Preaching the Gospel

In today’s reading from St. Mark’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also.  For this purpose have I come.”  In the Mass reading the precedes the Gospel, St. Paul tells the Corinthians, “If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!”

This is the task to which we have all been appointed as Christians: to preach the Gospel. In his Apostolic exhortation, Christifideles Laici, Pope John Paul II wrote:

The entire mission of the Church, then, is concentrated and manifested in evangelization. Through the winding passages of history the Church has made her way under the grace and the command of Jesus Christ: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” …and lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age”…. “To evangelize,” writes Paul VI, “is the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her most profound identity.”

This can, at times, be a challenging task. Our preaching will not always be heard. Our preaching will not always be welcomed. But, as St. Paul says, we “have been entrusted with a stewardship” and “woe to me if I do not preach it.”