The Mission urges us on
One of my favorite movie scenes comes at the beginning of the movie Gladiator with Russell Crowe. General Maximus is getting his troops ready for battle. His speech is stirring and memorable. “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” This is a great truth and one that should accompany us daily as Christians.
I always love this Gospel passage. It can give us a sense of urgency in the mission that God has given us in life. What we do in life is not indifferent. Rather, each decision we make has momentous consequences. Jesus has spent a lot of time forming his disciples. They were probably itching to get out on the apostolate. They wanted to preach after they had heard and learned so much from the Master. It is interesting because often we can get focused on a “fire and brimstone” version of Christianity. This does not seem to jive so well with today’s Gospel. What is the essential message the Apostles are supposed to carry with them? They are supposed to preach peace and the Kingdom of God.
What does it take to preach peace? First, we have to be at peace with ourselves. In this sense, I think there is a greater parallel between the speech of Maximus and the discourse of Jesus in the Gospel. What we do in life echoes in eternity. It is important to recognize our own greatness. In the movie Gladiator, the philosopher emperor, the Stoic Marcus Aurelius plays a prominent role. His thinking is similar to that of the main character Maximus. He said once: “Let men see, let them know, a real man, who lives as he was meant to live.” (Marcus Aurelius) Getting to know our purpose in life is the first step to gaining peace with ourselves. The second step is to bring peace to others. Jesus lays out a method very clearly in this Gospel. It is to worry less about material possessions and more about the Kingdom of God.