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.” (Mark 16:15-18)
The words of today’s Gospel present us the last instruction of Jesus to his disciples before he ascended into heaven. They now have the responsibility of proclaiming the good news as he had done. And they must do so with courage.
He reaffirms that those who believe in Him could fight and conquer evil in its worst forms. Jesus used snakes to represent the devil. His followers, those who believe in Him, could take on and beat off the devil. He used poison to represent the evil of the world, not just a poisonous potion, but the poison that is hatred, the poison that is materialism, prejudice, alcoholism, the drug culture, the sex culture, and on and on. Jesus tells His disciples they will be able to take on the poison of the world and defeat it.
As I reflected on these words, I was reminded of still another poison. It is the “not me” poison. We digest it in two ways. One is when we refuse to accept the responsibility that each of us is called to accept our role in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. So, we leave it to formal ministers or to others. The second way we drink the “not me” poison is when we do not value ourselves enough to bear witness to His message so we step aside and leave it to others who are” better” than we.
Such a great tragedy.
Each one of us has incredible potential for good, and God sees this. He knows you and me and He seeks to draw us into His mission,
The question is whether we have belief. Belief in Him and belief in ourselves.
Look at what His disciples did. Look at their background. Prior to meeting Jesus, they lived the most ordinary of lives with little education or resources. People who would never leave their villages except to travel to Jerusalem, journeyed throughout the world to wage the battle of the Kingdom. They preached everywhere. They cured in His name. They believed so strongly in Him that they went to death for Him.
That’s what we are all called to do. We are called to take the battle to the enemy. We are called to combat moral evil wherever it exists, within us and around us. We are called to give people the Gospel, the good News of Jesus Christ. The Good News is this: there is a much better life than the one the world paints as ideal. There is a life where every action has meaning. There is a life of fulfillment. This life is the life of the Lord. That’s the Good News. Life is infinitely better when it is lived united to Jesus Christ.
I know you believe the Good News but now you are asked to accept your place in the Great Commission – to let those you know, to let those who are strangers, to let those less fortunate hear His word, to share your belief in Jesus Christ boldly.
That is the great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church – the people of God. All believers have been given a share in this task – to be heralds of the good news and ambassadors for Jesus Christ, the only savior of the world. We have not been left alone in this task,for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit.
Reflect, today, upon the desire in the heart of Jesus to invite you into His mission. Though you may be unaware of the many ways God can use you, Jesus is fully aware. He sees all of your gifts and knows who He wants to draw to Himself through you. Say “Yes” to Him this day and do so with every fiber of your soul. Doing so will allow God to do great things through you.
Will you allow yourself to accept His belief in you and your mission?
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, I do love You and desire to be used by You in the way that You choose. Help me to convert my heart more fully to You so that I can be led by Your gentle and powerful hand. I accept whatever mission You give to me and pray that my life will give You true glory and further Your glorious Kingdom on earth.”
Jesus’ last words to his apostles point to his saving mission and to their mission to be witnesses of his atoning death for sin and his glorious resurrection to new life for all who will believe in Jesus, God’s beloved Son.Their task is to proclaim the good news of salvation, not only to the people of Israel, but to all the nations. God’s love and gift of salvation is not just for a few, or for a nation, but it is for the whole world – for all who will accept it.
As we look around the world in 2021, we feel and see its wounds. We feel and see the anguish for those who cry out for peace in this world and in their lives. We each have to answer His call to help others see His great peace, His great love and His promise that we will never, ever be alone. He is with us now and forever.