Evangelism Immediately

Mark 1:29-39
Last week we heard about Jesus teaching in the temple as one with authority, and not as the scribes.
There was also a little story about how our Lord met a man with an unclean spirit. That is an interesting way to describe what seems to me to be a demon.

The demon recognized Jesus as the Holy One of God. Isn’t it funny that he demons always recognize our Lord as the Son of God, while the leaders of the Jews, to whom he came, did not? After this event, Jesus’ fame spread everywhere, says St. Mark.

At the beginning of the Gospel we heard today, St. Mark uses his favorite phrase to introduce the next event…. And immediately…
And there is a sense of immediacy in this Gospel. It’s relatively short and it moves at a quick pace.

Today we heard “And immediately he left the synagogue at Capernaum, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.”

I tried to count how many times the phrase “And immediately” while listening to the Gospel online, but I lost count over 25! And there are more. And I didn’t count phrases like, “At once” or “And so”
The feeling I get from reading this Gospel is that it is moving fast. There is no real break in the action until the resurrection appearances in Chapter 16.

St. Mark is really trying to communicate to us that there is immediacy in the message of our Lord. We must be about our Father’s business of preaching the Good News to all who will hear.
The bit of advice Jesus gives to his disciples occurs at the end of chapter 13; Therefore, stay awake for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening or at midnight or when the rooster crows, or in the morning, lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all; Stay awake.

Does this mean we have to stay awake until the Lord comes? Well, I don’t think so. I think it means that we have to prepare our souls for the Day of the Lord. How do we do that? First we come here to worship together. We sing these hymns that glorify and praise our Lord. We listen to the Holy Scriptures and hopefully hear some good teaching about them.
And of course we continually receive the Holy Sacraments of our Lord’s Body and Blood.

All of these things keep our hope alive. It’s easy to lose hope, isn’t it? Especially when things are bleak in the world. That is what the Gospel does. It enkindles hope. It is the hope of everlasting life that keeps us coming back. It kept St. Paul going, for sure.

In his letter to the Corinthians today we heard that he gave himself so completely to the Gospel that he became all things to all people, so that he might by all means save some. St. Paul wanted to meet each person right where they were, and work with that. That’s a perfect method of evangelism. Don’t get the word ‘evangelism’ mixed up with the word “Evangelicalism.” These words come from Greek origins, but Evangelicalism refers to a movement within Protestantism, and evangelism means simply the spreading the Good News of salvation in Christ alone.

St. Mark reported that Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.” We are all evangelists when we live our lives according to the commandments of our Lord.

You evangelize when someone sees your devotion to our Lord.
You evangelize when you forgive someone who has wronged you, even if they haven’t asked for forgiveness.
You evangelize when you help someone who is in a tough spot.

You don’t have to become all things to all people, but maybe just to help the ones around you. Show the love of the Lord to those around you however you can. That is the Good News.

Amen.

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