to look after those in need and serve others just as the first disciples. Some may say that the mission today is somewhat “watered down”, but the principle remains the same. There are many Christian organisations that work all over the world caring for the sick, feeding the hungry and speaking up against evil and injustice eg. Christian Aid, Concern and Trï¿½caire. Just because we don’t work for these organisations we can still fulfill the mission. Those who do carry out the mission to such an extent can face lots of prejudice and hatred.
Service is another important part of Christian life today. Jesus showed us this as he was a leader, but also served – the disciples and those who he healed – Jesus brought this service to such an extent that he sacrificed himself. There are people this century that have also taken the mission to this extent eg. Oscar Romero, Mother Theresa and Maximillian Kolbe. Unfortunately there are not many people who have gone to such lengths. As Christians today we have to try our best to:
“Forget self, take up our cross and follow me (Jesus)” (8:34)
Prayer and faith are important elements of Christian life today. Prayer allows us to keep in touch with God and it allows us to let him know how we are feeling. Sadly however some people neglect prayer and only pray when they want something or are in great need of help. In Mark’s Gospel we see Jesus praying to his Father a number of times – in the desert and in the garden of Gethsemane. We see the consequences of lack of prayer story of the Epileptic Boy. When the disciples asked Jesus why they could not drive out the demon he answered:
“Only prayer can drive this kind out.” (9:29)
This suggests that the disciples did not pray enough or just did not use prayer in this instance. Without faith there would be no belief in Jesus. Christianity is based on faith – we believe and have faith that God exists and we believe this without seeing. We see the importance of faith in the story about the Woman with the Haemorrhage. She had faith that:
“If I just touch his clothes, I will get well.” (5:28)
She touched his clothes and he said:
“My daughter, your faith has made you well.”
We are human just like the first twelve disciples, we commit sin and make mistakes. We can fail to recognise him in the lives of others. Sometimes when we find life hard we reject Jesus and act like the rocky soil in the parable of the Sower. Yet even when times are difficult we should always turn to Jesus because he is always there for us. We should always have faith and trust in God. We know he will forgive us for our wrong doings as long as we are sorry, just as he did with Peter – Jesus forgave Peter for denying him. We know this because at the time of the resurrection Jesus left Peter in charge of the Church. If we want to live like the first disciples we should not hold grudges, and forgive those who do wrong against us – like Jesus.
The message we should take from the commission is that the Good News is for everyone and that no one should be left out. Yet, in our world today there are groups of people who are segregated and marginalised – 2000 years after the time of Jesus.
In conclusion, as Christian disciples we are called to have faith, pray, love others, serve others and worship God.