Jesus said to his disciples: “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.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Being a missionary is a tough job, especially when your message is rejected.
As a child I was very interested in the stories told by and about missionaries who took the Gospel to other lands. I tried to put myself in their shoes, learning a different language, adjusting to different foods and climate, and most of all facing hostility to the Gospel message.
In today’s liturgy, we hear a Gospel selection that echoes those same concerns. It comes from the so-called “alternate ending” of Mark’s Gospel, namely verses 9 through 20 of Chapter 16. Scripture scholars believe this section, while still inspired, comes from a different hand than the rest of Mark’s Gospel. These verses deal not so much with the story of Jesus’ resurrection appearances or ascension, but with the acceptance or rejection of the message preached by Jesus’ first followers.
In today’s passage, Jesus commissions the eleven apostles to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” The messengers had to be credible, and so Jesus promises that those who hear and believe the message will exhibit wondrous signs.
Today, we also look for signs of Christ’s presence in communities where the Gospel is preached. The lives of believers should exhibit the power of Christ at work, through their justice, harmony and charity. Let’s allow today’s Scripture to affirm us in our witness to the presence of Christ.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26), Peter gave a way to find a replacement for Judas. What requirements did Peter propose?
Who were the two men proposed? How did the community choose?
According to the second reading (1 Jn 4:11-16), because God loved us, what does John say we all should do?
What is the rule John gives? See the last line of this reading.
This week’s Gospel (Jn 17:11b-19), says that at the Last Supper, Jesus prayed for his disciples. What did he ask the Father to do for them?
Did Jesus ask the Father to take his disciples out of the world?
Jesus tells his disciples to go into the whole world to preach the Gospel. Pick a place in the world that you would like to visit and learn as much as you can about that place.
In the Gospel, Jesus says those who believe will speak new languages. See if you can learn a new phrase or two in a language different than the one you speak.