Jesus said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents (with their hands), and if they drink deadly thing, it will not harm you. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs. Mark 16: 15—20
As Christians who are followers of Christ, this is our mandate: “to go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” When we proclaim the good news, we announce openly to all the saving message of the gospel. The gospel (good news) that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that we may live, live to its fullest. The gospel is the good news proclaimed by the apostles, evangelists, disciples and God’s heralds. This is what happened to the apostles and those who believed, baptized and followed Jesus and preached God’s message everywhere. From the apostles and the elders of the early Church up to the present were given full authority, specific task and responsibility to evangelize, to announce the great story of God’s saving grace and love. As in the past, those who proclaimed were assured of God’s guiding and leading hand through accompanying signs of God.
After they proclaimed the good news, many believed and were baptized. Baptism is a sign that someone belongs to Christ, that one is born again in water and in Spirit. Through Baptism, one has become a member of the one Body of Christ, the Church. Then, a baptized follower of Christ is called Christian.
This is also what we have to proclaim to all nations and peoples that God is great and good all the time and until the end of time. This good news is for all men and women of faith, hope and love. This grace and challenge to proclaim the good news to all creatures shall be communicated in varied ways and expressions when one is touched by God’s message of His saving love. Christ is proclaimed in the Church, through the Church and by the Church. Christ is present in the Word, in the sacraments and missions of the Church. When Christians continue to give witness in their lives, they do the task of proclamation (kerygma), they enrich themselves in their unity and fellowship (koinonia), and touch and inspire people through their services (diakonia).
Throughout the centuries, the Church is still at it and continues in doing this proclamation (kerygma) in all sorts. The holy and historic gathering of the Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council had decreed Inter Mirifica, the Decree for the Means of Social Communication had called all Christians to proclaim the truth, and the truth is God and only in God one can find truth. The same Council had likewise declared Ascencion Sunday as the World Day of Communication, the day of all Communicators. The salvation history is a story of communication, of communicating God’s loving and saving grace. All baptized Christians are Communicators of the Gospel. We remember those among us who are into the ministry of Social Communication and for taking different roles and tasks in Communication Media — the media practitioners, media workers, and media educators. They continue to be leaven in mainstream and alternative media; the producers of media messages and those who use and consume the media messages as well. And this is always a challenge for all of us today.
The grace of salvation is a message of God’s love which has to be continuously proclaimed to all creatures. A good friend had just texted me recently with this nice message: “You can’t “upload” love, you can’t “download” time, and you can’t “google” all the answers in life. Just “log in” with God and you’ll surely like the “status” of your life. The message is rightfully in place and we have to think and reflect on this. This is our challenge with what we proclaim in this present ICT (Information- Communication- Technology) society where everyone is connected with everyone thru social networking and yet people are still alienated, indifferent and very impersonal in their relationships and dealings. When we proclaim Jesus as the Lord, he lives in us, we become whole and happy not because everything is good, but we can see the good side of everything as Christians.
Given our authority and mandate as Christians, let us pause and ask ourselves if we had actually and faithfully responded to Christ’s marching orders.
Am I true to my vocation as a baptized Christian?
Do I proclaim the love of God in my family, in my neighborhood, in the broader community?
Am I actively involved in my parish community? Am I a member in parish ministries as lector, eucharistic minister, acolyte, cantor and choir, catechist, family life formator, youth minister?
Do I feel God’s presence whenever I go and preach the joy of being Christian and announce that God is risen and alive?
Do I live what I preach? Do I preach what I teach?
What are “God’s accompanying signs” that people can find, identify and appreciate in my Christian life? Am I a “sign” of God’s unfailing and unconditional love to others?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, make us effective and efficient communicators of your good news. May we proclaim to all nations and peoples your great love for us. May we also give witness to your teachings as we meet and encounter peoples of other faiths, cultures and traditions on the road to genuine freedom and peace. Fill us with your Spirit and empower us to preach what is good and right, empower us to heal the sick and drive out “demons” of our times so we can build a better world with joy, hope, peace and harmony. Amen.