Mk 16:9-15 Go into the whole world!

This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]

Saturday within the Octave of Easter
(Click here for readings)

by Stephanie Juarez.

But later, as the Eleven were at table, He appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

For some reason I thought about the movie “Ocean’s Eleven” when I read this Gospel passage. If you’ve never seen it, it’s basically about a con artist named Danny Ocean who hires eleven other criminals to help him simultaneously rob three of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas. In a way our Lord Jesus did something very similar. Of course He is not a con artist, but He is an artist. He sees beauty in the brokenhearted and the poor. For this exact reason He too commissioned sinful men to carry out His mission – a mission of redemption and mercy.

Looking back at salvation history we can see that most of the greatest prophets and disciples – from Abraham to King David to Saints Peter and Paul – were just as broken as you and I. We are all sinners yet God can still work in us, with us, and through us to build His Kingdom. No one who has had an encounter with the Living God is excused or disqualified from the great commission to make disciples of all nations (cf. Matthew 28:19).

It was to a virgin woman that the birth of the Son of God was announced. It was to a fallen woman that His Resurrection was announced.” ? Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ

I thank God daily that even though I am a sinful person, He still allows me to serve Him and His bride the Church. I thank Him that even though I am still learning things I ought to know by now, He has called me to teach the faith through catechesis and youth ministry. Sure the kids drive me to the edge of insanity most of the time, but it truly is an honor to teach them the faith that Jesus Christ Himself founded upon the rock of Saint Peter.

Set a fire Community is what God is all about. The Holy Trinity is irrefutable evidence of that: three persons, one God. During the Easter Vigil Mass last weekend while we were lighting one another’s candles I realized how that single act represents both evangelization and community. Evangelization is about spreading the fire in your heart for Jesus. Community is about being on a journey together – going through the highs and lows of life together as God’s family.    

All vocations are communal in nature. God said from the beginning that “it is not good for man to be alone” (cf. Genesis 2:18). Therefore each vocation whether to single, married, or religious life contains some aspect of community. None of us are an island. None of us were created for isolation. We need to be careful not to let hurt, shame, or fear drive us away from the Church. The enemy works to isolate you. The Lord works to bring you into fruitful relationships.

Relationships are essential for disciples of Christ as we should all be striving to love one another as Christ first loved us (cf. John 13:34). But we cannot give what we do not have. Therefore if our hearts become hardened or we become lukewarm in our faith then we cannot set others on fire for Jesus. This is why being in close relationships with other strong believers is so important – they can help refuel you when you are weak. 

Holy hours and happy hours When I first came back into the Church a couple of years ago I didn’t really have any Catholic friends. I mean, I had friends who were Catholic but only in name not in their hearts or actions. I felt a strong yearning for community and comradery. I knew if I was going to keep growing in my faith and not turn back to everything I hated then I needed to build relationships with others who were also seeking The Lord.

In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.? G.K. Chesterton

Pints and pipes, saints and sinners, crosses and crowns – our one holy Catholic and apostolic church embraces it all! We are the true religion for sinners. Thanks be to God! And thank God that He has finally “answered me” by granting my request for faithful Catholic friends. I am so humbled and amazed at how the Lord not only provided but provided in abundance.

I thank The Lord for every moment I get to spend with these holy and hilarious people. From going out for drinks after work to worshipping together in the adoration chapel to flying around the world together, we are a family just like the Apostles were a family. We’re all broken but we are all fighting the good fight together (cf. 1 Timothy 6:12).

Lift High the Cross An object in motion stays in motion; an object at rest stays at rest. Those are the law of physics. They are scientifically proven, but the problem is that people are not objects. We start and stop all the time. We all fall but not everyone will get back up again. When Christ was carrying His cross on the way to Calvary, Simon of Cyrene helped Him carry it when He was too weak to go on.

I had a beautifully similar experience last week during the Good Friday pilgrimage I went on. Of course none of the suffering I experienced could ever compare with our Lord’s pain and suffering, but after nine hours and twenty miles of carrying my cross I literally thought I could not go on any longer. I had never put my body through so much physical stress before. With every step I took I prayed I could make it just a little farther. Then suddenly as I was approaching the last 5 mile stretch of the journey a friend who had just gotten off work came and offered to carry my cross for me so that I could leave to go to a Good Friday service at a local parish.

Not only did my friend make a sacrifice for me by carrying my cross but I saw others making sacrifices as well. At one point I saw that two of the men in our group were carrying two crosses each– their own and those of other others who could not continue the journey.

Tell them all Christ wants every creature to know that love is a sacrifice, humility is strength, and forgiveness is freedom. He desires that all nations become His disciples and rest in His peace knowing that He has defeated sin and death through His resurrection. The honor and privilege of telling them this Good News is ours! As daunting a task as it may seem, we can draw strength from one of the greatest evangelists of our time- soon to be Saint John Paul II who began his papacy (1978-2005) with the words: “Be not afraid!

This mediation was written by Stephanie Juarez. She is a pro-life advocate in Dallas, TX and serves on the Core team at St. Monica’s Catholic Church. For more of her writings please visit her blog Lover of the Light.

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Fr. Alfonse (793 Posts)


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