January 25, 2016

Gospel MK 16:15-18
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.”
Reflection:
In today’s Gospel, Jesus has been resurrected from the the dead but has not yet gone up to Heaven.
Jesus speaks to the eleven remaining Apostles, and His message to the Apostles, and to us, is clear: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel…”
Everyone who professes to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is told to spread the “Good News” of God’s love and forgiveness.
The remainder of today’s Gospel I take seriously, but not literally:
“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.”
I don’t believe Jesus is telling everyone who believes in Him to pick up a poisonous serpent or drink poison. But, I do believe that by doing my best to stay close to Christ and staying spiritually fit I am given the strength to avoid doing things that will harm me.
I certainly have not refrained from drinking alcohol for thirty years on the strength of my personal will power. My morning prayer, “God, please keep me away from a drink of alcohol today,” attests that I rely on God to do for me what I alone cannot do.
We do have a Christian obligation to heal and some people, may well possess a special gift in that field. But, any Christian can give of themselves to “heal” a broken heart or “heal” a wounded soul.
The Spirit of Christ is alive within us. It gives us the strength to sustain ourselves in the face of adversity and the ability to do mighty things for the sake of others.
We do these things not of our own accord, but at the urging of the Holy Spirit; we just need to “act” on that “urging.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13