The Final Commissioning

Mark 16: 15-20
1 Pt 5: 5b-14 / Ps 89: 2-3. 6-7. 16-17

They went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the Word through accompanying signs.
(Mark 16:20)

Our strifes and trials when we preach
Are but a light cross that we bear,
But there’ll be more souls we can reach
If Christ’s Good News is ours to share.

Jesus said to the apostles, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but 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 tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 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. The apostles went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the Word through accompanying signs. (Mark 16:15- 20)

Reflection

The five signs that our Lord mentioned in Mark 16:17-18 — casting out demons, speaking in tongues, taking up serpents, protection from poison, and healing of the sick — may not be generally applicable to all His followers, but they are still available as gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever necessary in the ministry of evangelization. Of course each one is endowed with different gifts as St. Paul said in 1 Cor.12:4-10. But they are all given for the common purpose of propagating the Gospel. We are not expected to cast out demons or take our chances with poisonous serpents to prove our faith, but healing through communal prayers are common occurrences, just as speaking in tongues happen during prayer assemblies. These gifts serve to awaken or deepen the faith of complacent Christians.

In the renewal we have learned that what we have received we must also share. Our spiritual formation in the Brotherhood is not meant only for our own salvation, but for the task of evangelism, where we are called to “proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” Our Christian education is part of the Church’s never-ending mission of evangelization in every generation. We must be involved in this process in order to learn the ways of the Kingdom at each stage of our life and through all our human experiences. Disciples are made, not born, and our discipleship continues throughout our whole life, with no rest in sight until the day we die. When we were initiated into the renewal, we firmly believed that membership in this Brotherhood of Christ extended beyond our temporal existence in this life.

When we received the commission of Jesus Christ to be heralds of His Good News of salvation, we saw the end of our ‘worldly life’, because we are now living a new life in the Spirit. There is every reason to rejoice and be glad, despite the trials that we might face. For we believe that the risen Lord is working in us through the power of His Holy Spirit, and we are so privileged to share in this task of the saints.

Father God, You fill our hearts with a spirit of joy which no trials or difficulties can overcome. May we always live a life of praise and thanksgiving for our renewal, and may we fulfill Your purpose in our life. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

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