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You Matter: The mission lives in you

The past four years have been a time of renewal and growth for me and for the Archdiocese around mission. We have gained and discerned great clarity around the Father’s heart and plan for Northern Colorado. Through that process, I have been blessed to come to a deeper understanding and appreciation for God the Father’s immense love for every individual.

The Archdiocese exists so that in Jesus Christ all might be rescued and have abundant life, for the glory of the Father. The Father bestows upon us our identity as Christians and our relationship with him (as well as the Son and the Holy Spirit) is the primary relationship of our lives. The Restore the Glory podcast beautifully illustrated this point in one episode. One of the hosts was reflecting that in the process of conceiving a life, there is a period of about two weeks before a woman discovers she is pregnant. During that time, during those precious two weeks, the only person who knew you existed was God. When no one else knew you existed, you mattered to the Father. The Father loved you and delighted in you!

We have a mission value in the Archdiocese of Denver that I preach and speak about often. We call it “Abide in Relationship.” Simply, it is the value by which we remain and grow in charity, in intimacy with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When we abide in that primary relationship, we are moved to embrace the redeemer’s mission. Pope St. John Paul II wrote, “The universal call to holiness is closely linked to the universal call to mission. Every member of the faithful is called to holiness and to mission” (Redemptoris Missio, 90).

The call to mission is as universal as Jesus’ desire to draw all to himself (Jn 12:32). The mission flows from our relationship with God (holiness) but must then lead to the action of mission. But how are the People of God supposed to live out that call? Does it mean ushering or lectoring at Mass? Or serving as a catechist for children? All of these are good, but the call to mission always involves one critical element. Pope St. Paul VI explains, “… the person who has been evangelized goes on to evangelize others. Here lies the test of truth, the touchstone of evangelization: it is unthinkable that a person should accept the Word and give himself to the kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 24).

We have a second mission value called “Be the Cavalry.” It is the value that enables us to boldly embrace and step into the mission Jesus died to give us. We tell people, “No one else is coming, there is no cavalry, God called and equipped YOU. Be the cavalry!” Each one of you, by your baptism, has both an incredible dignity and, frankly, power within you to advance the kingdom of God. You have no idea how important you are and how much your individual life matters to Jesus and the thousands of lives that your life touches.

Finally, our third mission value is “Confound the World.” This is the value that when we abide in relationship, and step boldly into our mission as the cavalry, we will act in ways that do not make sense to the world. In the scriptures, the people are confounded by Jesus and, in turn, the apostles. Their radical Christian lifestyle creates confusion and questions. These questions have a way of opening hearts to encounter Jesus.

My dear sisters and brothers, I share this good news with you because I know how much God loves each one of you particularly. He desires you to be in relationship with him and to love as he loves (Jn 13: 34). I also know that you are so important to the work Jesus wants to do and is doing here in the Archdiocese of Denver. You matter. Your life, your mission, your relationships, and even and especially your suffering matters to Jesus. I encourage you to reflect upon this and consider what is being offered to you by God and how you will respond. Jesus died to give us this mission and through the Holy Spirit, the mission lives in YOU. Abide in Relationship. Be the Cavalry. Confound the World. You Matter.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
The Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila is the eighth bishop of Denver and its fifth archbishop. His episcopal motto is, "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5).

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