Preach the Gospel to Every Creature
4/25/22 Gospel Reflection
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
Today is the feast of St. Mark, the Evangelist. The gospel reading today is the fitting expression of the mission of Missio Dei. The above passage was chosen for the tagline for Missio Dei’s logo to express our charism which is founded on the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the Kerygma.
The consensus of biblical scholarship from the 20th century to the present claim Mark’s account to be the first written out of the four in the New Testament. Today’s gospel reading is an interesting choice in the lectionary because most scholars suggest this portion of the Gospel of Mark is not part of the original text. Some speculate that Christian editors were uncomfortable with the ending of the original gospel text of Mark in which the women did not proclaim the gospel, but rather “said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” (Mk. 16:8) And so, the addition was added to Mark’s gospel which included the commission to go forth and proclaim the good news.
What is the good news?
The world: you, your family, and everyone you know has fallen into sin, but God loves you! God loves you personally so much and desires all to escape the bonds of sin and to know Him that he gave His only Son, so that we may not perish to that sin—but have eternal life.
What is interesting in the great commission found in Mark’s gospel is that it differs from the great commission in Matthew’s according to the conditions set for salvation. Mark emphasizes the role of baptism and the incorporation of converts into the Church, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
The Church has discerned and expressed that those through no fault of their own, who did not receive water baptism, can be saved by the grace of God through means of baptism of martyrdom and being on fire with the faith. Furthermore, the Church recognizes in the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church Lumen Gentium that those who have not heard the gospel but sincerely seek God in their lives can be saved.
So, what can we learn from the emphasis on the conditions of salvation in Mark's account? Lumen Gentium in the same paragraph that offers hope of salvation gives a sobering warning:
But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”,
The truth is God desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of Him, but we are in a Spiritual War. The enemy desires all to reject the offer of divine friendship from God. The Church, and its sacraments, are the ordinary and surest means for those to be saved. We should not be confident in the salvation of those who do not profess Jesus Christ as Lord.
And because we should not be confident, God calls his children to mission—the salvation of souls is at stake!
Preach the Gospel!
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Mk 16:16.
 Catholic Church, “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: Lumen Gentium,” in Vatican II Documents (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011).