April 25, 2017
Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist
Mk 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.
Reflection (Sem. Alfredo Dimaano, Jr.)
Those who believe in Jesus can do wonderful things—things even beyond their capacities because the grace of God works in them. This is the experience of the Apostles who were sent to bring the Good News. But their efforts were rewarded not in this world, but in the next life. All of them, except for St. John, died martyrs.
I was very blessed to have attended the Conference on Persecuted Christians organized by Aid for Church in Need (ACN) held last year. There, together with my brothers in the seminary, we heard of testimonies from our brethren who had experienced persecution for their faith. Most moving for me was that of Bishop Jumaod of Prelature of Basilan whose experience of death threats, bombings and unrest seems like part of his daily routine. The experiences though did not prevent him in his efforts to bring the Christians together, spread the faith and establish dialogue with the Muslims in the area.
Despite the many challenges in the ministry, he has the courage to be a pastor to the flock entrusted to his care. He never lose heart and even said that if it is God’s will that he dies, then he will be most satisfied to die fulfilling the will of the Father for Him.Such is the belief of one who has found his security in the Lord: no amount of danger can stop him from being an instrument in performing the tasks necessary to fulfill the plan of God for His people. The good bishop did not even claim that to himself but attributes it to God’s mercy and guidance.
May we all have in us the courage of the apostles, the boldness of their faith, and the will to obey God. I know that I can endure the sufferings and the present-day persecutions because God will never abandon His Church.