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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Signs of the Prophetic Spirit within Us

by Fr. David M. Knight

April 25, 2024: Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Thursday of the fourth week of Easter)

Lectionary No. 555

1 Pt 5:5b-14/Mk 16:15-20


Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord”: the Responsorial (Psalm 89) celebrates God’s fidelity even when he seems to have forgotten his promises.


1Peter 5: 5-14: In this letter, Peter introduces himself as “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.” He is encouraging new Christians to live out in their society — at home, in work (even as slaves) and in general behavior — the divine life they have received through Baptism. Especially in hardship and persecution. They are reborn as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.” Because they share in God’s divine life, God says to them: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”


Christians are “aliens and exiles” on this earth “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God... waiting for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” And yet, “for the Lord’s sake [we] accept the authority of every human institution.”


Peter gives particular advice to slaves, wives, husbands, and urges all in general to have “unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” Then he re-introduces himself “as an elder myself” to “exhort the elders among you.” “Elder” from presbyteros, “presbyter,” was the traditional name for an ordained priest, which Vatican II revived and encouraged for use in our day. Peter’s advice to the “clergy” is: “Tend the flock of God.... Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples.” And he urges all, “Clothe yourselves with humility... for ‘God is stern with the arrogant, but to the humble he shows kindness.’” This is prophetic witness.


Mark 16:15-20 lists some “signs [that] will accompany those who believe”:


They will cast out demons... speak in new tongues... pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.


We can include these phenomena in the “gift of the Spirit” or “manifestation of the Spirit,” in which the life of the risen Jesus in us is made visible in actions inexplicable without it.


The “gift of the Spirit” can take the form of what we call today the “charismatic” gifts: speaking in tongues, “prophesying,” etc. But Mark’s list is still being verified. Not literally, but much more impressively. Church ministry is constantly casting out “demons” of addiction to wealth, power, violence, alcohol, sex. etc., and “healing” people of sin. Not dramatically, but effectively.


Prophetic Christians speak a “different language” than their peer group, and many Church teachings are “foreign” to every culture. Christians in business and politics handle “snakes” all the time in the form of offers, proposals and problems that can destroy faith, hope and love — and survive it. We all drink “deadly poison” daily from ads and the media. We may be influenced by them, but we develop immunities. These are all “signs” of the prophetic Spirit in us.


Decision: Identify the “signs” of the Spirit in your life. Thank God for them!


Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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