TUESDAY, THIRD WEEK OF EASTER
Feast of Saint Mark, the Evangelist
1 Pt 5: 5-14; Ps 89: 2-3, 6-7, 16-17; Mk 16: 15-20
GO AND PROCLAIM, IMMEDIATELY
The figure of the Evangelist Mark, whose feast we are celebrating today, urges us to deepen the final message of his Gospel, the passage that we have in the liturgy of today. This is the famous missionary mandate: Jesus sends his disciples to bring the Gospel to the whole world and to all creatures. He who is ‘sent’ by the Father needs others ‘who are sent’ to proclaim what they know of Him. He who is the Gospel in person now entrusts it to the Apostles: “Go! Proclaim!” The narrative style of Mark’s Gospel appears as if he is in a hurry to convey to others the essentials of the salvific message so that they may in turn “Go and proclaim” it immediately. His, is the shortest Gospel narrative, and the word ‘immediately’ can be found in it 41 times!
The Christian is a missionary of the Gospel in his very identity as a disciple of Christ. Every man, wherever he is and whatever race he belongs to has the right to hear the announcement of the Good News. This missionary mandate of Jesus begins with the verb ‘to go’. And the passage concludes with the response of the apostles: “And they went out and preached everywhere.” The mission thus always presupposes going out – of oneself, of one’s world, of one’s interests, to venture into new environments, among new people. The mission is going out, an itinerancy. Pope Francis has often reminded us of this, with his characteristic expression of a “Church that goes out.”
The final image with which Mark closes his Gospel is very meaningful: Jesus has finished his journey and is seated “at the right hand of God”; the disciples, on the other hand, begin their journey in the world. Thus, the path of Jesus is perpetuated in the path of the disciples. However, his absence is not a real absence: it is another way of making himself present in and through them, that is, a way of working with the disciples that is entirely of the Lord, but also entirely of the disciple.
Response: I will sing forever of your mercies, O Lord
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