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Mark 16:15-18

The Word of God

And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’

Mark 16:15-18
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • These words are presented as 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. Note the universality of the mission: “to all the world”, “to the whole of creation”. Pope Francis talks of the Church needing to go to the frontiers – to those people who have not yet heard the good news (whether geographically far or near).
    • Do you see how appropriate this reading is on a feast of Saint Paul? His conversion (which is the focus of this particular feast) prepared him to become an apostle to the Gentiles (the pagans). His long journeys led him to cover much of the territory that comprised the Roman Empire. He preached and healed, founded and supported local communities. His life teaches us that mission (outreach) is not an option. The Church is missionary of its very nature.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • In this Gospel story we learn of the central truth that Jesus preaches and sends us out to proclaim to all creation. He calls it the “good news” of God’s love, and will, or dream for us.
    • If you wish to bring this truth to prayer, you might consider whether the good news is about something God wants you to do for him or largely about what God wants to do for you. “We learn to love by being loved.” (Jean Vanier)
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    • At one point Jesus said that it was to the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel’ (of the Jewish people) that he had been sent. But in this scene, as he leaves this earth and ascends into heaven, he tells his followers to set no bounds to their preaching - they are to ‘take on’ the whole pagan world.
    • Saint Paul was to be the great example of this. We celebrate today this special ‘call’ which followed his conversion to the cause of Christ. From now on, nobody is to be considered ‘out of bounds’ when it comes to spreading Jesus’ message.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Today we celebrate the conversion of Saint Paul. On the road to Damascus, Saul is encountered by the Lord and undergoes a radical conversion. Saul, the former instrument of fear, terror and persecution, becomes Paul, the chosen instrument of God. His life task now is to bring the good news of God’s reconciling love to those who know nothing about it.
    • Lord, I too am chosen by you as your ambassador. This brings me closer to you. You trust me to be the Good News in the present tense. Let me spot the signs of your presence as I try to do this.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • I pray for healing for those parts of creation that are wounded and damaged, that have yet to learn of the good news that Jesus sends us to proclaim.
    • I proclaim the good news to the whole of creation by the way I live, by being a blessing to the world that God has made.