Gospel Reflection – Sunday, May 12, 2024 – Mark 16,15-20 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 1:1-11)

Reading from the Book of Acts of the Apostles:

In my first book, O Theophilus, I have already dealt with everything that Jesus did and taught, from the beginning, until the day he was taken to heaven, after having given instructions through the Holy Spirit, to the apostles he had chosen. It was to them that Jesus showed himself alive, after his passion, with numerous proofs. For forty days he appeared to them speaking about the Kingdom of God.

During a meal, he gave them this order: “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the fulfillment of the promise of the Father, which you heard me speak: ‘John baptized with water; But you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit within a few days.” Then those who were gathered asked Jesus: “Lord, are you going to restore the Kingdom to Israel now?”

Jesus replied: “It is not for you to know the times and moments that the Father has determined by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, so that you may be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After saying this, Jesus was taken up to heaven in their sight. A cloud covered him, so that their eyes could no longer see him. The apostles continued to look at the sky as Jesus ascended. Then two men dressed in white appeared and said to them: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here, looking up at the sky? This Jesus who was taken to heaven from you will come in the same way as you saw him go to heaven.”

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Second Reading (Eph 1,17-23)

Reading of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians:

Brothers: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father to whom the glory belongs, give you a spirit of wisdom that will reveal Him to you and make Him truly known. May he open your heart to his light, so that you may know what hope his calling gives you, what the riches of glory is in your inheritance with the saints, and what immense power he exercised in favor of us who believe, according to his omnipotent action and strength.

He manifested his strength in Christ, when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavens, far above all authority, power, power, sovereignty or any title that can be mentioned, not only in this world, but still in the future world. Yes, he put everything under his feet and made him, who is above all, the Head of the Church, which is his body, the fullness of him who possesses the universal fullness.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Announcement of the Gospel (Mark 16,15-20)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus manifested himself to the eleven disciples, 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. The signs that will accompany those who believe will be these: they will cast out demons in my name, they will speak in new tongues; if they pick up serpents or drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; when they lay hands on the sick, they will be healed.”

After speaking with the disciples, the Lord Jesus was taken to heaven, and sat at the right hand of God. The disciples then went out and preached everywhere. The Lord helped them and confirmed his word through the signs that accompanied it.

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, I invite each of you to embark on an extraordinary spiritual journey. A journey that takes us beyond our daily experiences, beyond what is merely visible to our eyes, and takes us to the heart of the message that Scripture has for us. It is a journey of discovery, deeper understanding and connection with the divine.

In the biblical passages we have just heard, we find a rich source of wisdom and inspiration. In the first reading of the Acts of the Apostles, we are transported to that exciting moment when Jesus, before ascending to heaven, leaves a mission for his disciples: to be witnesses of his love and power to the ends of the earth. This mission is not just for the apostles of that time, but it is for all of us, here and now. We are called to share the message of hope and salvation with the world.

In the second reading, from Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we are invited to open the eyes of our hearts, so that we can understand the grandeur of the hope to which we have been called. Paul reminds us that Christ’s resurrection is living proof of God’s power in action. It is the same power that is available to us as members of the body of Christ. We are invited to fully live this divine power, to experience victory over sin and death, and to become living witnesses of God’s transforming love.

And in the Gospel according to Mark, we find Jesus’ final commission to his disciples. He tells them: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” These words have an urgent and universal appeal that echoes in our hearts to this day. They remind us that our faith is not something to keep to ourselves, but something to share with the world. We are called to be bearers of good news, to be the light that shines in darkness, to be the hope that brings comfort to afflicted hearts.

Dear brothers and sisters, allow me to illustrate these fundamental principles of Scripture with a story that connects us with our everyday lives.

Imagine a small village by the sea. This village depends on fishing as its main means of subsistence. Fishermen go out every morning in their boats, braving the turbulent waves and strong winds. The sea is a symbol of the uncertainties and challenges we face on our spiritual journey.

One day, an experienced fisherman named Pedro invites his son João to accompany him on a special fishing trip. They leave before dawn, when stars still dot the dark sky. Pedro instructs João on the secrets of fishing, on how to cast the net at the right time and in a strategic location. They work in harmony, as a team, trusting each other.

As they cast the net into the rough sea, a storm approaches. The waves get stronger and stronger, threatening to capsize the boat. But they continue to cast the net, persevering in their mission. And then, when they least expect it, the net fills with fish. It’s a plentiful catch beyond your most optimistic expectations. Peter and John marvel at the power of nature, but also at the power that brought them together as father and son, as fishermen and as people of faith.

This story invites us to reflect on our own spiritual journey. Just like Pedro and João, we face challenges and uncertainties in our lives. Sometimes the sea of life seems choppy and threatening, but we are called to cast the net of faith, even in the midst of difficulties. It is precisely in these situations that God’s power manifests itself most tangibly.

Just as Peter and John trusted each other and persevered in their mission, we are also invited to trust God and each other. We are called to work in harmony as a community of faith, supporting each other in our spiritual walk. When we come together in prayer, in service to others, and in sharing God’s Word, we experience the transformative power of Christian fellowship.

Likewise, the storm that threatened Peter and John symbolizes the tribulations and difficulties we face in our lives. But just as the bountiful catch came at the right time when they persevered, we are also reminded that God is with us through the storms of life. It strengthens us and enables us to overcome the challenges we encounter. The central message of Scripture is that God is faithful in all circumstances and that He will give us the strength we need to face any adversity.

Dear brothers and sisters, how can we apply these spiritual truths to our daily lives? Allow me to share some practical guidance.

First, let us be witnesses of God’s love and power in our words and actions. Just as Jesus commissioned us to preach the Gospel to every creature, let us be faithful in sharing the message of hope and salvation with those around us. Whether at work, school, family or community, let’s find creative ways to talk about God’s love and how He can transform lives.

Second, let us strengthen our faith through prayer and meditation on the Scriptures. Just as Paul encourages us to open the eyes of our hearts, we are also invited to seek a deeper understanding of Christ’s teachings. Let us dedicate time to read the Word of God, to study the lives of the saints and to participate in the sacraments of the Church. It is through these spiritual practices that we are strengthened in our faith and enabled to live as authentic witnesses of Christ.

Finally, let us live in communion with other members of the Church. Just as Peter and John worked together as a team, we are also called to live in unity and solidarity with one another. Let us actively participate in the life of our community, involving ourselves in prayer groups, service ministries and moments of fraternal sharing. It is through these authentic relationships that we find support, encouragement, and inspiration for our spiritual journey.

Dear brothers and sisters, today we are invited to embark on an extraordinary spiritual journey. A journey that takes us beyond our daily experiences, beyond what is merely visible to our eyes, and takes us to the heart of the message that Scripture has for us. May we respond to this call with open hearts and a willingness to be witnesses of God’s love and power.

May the story of Peter and John inspire us to trust God in the storms of life, to persevere in our mission, and to experience the abundance of blessings He has in store for us. May God’s grace enable us to live as faithful disciples, sharing the Gospel message in our words and actions.

May the light of Christ shine in our lives, illuminating the path for others and bringing hope to a world that needs it so much. May our faith be strengthened by prayer and meditation on the Scriptures, and may we be truly transformed by the power of God’s love.

May the peace and joy of Christ be our constant companions on this spiritual journey, and may we share that peace and joy with all those we meet along the way.

So be it.