From a Creighton Student's Perspective
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
April 18th, 2009
Junior, Physics Major
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” Mark 16:15
The idea of proclamation stretches back to the time of kings, who would send heralds out to inform the people of the new laws and decrees that the king was enacting. In this type of situation, the herald had no choice in what the announcement to the people contained. So the proclamation was already determined by the king and the messenger was merely catching the people up to speed on the events happening in the kingdom. Something very similar to this system is happening in the readings for today.
In the Gospel, Jesus visits various individuals in post-resurrection appearances. Mary Magdalene and the two apostles who encounter Jesus when walking in the country can only do what the heralds of old did and announce to the Eleven and the others that they had witnessed Jesus. They cannot change the content of the message, only attest to what they have seen and experienced, just as the heralds could not improvise when reading a proclamation. Mary and the others did not need the Eleven to accept that they had seen Jesus; their unbelief could not alter the experience that Mary and the two walking in the country had with the risen Lord.
The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles also echoes the theme of proclamation. Peter and John boldly proclaim the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and they are getting in trouble with the authorities. In their case, they claim that a higher power than human judges is the motivation behind their testimony to the wondrous events that had recently taken place. They proclaim that the sponsor of the Gospel is God, and since God is above every mortal authority, they have permission to speak and attest to their experience with Jesus Christ.
I have lived my entire life in a country that supports religious freedom, so I have no experience with being persecuted for declaring my religious affinity and beliefs. I will not be punished for speaking openly about my Christianity and proclaiming my belief in the Risen Lord. And yet I notice that I find myself hesitating in certain situations, when I am with certain individuals, for fear that they will not react well to my spirituality. My challenge from the readings today is to mirror the boldness of the Apostles from the first century in boldly proclaiming my witness to the miraculous love of Jesus Christ.
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