Today’s Gospel Reading at the Sunday Mass comes from Mark 16:15-20:
So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke 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.”
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.
So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
At the Sacrifice of Mass today, reflecting upon the Gospel reading and the Great Commission, our Pastor James P. Walker said, “God’s work needs to be done”. I think that is the probably the best succinct summation of the Great Commission that I’ve ever heard. It struck me so that I pulled out my phone when he said it and typed it into my notepad. I always appreciate it when our priests ante up material for my Sunday reflections
For Matthew (28:16-20) the Great Commission from Christ Jesus was ‘to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you’; For Mark it was, “Go into the world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.; In Luke (24:13-49) Jesus tells the disciples that they are to be witnesses of His Passion, and preachers of repentance and forgiveness in His name to all the nations, “beginning in Jerusalem”; In John (20:19 – 21:19) Jesus “breathed on them and said to theme, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Even though none of the commissions are identical in textual language, what do they all have in common with each other? Turns out that they have two foundational things in common; the first of which is that they all reflect in their own way upon the Three Duties of the Church, which are to (1) To proclaim the word of God; (2) To celebrate the Sacraments; and (3) To perform works of Charity. The second thing they have in common goes back to Father Walker’s dressing – that God has work to be done, and the work He has for us is to freely share with everyone who we encounter the love of God that have been freely shared with us.
Need a job? Well, there’s absolutely unemployment in the Kingdom of God – it actually has negative zero unemployment. Everyone is already hired; just not everyone has showed up to work yet. You’ve probably heard it said that God doesn’t hire the qualified, He qualifies the called. What that means is that responding to your call to be missionaries of the God’s love is a cooperative venture between you and God, working together – Him in you, with you, and through you – empowering you to give His love away.
Having served time in prison for embezzlement, I know all about job and housing discrimination very well. Even my advanced degrees had little to no leverage over people who decided to keep me in the prison of my past. As a result I had to work jobs that no one else would take and eventually had to start my own company just so that I could fight provide for myself and for my daughters. But the thing I love about the Lord is that rather than discriminating against me because of my failures and closing doors in my face, He told me that He could use what I learned from my past to lift up His children. God told me that He could use all of me for His glory. Isn’t that what we all want from an employer? Someone who believes in us and what we have to offer as whole persons. Someone who appreciates who we are as a persons. That’s Jesus and that’s what it is like working for the Kingdom of God.
Some of the signs that the Marcan account says will accompany those who believe are things that most of us have probably never seen or heard of anyone doing, but don’t miss the central message here, which is that those who believe will be empowered to do things that they never thought they could or should, and the reason being, again, is because doing the work of God is a cooperative venture between you and God, working together – Him in you, with you, and through you – empowering you to give His love away.
We approach each day with a number of things that we have to do for ourselves and for those in our life, and for awhile God will continue to share with us the breath that we need to make it to the next second to get through a day of serving ourselves and others in this world, but as God has always incorporated your life into His, please don’t forgot to incorporate His life into yours, and His life into others by sharing His love and truth with them. The work that God has called us to can be done 24 hours a day and at every moment of day. It simply requires us to say ‘Yes’ to whatever His love is calling us to do in that moment. This is the work that you have been born into and the only work that truly matters.
“Lord Jesus I confess that I can do nothing without you.
Therefore, I call upon the Holy Trinity to love in me, love through me, and love with me,
so that I can be all that you created me to be.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.