Saturday in the Octave of Easter
The mission is here
When he had risen …he appeared first to Mary Magdalene…After this he appeared in another form to two of them [Emmaus disciples] … (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. Mk 16,9-15
In the Old Testament, the mandate of evangelization does not exist. The pious jew was called to guard and grow his faith, not to testify it. The New Testament begins with Jesus Christ and by it the message of the gospel takes form, the transmission of which is entrusted to the church. To announce the gospel means to transmit the “good new” that Jesus Christ is the liberator of the man from his limits and from the slavery of the sin and as “liberator” he becomes the “savior”. Since the liberation and salvation are made through his death on the cross and his resurrection, Jesus is also the “redeemer”, that is the one who saves by paying in person. To believe to this truth and to proclaim it, it means to evangelize. In the today passage Jesus entrusts to the first church, at that time made only by the apostles, the mandate to proclaim the gospel to every creature. The church was established to preach the gospel: if it does not evangelize, it is not church. Today this missionary impulse was a bit faded in favor of side events, which are in our opinion correct only if are functional to the proclamation of the gospel. The first is the social activism for the poor, good and necessary thing, but it cannot replace, as often it happens, the witness and proclamation of the gospel, because Jesus was not a social operator, he was the first evangelist. Then, there is the respect for the other religions, other good thing, but which should not be understood as preventing the evangelization. This has not been asked by Jesus Christ. Jesus entrusted the evangelization to the whole church, which is made up by priests, consecrated and lay people as well as christian families. Everyone is called to be a missionary according to his specificity: the main task of the priests is to ensure the orthodoxy of the testimony, that of the family is to witness the union in the name of Jesus Christ and all together we must be witnesses of the resurrection. In a time not too far away to be missionaries meant in the collective imagination to go and announce the gospel in other countries and other continents. Today, in the climate of globalization, we can evangelize even staying at our home. Just consider that word “go” not as an activity to be added to the many others in the daily life, but rather a “preach as we go”. And also the way to go is not necessarily that one of st. Paul, who, to evangelize, has completed more than nine thousand miles by walking and the same amount by sea. Today you can go in so many ways, also including internet.