Vincent Pham

Called to share in Christ’s mission

By  Vincent Pham
  • February 5, 2016

The following is the third place finisher by Vincent Pham, a student at Toronto's Chaminade College, in the annual essay contest for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity sponsored by The Catholic Register and the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement-Graymoor.

Despite divisions in Christian unity, Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Protestants should be considered a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and God’s own people.

In the Old Testament, in the book of Exodus, God chose the Israelites as the chosen ones, to be God’s own people. After God helped the Israelites escape from Egypt, God led them to the desert of Sinai and said to Moses: “Therefore, if I hearken my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine. You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. That is what you must tell the Israelites” (Ex 19:5-6). By saying so, God made the Israelites a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and God’s own people.

However, along with being chosen, God handed Moses the 10 Commandments, the guidelines of being God’s people that were to be followed by the Israelites.

In the New Testament, Jesus was going outside the “boundaries.” He was not separating the chosen ones from sinners and other nations. Rather, Jesus reached out to include sinners and people of other nations such as Matthew, a tax collector, or Peter, the poor fisherman. Before ascending into Heaven, Jesus commissioned His disciples, saying, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:19-20). By doing so, Jesus commissioned the disciples to go out, baptize and evangelize. That means that Jesus wants to include others to be part of the chosen race, the royal priesthood, holy nation and God’s own people. In other words, Jesus wants others to share in His priestly, prophetic and kingly mission.

Today, despite the divisions in Christian unity, the formulas of baptism in most Christian churches are very similar by the fact that they are done “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, through any Christian baptism, the baptized is invited to share in Christ’s priestly, prophetic and kingly mission.

However, even though Christians are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and God’s own people, we are called to “proclaim the mighty acts of God” (1 Peter 2:9). Christians should not be sitting around in churches saying prayers and celebrating the Eucharist. We are called to go out and evangelize not only through our mouths but through our everyday actions full of love. As Christians, we should be reaching out to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), serving others and bringing the message of God’s mercy to others who do not know God through our everyday actions at home, school, workplace and wider community, therefore living out the priestly, prophetic and kingly mission.