April 23, 2013

MISSION MATTERS: Global Gospel

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Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
-Mark 16:15

In a couple of days, Thursday, April 25, we will celebrate the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. His is the shortest and earliest of the Gospels, and seems to be a major source for the other two synoptic Gospels. In the end of the Gospel of Mark, from this coming Thursday, more importantly, we find the charge Jesus gave to His disciples and us ... to proclaim God's love for all ... to all.

For St. Mark, the Gospel is meant to be global. The message of God's unconditional love is not meant just for a select group of people, as in the Old Testament, but is addressed to everyone, everywhere. St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote many times about finding God in all things. He tries to teach us that God is in all things, all places and all people. The Gospel is, and the freedom it offers is meant to be, part of every part of this world ... every part of our lives. The early Jesuits came from all over the world and went to all parts of the world trying to proclaim this global gospel. We all have this same responsibility from St. Mark, from St. Ignatius, from Jesus, to proclaim the Gospel in our world.

After Atlas Week, we may better understand how important it is for the Gospel to be heard in distant lands and nations. A little over a week ago, we were confronted with two tragedies: one, the bombing at the Boston Marathon, and the second, the earthquake in Iran. Even though both of these calamities occurred far from us, physically, we are reminded that we are connected to everyone in the world. Distance does not disconnect us from others, not in our time or in the time of Saints Mark or Ignatius.

Innocent people — children — lost their lives and limbs. We are saddened. We are angry. We want to know why all of these things can happen. We want to do something. We have heard the stories about people running into danger to assist the injured, marathoners continuing their race to the nearest hospital to donate blood and other courageous, heroic acts in Boston, in Iran, in nearly every tragedy and calamity in our city, our country, our world. Many of us hope that we would act the same way, but we have our doubts.

Let us pray for the people of Boston and Iran, but let us not forget that proclaiming the Gospel is not just for some place far away. We can — and need to — practice our proclamation to everyone, in every place we are.

The Gospel, our care and concern for others, is not just for times of great disasters, but for our lives as we live them today. Living the Gospel and the Mission of Saint Louis University is not just for a big crisis. Living with care and concern for others, proclaiming the Gospel, is the charge of how we should treat each other, in our residence hall rooms, our classrooms, our meeting rooms, our campus and our city.

We need not — should not — wait. Wait for bombs or shaking earth, to proclaim the Gospel. We should live this Gospel every day, in every part of the world, large or small, far or near, with every person we meet. Then, and maybe only then, will we truly declare the Gospel as global, a message to all people at all times.

A. M. D. G.

D. Highberger, S.J.
P. Stark, S.J.

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