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)
Today’s scripture is a passage which we all know as The Great Commission.
The great commission which the risen Christ gives to the whole church. 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 Jesus works in and through us by the power of his Holy Spirit.
Too many, those are “gospel words.”
Sadly, we find that many Christians fall into three groups.
Many Christians are minimalists, going to Church “when we can,” praying when we’ve accomplished everything else that was really “important” to do and still have the energy, and keeping the commandments “as best we can” without being “fanatical” about never breaking them.
Similarly, many are legalists, thinking that if we “pray, pay and obey,” that’s all the Lord asks. If we fast now and then, avoid mortal sins, then we’re setting ourselves up for the eternal hall of faith. We can live a Christianity without a Cross, seeking the good life of pleasure, money, power and control, without minimally sacrificing ourselves or things for God and others.
Others of us are Gnostics, thinking that as long as we “know” the truth, then we don’t really have to live it.
None of these falls into the words of Jesus when he asked all who believe in him to go into the world and preach the gospel.
There are many who believe those words but have no clue as to how they are gong to bring them to life.
We need to step away for a moment and contemplate how we bring alive the Holy Spirit within us and convey the message of equality, of love, of respect, of empathy, of compassion so great that we do whatever we can to assists those who have the least.
Jesus sends us out today into our world as he did the disciples, and he wants us to share with others the word he has placed in our hearts. None of us should ever doubt that Jesus has placed a word there. To each one of us he has entrusted a word that he wants others to hear. All we need to do is find it.
What message would Jesus want us to speak to our family? It could be a message of encouragement to someone who is struggling or lost. It could be a message of forgiveness to someone who has hurt us. The gospel calls us to find that word and speak it.
What word would Jesus have us speak in our school or workplace? It might be a word of objection because of the way that a fellow worker or student is ignored or mistreated. Jesus asks us to locate that word and let it be heard.
What word would Jesus have us speak politically? It might be a word of approval for policies that promote justice and equality. Or it might be a word of opposition against policies that demean the poor, the laborer, or the immigrant. Jesus invites us to find the word that is within us and speak it, because that is what we as disciples are called to do.
Now, it is sometimes difficult to speak the word that has been entrusted to us, but that is our calling. In his last sermon before his assassination, Martin Luther King spoke these words: “Cowardice asks, “Is it safe?’ Expediency asks, ‘Is it politically, correct?’ Vanity asks, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks, ‘Is it right?’”
There will come a time for each one of us where our choices will not be safe or politically correct or popular. Then we will have to choose what conscience says is right. Then we can begin to feel the weight of the cross.
Jesus has placed a word in each of us. None of us have all the truth. We all, at times, speak in a manner that misses the mark. But today’s gospel calls us to locate the word Jesus has given us and, because it is right, speak it. That is the way that the voice of Jesus is heard in our world today.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, through the gift of your Holy Spirit, you fill us with an indomitable spirit of praise and joy which no earthly trial can subdue. Fill me with your resurrection joy and help me to live a life of praise and thanksgiving for your glory. May I witness to those around me the joy of the gospel and the reality of your resurrection.”
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. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God, the power to forgive sins, to heal, to set people free from the destructive force of evil and oppression, and to restore life. The very power of those words should compel us to share and live the Good News.