We Are All Called
April 25, 2022 (readings)
- Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist
- Beth Van de Voorde
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into Heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
Opening Prayer: Risen Jesus, you are alive. You are living, and you are present with me, within me. I do believe in you; help my unbelief. Increase my trust in you and let me build my life upon the foundation of your love. I, too, Jesus, wish to follow you and serve you in my life. Open my heart to your word; let me hear what you have to say to me today, Jesus.
The Whole Word: This mandate to go out to the world includes, in a particular way, the call of the laity and our mission as salt and leaven within that world. Michael Pakaluk, in his translation and commentary on Mark’s Gospel, The Memoirs of St. Peter, offers this insight: “The ‘proclamation of the Gospel to the whole of creation implies that human skill and industry should be informed by the Gospel and that through sound government and culture, Christians should establish places where Satan is, as it were, expelled and the ravages of sickness are ameliorated” (p. 287). In a certain sense, this great commission of the Lord includes all possible forms and manners of living out the lay vocation. No matter our profession or vocation, we are sent by the Lord to proclaim his love and truth to the world.
His Presence: Mark tells us that the Lord “was taken up into Heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God,” and the Apostles went forth to begin their ministry. He adds that “the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.” The first phrase, and in fact most meditations on the Ascension, may make us think that the Lord is far away, but the second reveals its true meaning: the Lord left this earth, no longer present in the way he had previously dwelt among us so that he could be present to all in a new way. Through the Spirit he sent, he is able to work with us, as he did the Apostles, and confirm his word through signs.
Belief: Just as faith was a necessary condition for the miracles Jesus worked during his earthly life (Matthew. 9:24), so too, faith is a condition for God’s action today. Not that he depends on us to bring these things about; though he does wish to make us his instruments, it is always his power that saves, does good, brings healing, and makes love grow. He is the protagonist and source of true healing–always–and he wills that you and I take part in that mission. Let us spend time here in prayer with our Risen Lord, so that we may grow in faith and be his instruments in the world.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, you draw me close to you, to reaffirm and increase my faith; and you send me out, to share in your mission. Remind me that I am never alone, that just as you send me forth, you walk with me and accompany me. Help me to live the mission that you have for me, to let you make yourself present in the world through me.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pause to make little acts of faith in you throughout my day, renewing my belief that you are always with me and accompany me as you send me forth.
For Further Reflection: You may wish to read parts of Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, which begins by quoting today’s Gospel reading.
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