“They went forth and preached everywhere.”

We step away from John for today because it is the Feast of St. Mark (the Evangelist).  Fittingly, we read the last verses of his gospel (Mk 16:15-20), as Mark does his part to fulfill Jesus’ words to “proclaim the Gospel” (v. 15) through deed and writing.  It is also appropriate because we are still in the Easter season and we finally get to read Mark’s account of the last words of Jesus before His Ascension.  Jesus says that those who believe and are baptized will be saved, but unbelievers will be condemned.  Signs that will accompany the Eleven: exorcisms, healings, speaking in tongues, and imperviousness to poison.  Jesus then ascends to heaven and the Eleven go to preach “everywhere” (v. 20).  This call to spread the Good News is not confined to the apostles, their successors, or to clergy in general.  We are all called to evangelize.  This starts with getting one’s own house in order (cf. Mt 7:5).  This does not mean one has to be perfect to share the Gospel (else no one would be able to), but it does mean that we make a sincere and concerted effort to prepare for this important work for the Lord through prayer, Confession and Holy Communion, reading of Scripture, and learning the Faith.  Doing these things not only helps us to lead exemplary lives, but it also prepares us to share the Faith with more sincerity, knowledge, and confidence.  God gave us Revelation and entrusted it to His Church for our benefit — so that we would know Him better and love Him more deeply.  May we come to a greater appreciation of these gifts and freely share them with others as they were freely given to us.

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