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Fr Billy Swan

Dear friends. ‘Come, stay, go’ – three small words that capture the Gospel this weekend and indeed the whole Christian life. Let’s pause and think on each of them, asking the question of how each word impacts on me and you.

First, ‘Come’ - ‘Come and follow me’; ‘Come to me’; Come and See’. God calls us out of ourselves to a new space and to a new challenge. Our lives are not about us but about God’s purposes for us. Faith is taking the risk to respond to where his call leads us. We see that with the calling of the twelve in the Gospel today. Matthew tells us that Jesus ‘summoned the twelve’ that he calls by name. Naming all twelve is no accident – it is deliberate by Matthew to emphasize the personal nature of every vocation. God calls us by name because we are unique. A recent survey revealed that a large percentage of adults answered ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Do you believe in God’. Yet, a much lower percentage answered ‘Yes’ to the question: ‘Do you believe in a personal God?’ Jesus reveals a personal God who created us, knows us and calls us. If we don’t respond to his call, the good that God calls us to do, remains undone. He doesn’t call anyone. He calls YOU. So, do you still sense a call from God? Do you feel that draw to his heart in prayer? Who do we turn to in times of joy and sadness? If it’s not him then who?

Second, ‘Stay’ – stay with him and be with him. In Mark’s Gospel we are told that Jesus called those he wanted ‘to be with him’. This is sacred time – to be with Jesus who welcomes us, feeds us, forgives us, heals us and teaches us to becoming a better lover like himself. It is a time of formation, of growing to have his outlook and attune ourselves to his logic of love. It is a time to learn about his kingdom and to have a passion for bringing it about. So, what time do you give to prayer? What are the times when you stay with him, rest with him, listen to him? Do you stay with his Word in the Scriptures and listen to it? Do you give time in his real presence before the Eucharist?

Finally, ‘Go’ – this is what he says to us when he sends us on mission. He sends us to the people and places he wants. He sends us to do the work he created us to do and to give the witness that invites others to believe in him. In the Gospel today, Jesus sends his disciples out to the sick, the diseased and those tormented by unclean spirits. In other words, he sends them out into a broken world full of broken people. We think life is messy today but here is evidence that it was always that way. There will always be darkness for us to meet with the light of hope that comes from Christ and his Gospel. Therefore, does your life have a sense of mission or purpose? Who are those who are lost, tormented and sick to whom God’s love sends you?

Come, stay and go – the whole Christian life moves within these three pillars in a circular motion. Christ calls us to himself to be with him and be united with him. He then sends us out on mission and then he calls us back again to be refreshed once more. It is a flow of grace that involves giving and receiving and that gives us life and joy.


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