How to be a true disciple

Introduction: The thirteenth ‘Lectio Divina’ on Mark 16:9-20. This is the final text of the series of reflections on “the Ideal discipleship” in the Gospel of Mark. This text will surprise us with the unexpected faithful disciples of Jesus who follow him, serve him and were the first sent to announce the Good News of his Resurrection to the fled and frighten disciples who still did not understand the Son of God, the Messiah. 

Initial Prayer

Lord God, 

You have called me 

to follow your Son Jesus

who has showed me his ways,

give the strength and courage 

to be detached from anything 

that can impede to follow him faithfully. 


‘Lectio Divina’

  1. Read the Gospel of Mark 16:9-20; read the text slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you? 
  1. Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.  
  1. Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead me to ask for from the Lord? 
  1. Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Don’t say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying?
  1. Take now the word, sentence or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word lead you action. 

Concluding your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…  


Introduction: this text of Mark 16:9-20, is practically the conclusion of the Gospel where the Risen Lord appears to Mary of Magdala and two of the disciples who order them to go and tell the others of what they have seen. As they told their story they were not believed. It was only until the Lord appeared to the eleven that they believed he was alive, that he has risen. Jesus “reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, for failing to believe those who had seen him”… (v 14). This text shows clearly the ideal disciple of Jesus: the one who is chosen, the one who stays with him and the one who is sent by him. 

Central Message: …”He appeared first to Mary of Magdala, she then went to those who had been companions of Jesus…But they did not believe her…that He was alive and that she had seen him…He showed himself to the elven and reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they refused to believe those who had seen him…And He said to them Go out to the whole world; proclaim the good news to all creation”…

Main points:

1.- “He appeared first to Mary of Magdala”. When Mary of Magdala met the Lord Jesus, Mark tells us, that she was freed from seven devils cast out by Jesus. I believe that this encounter with the Lord changed Mary’s entire life so much so that she begun to follow him ever since. Though she was not chosen by the Lord to follow him like the rest of the disciples (cf. Mk 3:13-19), she was there like a silent and faithful follower. Mathew points out that Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons were following Jesus from Galilee, and not only that but, they were looking after him (Mt 27:55-56). This piece of information tells us that those women were all the time near Jesus trying to meet his material needs, from Galilee to Jerusalem, up to his death on the Cross and at the tomb (Mk 16:1-2). They were really faithful disciples in good and not so good times that the Lord faced. They never deceived him or run away or fled for fear of being taken away and suffer the same fate like Jesus. On the contrary they were braved, courageous and very determine women who knew exactly who Jesus was and who they loved deeply. They could do anything for him to a point of even risking their life. These are rally the true disciples of Jesus who remained faithful to him up to his death and continue to do so after his resurrection. In a sense, Jesus did justice to them by revealing himself first to them as the Risen Lord and commissioning them to go and bear witness of his resurrection to the frighten disciples.   

2.- “He showed himself to the elven and reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they refused to believe those who had seen him”. Up to this point the Disciples continue with their blindness and unbelieve about Jesus, his Messianic identity and his fate, which made them so stubborn and close to themselves for fear of ending up in the same way as their Master. They feared for their lives that perhaps were acting out of self-preservation or survival. In the middle of their sadness and mourning for Jesus’ death, the Risen Lord makes his appearance among them while at table; He rebuked them about their incredulity and obstinacy refusing to believe those who have seen him. This too could be our own story, we try to follow Jesus but many times we lose track and go astray obstinate in or own ways, believing we know everything and feeling not need of anyone’s help, ignoring people’s knowledge, advice or experience that could help us see better the ways of the Lord.  So we fall all the time but the Lord is so loving and patient with us; he knows we are weak and fragile that when the first difficulty comes we fail to remain faithful to him. The good news is that he continues to believe in us; that He is always ready to help us to stand up again and keep trying. 

3.- “He said to them Go out to the whole world; proclaim the good news to all creation…He who believes and is baptised will be saved”… In spite of the disciple’s unfaithfulness and betrayal, Jesus did not take away from them the gift of being chosen to follow him because his love for them was greater than their betrayal. He continued to believe in them all the way through. He knew their weakness and short comings of all them, that is why it took 3 years of learning on how to be a true disciple, yet they were slow to understand his Master’s instructions. Luke mentions that the Lord opened their minds to understand what he did and said, and what the scriptures tells about the Christ (Lk 24:45). After that he entrusted his mission to them to go out to the whole world; to proclaim the Good News of Salvation and so to accomplish his mission. He reminded them that his power and his presence will accompany them and confirming the word by signs curing and expelling evil spirits (Mk 6:12-13).    

Some questions for our reflexion:

  1. What did I learn from Jesus’ teaching in Mark’s Gospel about discipleship? 
  2. Who is to announce now the Good News of Salvation to the world?
  3. What does it take to become a true disciple of Jesus?
  4. Are you ready to answer his call?

"Lectio Divina", a Latin term, means "divine reading" and describes a way of reading the Scriptures. Open ourselves to what God wants to say to us.

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Father Rubén Padilla Rocha