I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on the gospel reading and turning to the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and reflections. I ask Him to help me understand what I can take away from them to use in my day and have experienced such grace from this process already. This mornings’ reading made me realise that this shouldn’t be just for me – you’ll easily understand why!
Today’s reading was from Mark 16: 9-15.
There are two occasions here where someone who has been given an experience of Jesus is frustrated by the disbelief of others – first Mary Magdalene and the second the two disciples from their walk to Emmaus – both share their experience with the other disciples and both are met with disbelief. We can easily see ourselves playing both roles.
When we’re the disbelievers
Most often we’re on the receiving end and find ourselves acting skeptical and disbelieving what we haven’t experienced for ourselves. Often this is because we don’t want to believe as it may call into question our current views, habits or lifestyle.
It’s wise to not just take everything we hear or see as truth – but we do need to bring it into prayer and reflection to let the wisdom of the Holy Spirit guide that process…but how often do we even let it reach that point of deep consideration? Do we even create space in our day for that kind of reflection or are we too absorbed in the noise and distraction of the world?
When we’re the witnesses
Many times in our lives we’re Mary Magdalene or the two disciplines on the road to Emmaus. At these times, we’ve been given the grace to understand and believe something that is truly from God – and hit so profoundly we want to share it with others…and we’re met with disbelief, rejection and perhaps even anger. This has probably happened to all of us and it’s going to happen again. Having the courage to share regardless of the reception is the key here.
Jesus is very clear – “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” Whatever the truth or wisdom we’ve experienced, we’re called to share it. He doesn’t say “make sure everyone believes you and takes that onboard,” probably because He knows it will be met with belief from some, and disbelief from others. We need to leave the reception to Him, our job is to be the witness and continue on.
There’s something refreshing about this – and it comes back to TRUST. Our job is to simply scatter the seeds of what we’ve been given and to trust Jesus that He’ll take over from there…and also trust that whatever reception we do get, He’ll be there to help us.
The act of sharing is a much easier thing to do than the act of converting, but we need to do it.
All the world
Success, then, is whether we’ve actually done the scattering of these seeds of truth everywhere we can. Note that Jesus doesn’t say, “preach the gospel to those who you know will listen”, he says “all the world”.
St. Francis was famous for saying “preach the gospel, preach the gospel, preach the gospel…and if you have to, use words”. It starts with living the truths we’ve been given. Our lives and our actions are the best witness and where we must begin. What good is an insight from Heaven if we don’t apply it in our own lives? Going back to that need to create time and space in our day to reflect on how we’ll we’re applying what we’ve been given is critical here, before we can begin to think about “publicly’ preaching.
Beyond how we change from within, it’s up to each of us to discern how we’re called to share what we’ve been given – and when. It could be sharing in a conversation with a loved one, in the workplace, or through writing like I’ve chosen to do here. God blesses each of us with unique gifts and talents – let these be clues for how He wants to use us to reach those He’s placed in our paths.
No matter what the channel, our action is to seek the courage to bear witness regardless of reception, and trust that Jesus will take things from there. He will nurture those seeds in others and He will comfort us in whatever our witness may have resulted in.
Courage and trust. All is well as He’s with us.