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Declare the Works of the Lord

First Reading: Acts 4:13-21

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
“What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name.”

So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:1 and 14-15AB, 16-18, 19-21

R. (21a) I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
“The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD has struck with power.”
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
Though the LORD has indeed chastised me,
yet he has not delivered me to death.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.
Open to me the gates of justice;
I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD;
the just shall enter it.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
R. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me.

Gospel: Mark 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping.
When they heard that he was alive
and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

After this he appeared in another form
to two of them walking along on their way to the country.
They returned and told the others;
but they did not believe them either.

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.”

NAB

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It is incredible how the Holy Spirit can change everything. Saints Peter and John went from hiding in the upper room with the Eleven, to seeing the resurrected Christ, to receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to proclaiming in the face of threats from the Jewish leaders, “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”

The same thing happened to the man that they healed. He could not stop proclaiming what had been done for him.

I look at my life. There are so many things that God has done for me. He called me to Him. He leads me to seek a life of grace. He gave me the Sacraments, of which I can never get enough. He gave me a wonderful parents and siblings. He has blessed me with friends. He brought my husband and I together. He gave us children. He gave me my gifts and talents. He leads me to use them for His glory. He has healed my past hurts. He forgives my sins. He teaches me about mercy. Mostly, He continues to hold me in existence from moment to moment.

How can I not declare the works of the Lord?

And while the idea of proclaiming the Gospel to every creature is just a little bit daunting, God has also given us the Holy Spirit. Where can we start to share the Gospel today? For me, I do it in my teaching and loving of my children, and in the way I love and serve my husband. I share what the Lord has done for me with my friends and family. I share the Gospel in what I write. Wherever we go, in person and online, we have an opportunity to share the Gospel with whomever we encounter. Let us pray that we will do it well.

We are all called to proclaim the Gospel to every creature. How is God calling you to proclaim the Gospel today? In what parts of your life can you proclaim it more fully?

photo by Michelle Chan Photography

Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, new baby boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.

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