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Easter 7th S,June 5,11

Easter 7th S, May 5,11

(Mk.16:9-20)

Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVl in his new book, “Light of the World”, speaks of the presence of a new mindset that he calls as “negative tolerance” in many Catholics which somehow, for the sake of not offending anyone, undervalues the teachings of Christ. According to the Holy Father, Christians are very shy of speaking about their faith or of witnessing to Christ in public life.

Public arena is full of people who somehow think that it is all right to ignore the meaning and significance of the Christian faith. Christians move around without in any way revealing their faith or their attachment to Christ.

One of America’s foremost novelists, Walker Percy once said that Christians proclaim that they have the Gospel but they go around as if they have the bad news.

This lethargy in the witness to our faith should be examined in the background of today’s Gospel where Jesus proclaims the need to preach the Gospel as a bounden duty of every believer in Him.

Today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark gives a summary account of the various appearances of Jesus to the disciples after His Resurrection. The disciples were instructed, during His appearances to them, to go to all corners of the world to proclaim the Good News. They were also made witnesses to one of the most glorious events in the life of Jesus on earth—His Ascension.

Even though the Gospel narrative summarizes the event of the Ascension in a few words, we won’t be able to imagine the majesty, glory and awesomeness of the event of the Ascension. Seeing Jesus in His radiant glory ascending to His Father must have been a moment of great impact for them. It got stamped into their minds indelibly that Jesus was the Son of God, living in glory with his Heavenly Father and that every word of His was charged with Divine power. That witnessing to the glorious event of the Ascension dispelled all doubts about their ministry and they became bent upon preaching the Good News, whatever might be the consequences.

What is important to Jesus is the need to preach the Good News, continuing, thus, the ministry of His preaching and healing. Jesus wanted his disciples not only to preach the News but also to be of great assistance to people in their physical and emotional needs. They should expel demons in His name, heal the sick and drive away evil forces.

The task is entrusted now to all of us. We are the people who have to continue His ministry of healing. The Gospel cannot just be kept under lock and key. It has to be revealed and proclaimed through our lives.

Recently our Holy Father in his talk to the journalists on his way to Portugal mentioned that the “sin is in the Church.” Those words have enormous ramifications. It is because of our failure to live as good Christians that people refuse to come to Jesus.

There are all kinds of secular influences that try to denigrate the Christian faith because we have failed to live the Gospel in our lives. The rampant number of divorces among Christians is a mockery of the teachings of Jesus. The lack of compassion and forgiveness on the part of Christians in resolving disputes among themselves is another indication of the lack of authenticity in our Christian living.

It is through our mercy and forgiveness and through our compassion and love that we have to preach the Good News. We don’t have to cross the oceans to preach the Gospel. We need just cross the street to speak a kind word to a sorrowing family, to offer assistance to the elderly, or to do errands for the shut-ins to preach the Gospel.

“The way to begin preaching Jesus to the world is to begin living Jesus in our own lives. Once we begin to do this, the message of Jesus will begin to ripple out across the world. And if enough Christians do it, that ripple will turn into a tidal wave, and that tidal wave will change the face of the earth in a way we never dreamed possible.”(Mark Link)

We can begin our evangelization from the four walls of our homes first. Creating an atmosphere of love and trust, we can prepare, thus, a few individuals under our care for the great work of spreading the Good News. By our merciful and loving interactions with the people in our work places or in our parishes, we can start the work of this new evangelization.

“What kind of civilization will prevail in the world’s future? It depends on us if it will be the civilization of love, or the “uncivililization” of individualism.”(Pope John Paul II, February,1994.)

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