Jesus' Vision-Mission Statement
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Fiesta of the St. Niño

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

In educational circles and in the corporate world, the issue of the institution’s or company’s Vision-Mission invariably comes up. Managers and personnel are made to draft, review, or restate their goals and purposes. Are we clear about who we are, what we are here for, and what we intend to do? These are the questions that are asked when a group of people or an individual decides to write a vision-mission statement. This exercise has even become de rigueur for some dioceses and parishes. I have facilitated and participated in many of these workshops in the past twenty years.

Action starter: Share His vision, fulfill the mission. Promote life.

It makes sense to be clear about who we are and our reason for being. Otherwise, our lives will be spent in “quiet desperation” or idle musings. We would not know our priorities and we would be wasting our energies. A great leader has a clear vision of who he is, where he wants to bring his people and what he wants to accomplish.

Is this true of Jesus? Did Jesus have a declared Vision-Mission statement? On this Feast of the Sto. Nino (Philippines), the third Sunday of the liturgical calendar, let us examine and own for ourselves this outlook of the Lord.

About who He is, Jesus’ answer is clear in the gospels, “I am the bread of life” (Jn.6:35). He also describes Himself as the light of the world (Jn. 8:12), the good shepherd (Jn. 10:14), the resurrection and the life (Jn. 11:25), the way, the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:5), and finally in a claim that astounded his hearers, as I AM (Jn. 8:58), as one who is from God and is God. He sees Himself as the anointed One, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore, he has anointed me” (Lk. 4:18).

What then was the declared mission of Jesus? On this Jesus was never confused or hesitant. Clearly He said, “I came that they might have life and have it to the full. (Jn. 10:10). In today’s gospel (Third Sunday), this is translated into a clear program of action, “He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.” (Lk. 4:19). In the vocabulary of strategic planning, his key result areas (KRA) resonated with his hearers. They understood what He meant by these words. There would be a new state of affairs. This new state of affairs was called the reign of God (Mk. 1:15).

When Jesus was asked if He was really the Messiah, He pointed to his performance indicators (PI)., “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind recover their sight, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, dead men are raised to life, and the poor have the good news preached to them” (Mt. 11:5). In the Gospel written by John, these miracles were called signs. “Jesus performed this first of his signs at Cana in Galilee. Thus did he reveal his glory, and his disciples believed in him” (Jn.2:11). The ultimate sign would be His own resurrection, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn. 2:18-19).

What strategy did Jesus employ? He first called a few. He formed disciples. He formed a core group and He talked and walked with them Then “Jesus toured all of Galilee. He taught in their synagogues, proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, and cured the people of every disease and illness” (Mt. 4:23). From the countryside of Galilee and Samaria He would eventually go with His disciples to the city of Jerusalem in Judea. There He would suffer and die. His ultimate act defies reason and conventional thinking. He accepted death on the cross as His ultimate Messianic act. Common sense tells us that this does not seem to be a good strategy.

St. Paul would later say, “Yes, Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Jesus crucified – a stumbling block to Jews, and an absurdity to Gentiles…For God’s folly is wiser than men, and his weakness more powerful than men.” (1 Cor. 1:22-25).

It would be wise for us present disciples not to rely too much on corporate and secular strategies, or even on the strength of our financial resources in order to preach the gospel. They have their uses, no doubt. But the success of the endeavor depends on a group of committed disciples, on fire with the Spirit and preaching Jesus Crucified. We can learn a lesson from this incident in the life of the early church when a cripple at the temple gate asked Peter for alms. Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you! In the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazorean, walk” (Acts 3:6).