I find myself cringing a lot these days as we (the Church) make the headlines. On occasion the press is positive and the message uplifting, but on the whole, between scandals, politics, hostility and hatred of things religious and specifically things Catholic, and a growing desire to place the message of the gospel in the irrelevant column, I am tempted to bury my head and mind my own business. I know that the truth found in the message of Jesus is a moral compass for a world that is lost at sea, but to step out into the deep waters and in all humility point the way with confident assurance is daunting.
Today the Church honors John Mark, a companion of Paul and Barnabas, the author of the Gospel that bears his name, the great evangelist. The scriptures tell us to "go out to all the world and proclaim the good news to every creature". Go boldly, we are told, sometimes where no one has gone before. Not all will listen. It will generally be a difficult task. Often we will be written off or ignored. But it is the clear demand of the Lord to go forth. The eleven went forth and the Lord was with them.