The Gospel according to Mark (16:15-20)
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. 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.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, we rejoice in your Ascension! You are the king of glory and the king of my life. You show me that there is meaning in our suffering. You have gone before us to give us peace and hope in this life. Help me to be a witness of this peace and hope to others.
Encountering Christ: When I was ten, I lived with my uncle who was a priest, my aunt (my uncle’s sister), and grandmother in a small town in Mexico. About once a month family would visit and spend a weekend or even sometimes a week. I would have a great time hanging out with my cousins and really enjoyed spending time with my other uncles and aunts. I would have a pit in my stomach the day they left and no matter how hard I tried to have a stiff upper lip the goodbyes with filled many tears.
Here we are at the end of Mark’s gospel. The apostles had been through so much with Jesus. They lived, traveled, shared, and experienced so much. They were firsthand witnesses to the fulfillment of the prophecy of the messiah and grew exponentially in the presence of the risen Lord. And he was getting ready to leave, forever. How must they have felt?
Jesus had to return to the Father to complete his mission. Before he left, he gave specific instructions to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” Not just some of the world, or some of the creatures, no to the whole world and every creature. It was apparent that where Jesus left off here on earth it was the mission of the apostles, and all who believed, were baptized, and saved to continue his mission.
Jesus took his place at the right hand of God and his followers went forth and preached everywhere. That is what you and I are called to do. We may not travel to exotic, far away locations or spend many hours in church, or in other places of prominence and preach but wherever we are IS everywhere. We are to preach and teach the good news everywhere we are. And the best and most effective way we can do this is through the life we live as baptized believers in the risen Christ. And, just like the disciples, the Lord will work with us. He sent the advocate to guide us in our efforts to continue the mission Jesus started.
Closing Prayer: Dear Risen Lord, when you ascended into the right hand of your father you were faithful to the end of your mission here with us. May we embrace our mission to preach everywhere to everyone so all may know your love, compassion, and mercy.
Action for the Day: Go somewhere or do something you have never done before. Step out of your comfort zone and take the good news to some place new and find someone who needs to see and experience Jesus with skin on.