Today’s gospel reminds us:

“These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

My first thought when I read these verses was:
If someone told me I could do these things, I would think that they were crazy. 
Nobody can do these things!

My second thought is:
These are amazing things Jesus tells his apostles that they will do. Who wouldn’t want these great powers and abilities?

Then I thought:
The disciples must follow Jesus down a road full of hatred, suffering, pain, and eventually martyrdom.  Maybe the remarkable gifts were intended to support and strengthen the disciples as they followed Jesus toward martyrdom.

A lingering thought:
How am I using the gifts Jesus has given me to help bring about the kingdom of God?

—John Moriconi, S.J. is a Jesuit brother who serves as provincial secretary for the Chicago-Detroit Jesuit province.