April 24, 2002
Feast of St Mark, Evangelist
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“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.”
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.
As I read the Gospel today, I am reminded of the Universe and how expansive it is. With the technology available to us today we can look all the way out to the very edge of that Universe. All our history is there within those galaxies and stars and all the rubble in between. The thing is, we don’t know what is beyond that.
When I read that Jesus tells the Apostles “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” . . . I must wonder, what must they have thought.
I believe it would have been akin to us traveling out to the edge of the Universe – not knowing what lies beyond. They were going into “whole world” – a place they didn’t really have knowledge of and so must have been somewhat afraid. Certainly, they must have been a little cowed.
Jesus, as he always does, gives them hope in his words. He tells them of the wonderous things they will do – including the casting out of the rubble (demons) that causes difficulty in navigating our Universe and our World.
How far would they have to go? How far would they be willing to go?
In the end, they did as he instructed. Why? They knew him and they knew he would be certain to instruct them rightly and protect them on their journeys.
St Mark, whom we celebrate his feast day today, was one of those who went out into the world and eventually was martyred for the sake of the Word. He may have wondered what was out there, but he went, nonetheless. He listened and he believed just as we are asked today to hear and BELIEVE.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…