BY SR HILDEGARD RYAN
Sunday, May 20th 2012, is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.
Lectio: The Gospel Verse: The text is taken from Matthew 28, verses 19 & 20. GO AND TEACH ALL PEOPLE MY GOSPEL. I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD. It contains a command and a reassurance, both for the disciples and for each one of us who professes to follow Jesus. Why do we ever doubt when we hear the words: “I am with you always, until the end of the world.”
Lectio: Read the Gospel text from Mark 16:15-20.
Read it slowly and reflectively, and maybe a second time. Try to read aloud rather than with the mind. Listen to the text as you read.
Meditatio: What is it about? Some background so that we can better understand the text and make our response to it.
This text is the conclusion of the Gospel of Mark. It is about signs. We all love signs. Signs point us in the right or wrong direction. The signs Mark is talking about are those which Christian disciples of Jesus will manifest.
The danger with this text is or Christians to follow it fundamentally, and to fall into a kind of “magic”. It is not the Christian who will cast our devils, but Jesus, because the casting out will be done in the Name of Jesus, and by one who is only a human branch of the Divine Vine. The signs are the fruits. They are hard-won by daily fidelity to prayer. Ponder over the text for some hours or days.
Listen to the Holy Spirit playing like a harpist on the fibres of your heart, to bring forth melody of your response.
I share my response in Evangelizatio No. 1
EVANGELIZATIO: My lived response to the texts with which the Church exhorts me to pray. St. James says “Be doers of the Word.” And the Book of Deuteronomy tells us that the Word of God is in our hands to do it.
We will probably never lay our hands on the sick and heal them in Jesus’ name, but every visit we make to the sick in hospital or in Nursing Homes or Palliative Care – in Jesus’ Name – brings a healing of their emotions. We bring the healing of CARE for them: a smile, a loving word, a prayer.
Literally, we will never pick up snakes (poison) and not be harmed, but we will be strong against evil if we remain close to Jesus and remove ourselves from those things which are not of God. Even secular authorities provide parents with a child-lock for television to prevent them from watching harmful programs.
And parents can technically prevent their children from entering harmful websites on the Internet – sites which would cause moral harm.
The great St. Augustine once prayed: “Protect me, O Lord, with the shield of your faith and your truth, that the weapons of Satan may not pierce me.”
The imagery is that of an ancient soldier going into battle with a shield in front. We must be aware of the presence of evil around us, and protect our lives with the shield of faith, and the Name of Jesus.
– Sr Hildegard Ryan OSB is cloistered at Jamberoo Abbey