Saturday, April 2, 2016

Reflection: Mark 16:9-15

Saturday within the Octave of Easter – Mark 16:9-15

In this passage, Jesus appeared not once, but three times.  First, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, the woman out of whom he had driven out seven demons.  Mark doesn’t tell us what happened in the encounter, but Mary Magdalene immediately went to find Jesus’ companions. They had gathered together to mourn and to find solace with one another.

When Mary told them that Jesus had appeared to her, they did not believe her.  Were they wondering why Jesus would appear to a woman? Surely, he first would appear to his closest companions, the apostles.  Mark tells us: “They did not believe.”

Later that day, Jesus appeared once again.  He showed himself to two disciples who were walking on the road. When the disciples realized it was Jesus, they hurried to tell the others.  However, when these two disciples returned to tell the other disciples of their encounter with Jesus, Mark says that the disciples “did not believe.” Were they jealous that Jesus had not appeared to them?  In order to believe that Jesus was alive, did they need to see Jesus for themselves?

Then Jesus appeared once again! This time it was to the Eleven who were gathered at table.  Jesus rebuked them for their lack of belief and for their hardness of hearts. Despite their shortcomings, Jesus commissioned the Eleven to “Go forth into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Today Jesus commissions us to do the same.  Does this mean we have to leave our homes, our families, and our jobs? Will we be called to stand on a street corner and preach the Gospel to strangers?  Perhaps Jesus’ call is for us to preach the Gospel by our lives, by the way we love and forgive one another, by our care for the stranger, the poor, and the lost.  How will we respond to His call?

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