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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

April 25th: St. Mark, evangelist

1st Reading (1Pt 5:5b-14): Beloved: Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for: God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.

The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. To him be dominion forever. Amen. I write you this briefly through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Remain firm in it. The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son. Greet one another with a loving kiss. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Responsorial Psalm: 88
R/. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the Lord I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness. For you have said, «My kindness is established forever»; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

The heavens proclaim your wonders, o Lord, and your faithfulness, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies can rank with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the sons of God?

Blessed the people who know the joyful shout; in the light of your countenance, o Lord, they walk. At your name they rejoice all the day, and through your justice they are exalted.
Versicle before the Gospel (1Cor 1:23-24): We proclaim Christ crucified; he is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Gospel text (Mk 16,15-20): Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them, «Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned. Signs like these will accompany those who have believed: in my Name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes and, if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed. They will lay their hands on the sick and they will be healed».

So then, after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took his place at the right hand of God. The Eleven went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied them.

«Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation»

Mons. Agustí CORTÉS i Soriano Bishop of Sant Feliu de Llobregat (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, there would be plenty to speak about as to why the word of the Gospel does not reverberate with strength and conviction; as to why we, Christians, keep a leery silence regarding what we believe in, in spite of the so called “new evangelization”. Each one will make his own analysis and will come out with his particular version.

But in the festivity of St. Mark, while listening to the Gospel and looking at the Evangelist, we cannot but proclaim assuredly and gratefully where the source is and where the strength of our word lies.

The gospeller does not speak because he has been told so by a recent sociological study, or because of political “prudence”, or because “he feels like saying what he thinks about”. No, he does it, because a presence and a command have certainly been prescribed upon him, from the outside, without coercion, but with the authority of who deserves all the credit: «Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation» (Mk 16:15). That is, that we yieldingly evangelize, although we do it gleefully and confidently.

On the other hand, our word is not presented just like another one out of the market of ideas and views, but it has the whole weight of all strong and explicit messages. Life or death depend upon its recognition or rejection; and its truth, its capacity for conviction, comes the testimonial way, that is, it appears accredited by the signs of power in favor of the needy. This is why it actually is an “announcement”, a public, happy and excited statement, of a conclusive and saving fact.

Why, then, our silence? Fear, shyness? St. Justin said that «though unlettered and without any fluency, they could persuade mankind because of their virtue». The sign or miracle of virtue is our eloquence. Let the Lord carry out, at least, His work, in our midst and with us: «While the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied them» (Mk 16:20).