By Fr. Andrew Kelly
THE ASCENION (EXALTATION) OF THE LORD – MAY 20
Scripture commentators believe Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 16:15-20) comes from a 100-year or so later addition to Mark’s original ending, Mark 16:8.
The “why” is complicated. Nevertheless this is the Sunday text for the baptized believing community.
Fascinating are the images that appear once Jesus’ Gospel, spirit and mission has grabbed the community’s soul:
“These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.”
But upon deeper reflection, the real radical signs that Jesus has grabbed the community soul come with the questions:
How are the hungry being fed, the naked clothed, and the poor being taken care of? Are Jesus’ justice and peace the core of community life? How are the victims of violence and war being responded to? Are nonviolent practices being taught and lived? Are forgiveness, mercy and compassion hallmarks of community life? The Gospel questions to the community never end.
It might be easier to pick up snakes and drink deadly poison.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)
Scripture Readings for May 20-27
Eph 1:17-23 or Eph 4:1-13 or Eph 4:1-7, 11-13
Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Gal 5:16-25
Jn 20:19-23 or Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15