Today’s Gospel: Mark 16:15-18 – Conversion of St. Paul
In the course of a normal day, I am pretty sure that most of us don’t encounter serpents or drink poisons. And healing the sick? Well, short of some aspirin and a cool compress, not so much. So this passage of the Gospel of Mark has always been a little tough for me. But, as I look at the world around me, I can see plenty of poison and it’s much more insidious than an actual snake.
How many venomous people do we encounter on a daily basis? These toxic folks – sick at heart – tend to take the joy out of living. Sometimes I am called upon to drink in the poison of their words in an effort to help them, and it’s not pretty. It aches, and it’s not always easy to forgive. We all encounter people like this at one time or another, especially in the course of sharing God’s love for the world.
As we evangelize, whether in words or in deeds, we will rile those snakes and they will try to bite us, but the love of Jesus Christ protects us from such things. When we return kindness for bitterness, good for evil, we are proclaiming the Gospel to every creature. With enough time and enough love, we really can drive out those demons. With Christ in our hearts, we can pick up those serpents and take that poison and not be harmed by it.
I’m not suggesting there’s no such thing as a miracle. But, it is in these ordinary things that we most often find the extraordinary brought to life. It is so much easier to return a sharp word for an unkind comment. Only through grace do we grow in charity. And only in charity do we triumph over evil.
What are some ways that I can preach the Gospel to people who aren’t ready to hear it?
Lord, help me to love those who try to bite and poison me today. Let your Love shine through me and bring them healing. Amen.
Copyright 2016 Katie O’Keefe
Katie O’Keefe, mother of two and Oma to two more, is a great fan of nifty new tools and dusty old books. Katie is a recent graduate of Ohio Dominican University with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and plans to pursue further study in the field.