Let us Lectio: Marks of Faith
The Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, April 25, 2020
Steps to Lectio Divina
Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.
Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.
Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.
Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.
Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.
From the Gospel for April 22, 2020, Feast of St. Mark (Mk 16:15-20)
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and 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 any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
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.
Here we find Jesus commanding His disciples to go in His name. They are sent to proclaim the Gospel and to baptize. They are sent to preach and to administer the sacraments.
Our bishops are successors to the Apostles and share, in a particularly demanding way, this mission given to them by Christ.
Acceptance of the Gospel here clearly goes hand in hand with the sacrament of Baptism. And it is in this sacrament that we are united with Jesus in His death and resurrection. But it doesn’t stop there. We are also incorporated into the Church and thus we are to accept her leadership and guidance.
On one hand, all the baptized share in this mission, not merely as individuals who are asked to renew our personal baptismal promises each year — but as individuals who are united into one family, united under one bishop, united under one Head, which is Christ, into one Body. Thus, in this way, through “all generations my mouth shall proclaim [God's] faithfulness,” as the Psalmist says.
With this in mind, it is a mark of kingship (and perhaps of effective leadership) to give orders or directions and for others to obey. The Gospel scene today is where the disciples of Jesus Christ became His apostles, sent and equipped for a mission.
Jesus always accompanied His preaching of the Good News with works of healing and deliverance, so to the Church is called to do the same. Even as the Church helps individuals prepare for sacraments at the Easter Vigil through RCIA, she is charged with the task of discernment and to see the individual through the eyes of expectant faith. Throughout their journey to Easter we continue to look for signs that true faith is there.
We look for true signs that they are willing to suffer for their faith, willing to be docile to the teachings of Christ, growth in love of self in neighbor, etc. It is the role of the Church, through her leadership, to encourage the growth of these but also to expect and even demand signs of life for those who are approaching Baptism.
Callie Nowlin, MTS, is a regular contributor to the North Texas Catholic.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.