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Gospel for Sunday, May 16: Mark 16: 15-20

ASCENSION OF THE LORD

15And (Jesus) said to them: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17These will be the signs that will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new languages, 18they will take snakes in their hands, and if they drink any poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover”.19The Lord Jesus, after speaking with them, was lifted up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God. 20Then they set out and preached everywhere, while the Lord acted together with them and confirmed the Word with the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16, 15-20

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The intent of the feast of the Ascension is to present the end of the physical presence of Jesus in our world: and Mark expresses it according to his geocentric conception of the cosmos and with a Semitic literary genre: Jesus enters “into heaven”, “on high” (Mk 16:19).

THE MISSION

Jesus leaves him a clear command: “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). Once the time of Jesus is over, the time of the Church begins: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1.8). The experience of the Risen One is not something personal, intimate: it is joy that overflows to others, it is enthusiasm that becomes contagious.

The first, true, irreplaceable task of the Christian is the transmission of the faith. This is why the Church “is by nature missionary” (Ad Gentes, n. 2). We must all become apostles of the Gospel we have received. We must rediscover the prophetic charism that derives from our baptism (Lumen gentium, n. 35; Ad gentes, n. 15): now the Church is the entire people of prophets that was predicted by Joel for the end times (Gl 3,1 -5; Acts 2,15-21).

Today we too are called by Jesus to be witnesses of his resurrection: we all have this vocation, priests, nuns and lay people. Paul’s warning applies to everyone: “It is a duty for me to preach the gospel: woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor 9.16); we must all announce the Word “on every occasion, whether in season or out of season” (2 Tim 4:2). And if priests and consecrated people do it “institutionally”, the Council says to lay people: “Every lay person must be a witness to the resurrection and life of the Lord Jesus and a sign of the living God in the presence of the world” (LG 38); “Lay people are above all called to make the Church present and active in those places and in those circumstances in which it cannot become the salt of the earth except through them… Therefore, the glorious burden of working so that the may the divine plan of salvation reach every day more and more all men of all times and all over the earth. Therefore, let any way be open to them (editor’s note: !!!) so that… they too can actively participate in the salvific work of the Church” (LG 33); “Everyone must cooperate in the expansion and increase of the Kingdom of Christ in the world” (LG 35).

PLACE SIGNS OF THE RISEN ONE

Believers are called to evangelize by placing concrete signs of the Resurrection of Jesus in the world: the fight against evil, injustice, poverty in all its forms (“casting out demons”), creating a new universal brotherhood and solidarity (” speak new languages”), heal illnesses (“they will lay their hands on the sick and they will recover”: Mk 16,17), certain that the Lord will always support them with his divine strength (“they will take serpents in their hands and, if they drink some poison, it will not harm them”: Mark 16,17-18).

THE PRESENCE OF JESUS TODAY

The Ascension is a celebration that always leaves us a little bitter, because we envy those who were able to meet the historical Jesus, and we too are left, with our noses in the air, “looking at the sky” (Acts 1 ,11), full of nostalgia and a sense of loneliness. Yet Jesus, as he left, told us: “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Mt 28:20). The celebration of the Ascension of the Lord must then be an opportunity to meditate on the many ways in which Christ is still present among us today.

The church

Today’s Gospel (Mk 16,15-20) presents us with the Church as the place now of the presence of Christ, through the testimony of the disciples. The Church is the first sacrament, that is, a sign of Christ. The first great presence of Jesus is that in the Sacraments, “because Christ himself acts in them” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1127); above all, Jesus is present in the Eucharist, when we eat his Body and drink his Blood.

The Bible

If the Eucharistic Presence is important, so is the Presence in the Word. Jerome says: “We eat the flesh and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, but also in the reading of the Scriptures… I consider the Gospel to be the body of Christ”; and Ignatius of Antioch: “We must approach the Scripture as the flesh of Christ”; and Caesarius of Arles: “Whoever listens carelessly will be as guilty as he who carelessly let the Body of the Lord fall to the ground.”

Poors

The Gospel then states that the Lord identifies himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner: “Every time you did these things to one of the least of these brothers of mine, the ‘you have done to me’ (Mt 25,31-46). The poor “for Christians are the sacramental sign of Jesus, the Servant of the Lord who stripped himself of his divine dignity to the point of being a slave” (E. Bianchi). The poor are therefore the living sacrament of Christ: it is in the poor that we encounter Jesus on the paths of life.

Pope Francis said: “We must become courageous Christians and go looking for those who are precisely the flesh of Christ, those who are the flesh of Christ…! This is the problem: the flesh of Christ, touching the flesh of Christ, taking upon ourselves this pain for the poor… A poor Church for the poor begins by moving towards the flesh of Christ”.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

Spazio Spadoni

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