Saturday, April 26, 2008

April 25 Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist


APRIL 25

SAINT MARK, EVANGELIST FEAST

Biographical Information about St. Mark[1]

Readings for the Feast of St. Mark[2]
Readings from the Jerusalem Bible

Commentary:

Happy Feast Day to Brother Mark Thelen (I’m not sure of the appropriate order abbreviation).
Reading 1 1 Peter 5:5b-14

St. Peter, according to most scholars, probably wrote this letter just before his death in Rome (code named Babylon in our text today) between 65 and 67. This part of his letter encourages fidelity to the Lord in the face of persecution which comes from the devil. The mention of Mark at the end of this selection is probably referring to the Evangelist whose feast we celebrate today.
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Psalm 89 is a song of thanksgiving. The selection we have today links nicely back to the faithfulness so passionately encouraged by St. Peter above.
Gospel Mark 16:15-20

The verse just prior to this passage which is the ending of St. Mark’s Gospel indicates that the disciples are still not sure what has happened (typical of the image we have of the disciples in St. Mark's Gospel) and Jesus comes to them at table, rebuking them for their unbelief. That event sets the stage for this commissioning address by the Lord. Once again the Disciples now Apostles are sent into the world with God’s blessing.

Reflection:

How esteemed is St. Mark? Our gratefulness to him should be unbounded. He passed on the faith to so many generations that followed him. According to tradition, he traveled with the Lord when he walked the earth as true man. He is thought to be the young man who ran away (naked without Christ) when Jesus was arrested (
Mark 14:51-52),

We see in the first reading from the First Letter of St. Peter that he was Peter’s disciple following the death of Christ. The first Pontiff calls him “my son.” He is also thought to have traveled with St. Paul and his cousin St. Barnabas through Cyprus. Tradition also says he was an active teacher of the faith, founding a school Alexandria, Egypt where he was martyred, being dragged through the streets.

Although more is supposed about him than actually known, several facts are clear. First, he authored the earliest Gospel included in all canons of the Christian Bible. We believe that God so inspired him that his writings relate accurately the story of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and the part of his Gospel we hear today – his assumption to heaven where he sits at the right hand of the Father. Very few people in the history of the world accepted the call to transmit God’s truth in this way.

A second fact is that he was part of Jesus’ story. He was present for most of the Lord’s ministry and related that story as an eye witness following his death. He did this at a time when it was very dangerous to be a follower of Jesus and ultimately paid the price reserved for those for whom God had special use. The blood of the martyrs, we are told, spreads the faith more effectively than almost any other means.

We remember in a special way today the contributions of St. Mark and honor his memory with our own rededication to do all we can to continue to spread the Good News. We pray, today, that we will have the strength of convictions and faith the do so even in the face of adversity.

Pax

[1] The image today is “St. Mark” by Michele Di Matteo, 1427[2] After Links to Readings Expire

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