Graduation Sunday - Missions Sunday - Discipleship Sunday
Today we remember and celebrate several different themes in our Church Family. This year we have designated this Second Sunday after Pentecost as our MISSIONS SUNDAY. It is the day when we highlight the great privilege each of us have as Orthodox Christians to participate in God’s mission of love and salvation to the world all around us - beginning with sharing His love in our homes, with our family and friends, and into our neighborhood and local area, as well as continuing to share this witness of love and proclaiming His good news even to the ends of the world - into Mexico, Albania, Africa, Asia and beyond!
We all have the incredible privilege to be co-workers with God in His divine plan of salvation for the world. Of course God loves the world and everyone in it. Yet, He wants the world to experience His love and get a foretaste of His heavenly kingdom here and now through His disciples, His followers, through each one of us! Imagine, He allows us, unworthy and weak as we are, and even expects us, to act as His instruments in making known His love to others, in sharing His Good News of hope and healing to all those in this hurting world, to shine forth His eternal and never-ending light into all the dark places of the world .
Missions Sunday is a reminder of how meaningful and exciting life can be for each one of at, even at whatever stage of life we may be! God wants US to be HIS disciples, and is counting on each of us to participate in the greatest mission in world history - sharing God’s eternal love and good news to all people, offering each person an opportunity for a new beginning, a new life, an eternal existence dwelling in and surround by His unconditional love!
As we also HONOR today all our graduating high school seniors, it is most appropriate to honor them on this Mission Sunday. Commencement and Mission go hand in hand. Each of our seniors have been a special part of our Church family throughout the different stages in their lives, and we thank God for each one of them! We celebrate their accomplishment of completing this first milestone in their lives, and we pray for and dream with them as they transition into the next stage of their lives.
Graduates, we pray you will never forget that God is and always will be with you in whatever you do and wherever you go in the future! God loves you dearly with an unconditional, divine love. Please never forget that, even as you walk down the different and various paths in life. God loves you and His holy Church and your church family is always here for you! So, in whatever profession you choose to follow, and wherever your life may lead you, always remember that your true and greatest vocation in life is to live as a beloved child of God. He knows you better than you know yourself, and He has a desire for you to discover in your life a path that will lead to the deepest meaning and contentment one can experience. Strive to discover that divine path, regardless of whatever profession you may choose to follow.
Finally, as we celebrate Missions Sunday and Graduation Sunday, we want to connect these milestones with the Gospel Reading of today, where Jesus called young men close to the age of our graduates, and challenged them to become His disciples, His followers, His friends, members of His intimate family! This call to discipleship is the ultimate call, and vocation, for each one of us in our lives. Whether you become a teacher, doctor, engineer, entrepreneur, nurse, or whatever profession you may take, you are called to become a disciple of Christ in whatever field you work. And the beauty is we can accept this call to become disciples of Jesus at any stage in our lives. Hopefully you graduates will hear this call and truly accept it, in all sincerity, as you transition on to the next part of you life journey. And hopefully all others in our Church today will evaluate where we are in our own journey with Jesus Christ, and make a renewed commitment to not only believe in Him, but to follow Him, to obey Him, to live for Him, and to truly become one of His Disciple!
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