– Br. Michael, ofm
There is a line in the gospel for Ascension Sunday which catches my eye. In the gospel of Mark we read: “They went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them” (Mark 16.20). In ages past I’m sure this would have been used as a conquering and propagation tactic. Christians would have used it as a means to rob truths from other cultures and try and be dominate – claiming Jesus was in their strong crusading arm. Sadly, this fails the message of the good news and the Lord at work with us.
I believe the proclaiming of the good news is proclaiming how much God is in love with us. How much this love is God’s mercy given to us time and again restoring, renewing and refreshing us when the filth of life tries to rob us from our inherent goodness and dignity. Proclaiming the good news is about seeing Christ at work in each other, trusting that his work is being fulfilled when we share who we are in life-giving ways. When we do this, we are working from the holiness which each of our lives possess. The good news is about a message of hope, new life and paths which lead to a greater awareness of wonder and awe.
The Lord working with us is about our openness. Open hearts stirred by the gospel see the truth of the conviction of the first shall be last, the blessed will see God, the hungry and thirsty eat and drink in abundance, and our lives magnifying the goodness of our God. Each and every day the Lord works with us in our ordinary and extraordinary lives. Yet we doubt this, we seem to think this is not possible that only saints have this gift of the Lord working with them. We must stop believing this lie, for we too are saints and the Lord desires nothing more than to work in amazing ways in our life. Whether that is carrying for a child, listening to an elder, praying a litany of prayers for the world, volunteering at a food bank, cutting our neighbour’s grass, sending a card or leading a group of people in a mission project – the Lord is at work with us.
When Jesus ascended into heaven, he didn’t abandon us saying: “Good Luck – see you all in heaven!” No, he entrusted us with the gift of his Spirit – which empowers us to proclaim the good news and see the good news in our lives. This same Spirit reminds us that the Lord works with us in our given life here in this time and place. God will not abandon us – children loved so dearly. What God does ask of us is to see how God is uniquely at work in each person, culture, nation and church. We are not all identical cookie cutters rather we are infused uniquely with God’s very life. When we can see this then we will truly see how the good news is being proclaimed and how the Lord works with us always.
The time is now. The time is ours. The Lord is working with us.
How are you called to proclaim the good news?