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“He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, 

W hile the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signsˮ (Mk 16: 15.19-20). "In Marc's long finale, the order to proclaim the gospel corresponds to the summary of Jesus' activity in 1: 14-15 and evokes a kerygmatic and itinerant form of evangelization, rapid communication of the Good News, where it acts by the impact of the joy it arouses (Lucien Legrand, Le Dieu qui vient, La mission dans la Bible, p. 101).
“Perhaps, we have not up to now really entered into the life of the apostles, or, hampered by the imperfections of nature which were reawakened in us, we have allowed our zeal to slacken in mid-course. [...] Let us go out then as true apostles, full of joy, full of zeal and full of courage. These three vertues will be the sign that we remain faithful to our Master in the hardships of our ministry and at the same time they will make it easy, pleasant and fruitful” (De Brésillac, Retreat to missionaries, p. 245).
Courage, joy and zeal, some essential elements to the announcement of the Gospel

It could be said, the success of announcing the Good News lays on the virtuous triptych of Courage - Joy - Zeal. The absence of one or the other can hinder the proclamation of the Gospel as suggested by John 20:19. The verse reveals to reader how after the crucifixion of Jesus, his disciples locked themselves up in a house for fear of the Jewish authorities. In other words, the disciples were locked up for lack of courage. Fear, therefore, could be regarded as a hold back to the proclamation of the Gospel. It is consequently necessary to have the courage to unlock doors that keep to entrenchments, habits, cultures and certainties so as to carry the Good News to others.

Bringing the Good News to others could be source of joy, second element of the triptych. The apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium is consecrated to that. It develops a section "The delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing" and informs the reader that there is the joy of the gospel, a joy that "fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus" because with Jesus "joy is constantly born anew" (EG 1). It is therefore important that anyone who processes this joy goes out to share it with others. Thus, it could be said of joy what the Latin American and Caribbean episcopate said of life in relation to mission, when they assert that they have discovered a new profound law of reality: joy is attained and matures in the measure that it is offered up in order to give joy to others and this is certainly what mission means. We can therefore understand why Evangelii Gaudium insists on this recommendation when it posits, "Goodness always tends to spread" (EG 9). And Saint Paul, conscious of this, says with zeal, "woe to me if I did not announce the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9: 16). Joy, then, is not only in the Gospel itself, but even more in the act of proclaiming it, announcing it with zeal.

To proclaim the gospel with zeal certainly bears fruit. St. Paul confirms it when he says to the Corinthians in his second epistle: "your zeal has stirred up most of them." (2 Cor 9: 2). The zeal here is obviously that of those people's ability to live and witness their Christian faith in an environment hostile to their new religious practice. To proclaim the Gospel not only through one’s way of life but also through the ability to transmit one’s faith to others is a missionary duty. And Saint Paul is an example for that! The zeal shown through his correspondence to the various communities in order to preserve unity, his numerous pastoral journeys and his great public speeches are proof of such assertion. The zealous attitude of Paul must be, nowadays, that of missionaries who work in today’s world "pervaded as it is by consumerism … desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience." (EG 2).

QUESTION: Since testifying in this kind of conditions can be absorbing, could we one day make ours these words of the psalmist, "my zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words.”? (Ps 119: 139)

Ghislain Inaï, SMA Ivory Coast. Lyon. Media Center