THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2014
IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO SPEAK
are commissioned by Jesus to proclaim the gospel. “Go
into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”
(Mk 16:15). This is one of the most important tasks in the
world, as it involves the salvation of souls. If so, then
those Jesus sends he will also empower. We are thus empowered
All of us. The original apostles (those sent), Peter and John,
were seen by the Sanhedrin “to be uneducated, ordinary
men” (Acts 4:13b). Mary Magdalene, to whom Jesus appeared
first, was a woman “out of whom he had driven seven
demons” (Mk 16:9) but was used by him to go and tell
his companions that he was alive. Jesus then appeared to two
anonymous disciples who were “walking along on their
way to the country” (Mk 16:12), and they returned to
Jerusalem to tell the others that he had risen.
you ordinary? Are you uneducated? Have you lived a bad life
before? Are you just one of those nondescript followers of
Jesus? You qualify! As has been said, God does not call the
qualified, but qualifies the called.
So what prevents us from proclaiming the gospel in the power
of the Spirit?
is unbelief. The disciples did not believe Mary Magdalene
nor the two disciples from Emmaus. Jesus “appeared to
them and rebuked them for their unbelief” (Mk 16:14).
Now of course we do believe that Jesus resurrected. For us,
the challenge is to believe that we are called and that we
are empowered. Can God truly use me, nobody that I am? Can
I really call upon the power of God, sinner that I am?
second obstacle is hardness of heart. Jesus also rebuked them
for “hardness of heart” (Mk 16:14). A hard heart
is one not touched by the mercy of God, and thus unwilling
to impart that mercy to others, especially in the form of
helping bring souls back to God. We might have resentments,
anger, vindictiveness, or even self-righteousness. We might
even be a Jonah, already proclaiming repentance but preferring
sinners to be punished and not really wanting them to repent
and be restored to God.
third obstacle is being intimidated not to speak. We are called
to proclaim the gospel, and so speak we must. But there are
those intimidated from doing so.
the secular environment. God is often no longer in the workplace
or in social circles. Many are even antagonistic to authentic
their peers. They may ridicule or at least tease those who
profess their faith.
dissidents in the Church. Even priests in the western world
are intimidated from proclaiming the full gospel during
homilies, including the gospel of life, because liberal
parishioners would accuse them of bigotry or even hate speech.
those in authority in government or private business. Employees
are prevented from even silently proclaiming their faith,
such as wearing crosses. Businesses are threatened with
boycott by the homosexualist lobby for standing up for traditional
The Sanhedrin tried the same thing with the apostles. “So
they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach
at all in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 4:18). There was
one purpose, that the good news “may not be spread any
further among the people” (Acts 4:17a). But the apostles
would not be intimidated or dissuaded. Peter and John boldly
replied, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for
us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.”
(Acts 4:19). Jesus tells us to proclaim the gospel; the world
tells us not to do so. Whom do we obey?
should be no contest. We obey no one else but God. And so
we must live the Great Commission. We share Christ with all.
We put our all into this work, even as we are oppressed and
persecuted. It must become our lifestyle. “It is impossible
for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”