Feast of Saint Mark, evangelist
On the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, our gospel reading promises that those who believe will “speak new languages” (Mk 16:17). Indeed, St. Mark, himself, is speaking a new language. He is proclaiming a story that is ever new, the Good News of Jesus Christ. St. Mark is speaking a new, life-giving language to the people of his time–and to us in our own time.
Jesus’ Good News to humankind is God’s overwhelming love for us, a love made manifest in him. The love which is Christ Jesus “desires mercy, not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13). This love has come into our world to “bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and release to prisoners” (Is 61:1).
One might wonder, where do we hear the new languages, promised to those who believe, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ today?
Fr. Bryan Massingale is speaking a new language when he writes “There is nothing necessary or fated about racial hierarchies or white racial privilege. These are the result of human agency; it does not have to be so. What humans break, divide, and separate, we can—with God’s help—also heal, unite, and restore” (Racial Justice and the Catholic Church, p. 180).
Pope Francis is speaking a new language when he preaches in a homily on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a major point of entry for refugees to Europe, and where thousands have perished along the way, “Since I first heard of this tragedy it has constantly come back to me like a painful thorn in my heart….God is asking each of us [as he asked Cain], ‘Where is the blood of your brother which cries out to me?’” The Pope asks us, “Has anyone grieved for the death of these brothers and sisters?…For the young mothers carrying their babies?…. We are a society that has forgotten how to weep, how to experience compassion—suffering with others….
“Let us ask the Lord for the Grace to weep” (A Stranger and You Welcomed Me, pp. 3-6).
Fr. Don Senior, CP is speaking a new language when he writes “Anyone informed about the state of our environment and its impact on human life realizes the intrinsic connection of ecology with other fundamental issues facing humanity….The loss of clean water, adequate food and shelter, and meaningful employment—largely linked to growing environmental problems—has increased the suffering of the poor” (What does the Bible Say About Inclusion? pp. 96-97).
St. Paul of the Cross, mystic and founder of the Passionists, implores “O my God! Teach me how to express myself. Would that I were all aflame with love! More than that…that I could…extol the marvellous mercies that Uncreated Love has bestowed on us!” (Flowers of the Passion, p. 85).
May we all share his prayer! O God, teach us all how to express ourselves! Teach us all to speak new languages, aflame with love.
Lissa Romell is the Administrator at St. Vincent Strambi Community in Chicago, Illinois.