Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
Ephesians 1:17-23 or Ephesians 4:1-13
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.”
So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
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.
Good News Reflection: Moving forward with the Holy Spirit
Sometimes we find ourselves in the same posture as the disciples in today’s first reading, looking up at the sky where we last saw Jesus, not moving, just staring at nothing, waiting for him to come back and do something to rescue this world from its evil.
It seems like he’s not finished. There’s more he should be doing. Our world needs the Second Coming of Christ — and now! What’s the delay?
Ahhh, but he’s told us not to stand about gawking and waiting but to go forth and spread the Good News. He told us to take what he’s given us and use it to serve others, to make a difference somewhere, somehow, to someone.
Why do we stare at the empty sky? Because we feel inadequate.
Parents know this feeling. After giving birth or adopting a child in an amazing partnership with God the Giver of Life, we have the awesome task of raising this tiny human into a faith-filled, emotionally healthy adult. Wow. More than a few miracles will be needed.
Graduates know this feeling. After completing college or a Lay Ministry training program or ordination or final vows, we stand on the threshold of working for the Lord and wonder: Will I be effective and successful? Will I like it? Or will I be sent where I’d rather not go?
Those who are grieving know this feeling. After a loved one is taken home to the Lord or a friend is lost in a failed relationship, our lives change drastically. It feels like it shouldn’t have. How can we recover from the emptiness, which by its very nature forces our attention onto ourselves and our unmet needs, so that we become full of service to others?
Every change in our lives is a commissioning. Every loss is the beginning of a new calling. Every experience is training for a work of God’s kingdom that the Lord wants to accomplish through us.
Why are you standing there looking at the sky? Jesus has been your teacher and your guide: Although you cannot see what he’s doing now, he has not abandoned you. He is fulfilling his promise: “You will receive power from the Holy Spirit, and you will be my witness throughout the earth.” Indeed, you were given that Holy Spirit in baptism, and it is this Spirit of God that empowers you to continue the ministry of Jesus using your particular gifts and talents and experiences.
We must confidently raise our foot to step forward and, while it’s still in mid-air, ask: “Okay God, where do You want me to place this foot down next?” If we remain centered on the Lord, we will not lose our balance. The Holy Spirit will do the work of Christ on Earth through us.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
What thresholds or new beginnings are you facing? How are these opportunities for the continuation of the ministry of Jesus?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
In what ways are you doing the works of Jesus? Which parish ministries could use your gifts and talents? How do you rely on the Holy Spirit to get it done?
Give me courage, Lord, to be daring and determined in the spreading of the Gospel. May your signs and wonders accompany my testimony of your love for people, as in the first Pentecost. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica