One day this summer while I was in Ecuador, I was entering the church where I was staying and looking at the paint job on the wall. We were doing a lot of painting to get the church ready for the big fiestas that were coming up, and I was looking it over and thinking what to do next.
Well, as I was looking around, I noticed a looong trail of tiny ants walking along one of the edges of the wall. Some were going in one direction, the others were going in the opposite direction. I looked up, and the long line of ants went all the way up to the ceiling. Then, the line turned right and went along the ceiling edge, all the way to a little crack in the wall, where it disappeared.
After I saw that, I went back to where I started. Now, I followed the ant trail going downward, and after it turned a corner, it ended up at a nice, big, ant-covered burlap bag of oranges that someone had left on the ground leaning against the wall.
You know how all those ants get to have fresh orange juice in the summer daytime heat? Well, it only takes one. I mean it takes just one ant to find the treasure and taste it. Some ants have a mission of going out and finding these things. Then, that ant goes back to the nest leaving a real scent trail as he goes. When he gets back to the nest, the other ants greet him in their ant way, “Hey Bob, how ya doing, what’s goin on?” And then they see that Bob is all excited and, more than that, he has this amazing smell of oranges emanating from him. Everyone wants some of that. In his ant way he tells them, “I just found a treasure, I left a trail. If you want some of that, drop everything and GO!”
So all the ants take off and follow the trail, and the rest is history. Fresh oranges for lunch for everyone. “Mission Ant” completed.
If we find the treasure of God’s life, then we have a mission like our orange discovering ant. All we have to do is leave a trail back to where everyone else is, let them smell the orange, and let them go. Then everyone can share in it. Our own amazing scent convinces. That’s mission ant.
Some people think that the world is tanking, that society is crumbling. Politics and voting seem to get all the headlines and it seems like the sky is falling. It’s easy to get distracted by the darkness that gets headlines, look at the numbers and trends, and either lose hope or run out and try to fix the world. It’s tempting to just take care of “mine” and my self interests, or on the other hand to get off the duff and try to influence how people should vote, should go to Church, should think and behave in some way or other. But these are things we do when we have no convincing scent to offer. These ways only makes things worse. And they make us think it’s impossible.
But there is a different way, one way, that it’s possible. There is one way that makes it possible for people to be inspired and unified in God’s treasures of life, for society to be called a culture of life.
It’s mission ant possible.
And Jesus looking at him loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (cf. Mk 10:21)
A Very, Very Blessed World Mission Sunday