But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them
and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart
because they had not believed those
who saw him after he had been raised.
He said to them,
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
— Mark 16 9-15
Today’s readings speak about what it means to be a witness for God. In the first reading today, from Acts, Peter and John stand before the Sanhedrin after performing a miracle that brings about a healing that is witnessed by the greater community. The Sanhedrin, worried that this will invite new followers to this group, insists that they stop speaking in the name of Jesus. While the disciples recognize the authority of the Sanhedrin and allude they would like to obey, they respond that filled with His power, His authority, it would be impossible to be silent about what they’ve heard, experienced, and done in Jesus’ name.
In much the same way, we see Jesus “rebuke” his disciples when they fail to recognize His authority through the the witnesses he has sent. He charges them to recognize His voice and to spread his message “to every creature”. While God does share His authority through our appointed leaders it is ultimately His voice we must listen for and respond to. God’s message is discernible for it is consistently about the betterment of the other, the less fortunate and the most vulnerable. It is only when we carry this message, endowed with His authority that all people will live in freedom, safety, and prosperity. May God’s blessings be with you today. In the name Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.