Speak Lord: Of the mission of the Church

Ascension

We return to Mark for the Gospel of the Sunday of the Ascension.

Jesus showed himself to the Eleven, and said to them: ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’

And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:15-20

On the face of it, the signs that Jesus says will be associated with believers are not, particularly associated with believers now. At least not all of them. Handling snakes and safe ingestion of poisons are not especially notable features of life in many Catholic congregations!

And yet… The first disciples must have wondered how these things could be true for them either, but it proved to be that the power of God would enable these things to happen. Not as ends in themselves, but notable events on the way…

  • Where has the love of God produced remarkable events and incidents as a result of your discipleship?
  • Where is your Christian witness called for now?

Sculpture of the Ascension, Medjugorje. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.