APRIL 26. EASTER. Wk. 4. Mon. Mk. 16. 15-20
Jesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them: ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
And so, the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.
In the reading Christ is instructing his Church to proclaim his teachings to the world; - to proclaim what he has taught them; - to proclaim his life to the world; - to proclaim the Gospels to the world; - to proclaim “The Good News”; - but all of these descriptions, while true, do not convey the central message, which is; - “Go out to all the World and proclaim the Will of God to my people; - and let my creatures know how their Creator wants them to live!”
It is easy to miss, or overlook, the message; - that the teachings of Christ represent the Will of God for us! That we are being instructed, by our Creator, how he wants us to conduct our lives; - and sadly, we opt to live instead; - “The way we want, and the way we choose; -, largely ignoring, or watering down, the teachings of the Gospel!”
A very common theme, in the way we live life, is to strive for “success”, or to strive for “wealth”, or to strive for “popularity” etc. This means a good general description of what we are striving for is “the satisfaction of our own desires”; - rather than the Will of God.
But Christ was specific in telling us, in many ways, not to do this; - “I did not come to do my own will; - but the will of him who sent me,” and, “If any man has a mind to come my way; - let him deny himself” and “Father, if it be possible let this chalice be taken from me; - but not as I will; - but as you will!”
Because we are sinners, we have this inbuilt tendency, or inclination, to water down Christ’s Gospel teachings, under the pretext they ask too much, with the result being we become attracted to “the teachings and the values of the world!”
Another “sign” we are not listening to the Gospel Message is our poor response to one of its central demands to “Repent, and Believe the Gospel!” Have you noticed how the Sacrament of Confession has “fallen out of favour?
We also tend to “overlook”, or “forget” that when death does arrive at our door; - in a few short years; - it is our efforts to live the Gospel teachings that we will be judged on!
And it is this gap, between what God is teaching in the Gospels, and how we live our lives, that causes us to stop reading the Gospels; - as the message we find there is so different to how we want to live our lives; - ‘comfortably’ and ‘successfully!’
Clearly then, if we are to fulfill this command of Jesus Christ; - we need to return to the Gospels; - to the Sacraments; - to Prayer; - to Charity; - to Humility; - to Self-denial, and to Mortification!
If we are to “proclaim the Good News” we first have to be living it ourselves?