“There are various ways of being happy, and every man has the capacity to make his life what it needs to be for him to have a reasonable amount of peace in it. Why, then, do we persecute ourselves with illusory demands, never content until we feel we have conformed to some standard of happiness that is not good for us only, but for everyone? Why can we not be content with the secret gift of happiness that God offers us, without consulting the rest of the world? Why do we insist, rather, on a happiness that is approved by the magazines and TV? If we are fools enough to remain at the mercy of the people who want to sell us happiness, it will be impossible for us ever to be content with anything.”

~Excerpted from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander by Fr. Thomas Merton, OCSO

 

Monday, April 25 ~ Fifth Week in the Season of Easter

Saint Mark, Evangelist

 

Holy Gospel: Mark 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.

 

Meditation: Ask yourself this simple question as you read and meditate upon sacred scripture: “Lord, what are you saying to me in these scripture passages?” Need some inspiration?  Think about this. Saint Mark the Evangelist is honored today. Each of the four gospel accounts gives us a portrait of Jesus, His mission and teaching.  Each is different in style, length, and emphasis.  But they all have a common thread and purpose — the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ. When the Lord Jesus departed physically from the Apostles, they were not left in sorrow or grief.  Instead, they were filled with joy and with great anticipation for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ last words to His Apostles point to His saving mission and to their mission to be witnesses of His saving death and His glorious resurrection and to proclaim the good news of salvation to all the world. God’s love and gift of salvation is not just for a few, or for a single nation — it is for the whole world, and for all who will accept it.  The Gospel guides us, inspires us, enlightens us, challenges our way of thinking and our ways of life, and invites us to share in the life of Christ.  Do you believe in the power of the Gospel teachings – the power to inspire us to conform our lives to Christ?

 

Prayer: O God, who raised up Saint Mark, your Evangelist, and endowed him with the grace to preach the Gospel, grant, we pray, that we may so profit from his teaching as to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Contemplation: Today’s gospel passage is the “great commission” which the risen Christ gives to the whole church, and is directed to each and every one of us. All believers have been given a share in this task — to be heralds of the good news and be living witnesses to the teachings of Jesus Christ. We have not been left alone in this task, for the risen Lord works in and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Today we witness a new Pentecost as the Lord pours out his Holy Spirit upon his people to renew and strengthen the body of Christ and to equip it for effective ministry and mission world-wide.  Do I give adequate reflection on God’s Word and how these timeless teachings have an application in my daily life? Am I a living witness to others the joy of the Gospel and the hope of the resurrection? If not, why not?  What must I do to conform my life to Christ, and join in the mission of Christ and His Apostles?