Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Feast of Saint Mark--Evangelist to the Rest of Us

This year's (Cycle B) Sunday Gospel readings are from the Gospel of Mark whose full name was John Mark a combination of a Jewish and Roman name. To me Mark is a patron of those who set out in ministry and for whatever reason turn their hand back from the plow. The Church evangelizing (symbolized by St. Paul) have little use for the John Mark's of the Church (Acts 15:38), but the institutional Church (symbolized by St. Peter and here I think we glimpse the Divinity of Jesus in choosing Peter to head up the church) take in John Mark and uses him to interpret and present the Gospel in a language that the lapsi (the lapsed) can understand.

A friend remarked the other day, how different Jesus is when he appears to the disciples in Mark's Gospel after the Resurrection. Jesus does not offer them "Peace" but focusing on their disbelief "he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen,"(Mark 16:14). Here we have a Gospel for those who like Peter and Mark have failed and failed again and need the "tough" Gospel!

Some with the intensity of St. Paul embrace the Faith and set out never to look back, others like John Mark and St. Peter "take account of the winds" and sink but reach out to the Lord to save them, once again. To some "Peace" is what is needed, to others "Why do you persecute me?" and to still others a rebuke. Count me among those who need to hear that latter. Thanks to Saint Mark, Jesus awakes me from my slumber.

Read about Saint Mark in the Catholic Encyclopedia.