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They Went Forth and Preached Everywhere…
“They went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20). This statement is at the end of Mark’s gospel. With it we see the simple, devout, humble beginnings of the great mission to build the Church. And what an inspiring adventure in grace and truth that journey has been and continues to be. Yes. We are the apostles and disciples of today. We are called upon to participate in the same mission. We are to do this as the disciples did, by the example of our lives and by sharing the Word of God with others just as they did. We are not called upon to impose this faith in Jesus upon others. Like him, and like his Apostles and disciples, we are to go out as sheep among wolves, bravely declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ in both word and deed. We are to offer this Good News to others and to honor their God-given freedom to choose it, or not. But if we live the Gospel humbly, openly, and joyfully, with God’s grace, others will be inspired to come to Jesus in their own free will. The Apostles and the early disciples are to be our examples. They did not win others over to the Good News by the sword, or with threats and intimidation. They did it by actively and openly living the word with humble confidence. We are told in the Acts of the Apostles that others were drawn to them because of the way that they lived, because of the generosity of their love toward the orphans, the widows, and the aliens among them. People were drawn to the joy that they witnessed in the believers and by their obvious, simple, loving care…