At some point an appendix was added to Mark’s original Gospel. In it we find stated this final command of Jesus: «Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Gospel to all creation». The Gospel mustn’t remain in the interior of the small group of disciples. It must go out and travel in order to reach «the whole world” and bring Good News to all peoples, to “all creation».
Without a doubt, these words were heard enthusiastically when Christians were in full expansion and their communities were multiplying all across the Empire; but how to hear them today when we see ourselves powerless to retain those who are abandoning our churches because they no longer feel the need for our religion?
The first thing to do is to live out an absolute trust in God’s action. This is what Jesus taught us. God keeps working with infinite love on the heart and conscience of all God’s sons and daughters, though we may consider them «lost sheep». God isn’t stymied by any crisis.
God isn’t waiting for the Church to put in place our plans of restoration or our projects of innovation. God keeps acting in the Church and outside of the Church. No one is abandoned by God, though they may have never heard anyone speak of Jesus’ Gospel.
But all this doesn’t take away our responsibility. We need to begin to ask ourselves new questions: In what paths do men and women of modern culture seek God? How does the Good News of Jesus want to make itself present to men and women of our day?
We need to ask ourselves even more: What invitations is God making to us to transform our traditional form of thinking, expressing, celebrating, and incarnating the Christian faith in such a way that we can pave the way for God’s action within modern culture? With our inertia and stodginess, don’t we run the risk of becoming a cultural obstacle to and putting the brakes on letting the Gospel be incarnated in contemporary society?
No one knows what Christian faith will look like in the new world that is emerging, but it probably won’t be a «clone» of the past. The Gospel has power to inaugurate a new Christianity.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf