WE CANNOT KEEP FROM SPEAKING
If we have really encountered the Risen Lord in faith, nothing can stop us from proclaiming him and his Good News. But stronger and more convincing than whatever we say will be the language of our attitudes and actions. As this was the experience of the apostles, it should also be ours. We live the same life as other people, do the same things, but we should do them in a different way if we have really met Christ.
1 Reading ACTS 4:13-21
Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
“What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name.”
So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.
Responsorial Psalm 118:1 and 14-15ab, 16-18, 19-21
R. (21a) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my saviour.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
Though the LORD has indeed chastised me,
yet he has not delivered me to death.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my saviour.
Alleluia PS 118:24
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mark 16:9-15
When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.
But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them, “Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
The Gospel makes us missionaries. Experience of the Resurrection makes us apostles. This phenomenon is akin to what Schillebeeckx calls “an existential inability to do otherwise.” Mary of Magdala meets the Risen Christ, and goes and tells others. Two other disciples encounter the Risen Christ during their travels, and cut short their journey and return to tell others about it. In Acts, Peter and John are ordered under pain of punishment “never again to speak to anyone in the name of Jesus.” But look at their response: “We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” This existential inability to do otherwise is a blessed predicament which Jesus blesses and confirms as a mandate: “Go out to the world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.” When was the last time you shared your Christ-experience with another person?
This whole week after Easter has steeped us in faith in the Risen Lord. May this faith, indeed, be the core of our belief and of our life. The Lord is risen. We rise with him even now, little by little, to a new and more beautiful life in Christ. Stay in that certainty and joy, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!