The Great Commission

Homily for the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist

This morning, we celebrate the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. In the Acts of the Apostles, Mark is also known as John Mark and was the son of Mary of Jerusalem and a cousin of Barnabas. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys and assisted Peter as a co- worker, interpreter, and travel companion.

Tradition holds that Mark established the Church in Alexandria, in northern Egypt and became its first bishop. Because of that, he is recognized as the first missionary who brought Christianity to Africa. We also know that he was the author of the Gospel of Mark. As we can see, evangelization, sharing the Good News, was a big part of his ministry as an Apostle, which is why we read this portion of the Gospel on his feast day, when we hear Christ’s command to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

This command of Jesus wasn’t just for Mark and the other Apostles. It was something that all the followers of Jesus were supposed to do. That same task falls to each of us. Proclaiming the Good News, going out and telling others about Jesus and all that He did for us, isn’t something that just priests and religious are tasked with…all of us are commanded to evangelize. That includes, in a particular way, the call of the laity. This great commission of the Lord includes all possible forms of living out the lay vocation. No matter what our profession or vocation, we are sent by the Lord to proclaim his love and truth to the world, to those that we encounter daily.

Today, I encourage each of us to take a few moments to reflect on how we are living out the Great Commission. How are we following the command of the Lord to go out to all the world and to proclaim the Gospel? Do we bring our children, our spouse, our family members, our friends, our coworkers to an encounter with the Lord by our example? Do others know we are followers of Christ by how we live our lives?

The Lord needs each of us to go out and to proclaim the Gospel. You never know, we might be the instrument that the Lord uses to bring someone to a moment of conversion, a moment that makes someone a saint. Let’s go out today and bring Jesus to those we meet. Let’s go out into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature today.

Image: Saint Mark the Evangelist by unknown painter, 15th century. In the Monastery of Sacro Speco of Saint Benedict, Subiaco (Rome). Public Domain Mark 1.0 Creative Commons license.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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