St. Mark the Evangelist – April 16, 2014
This week we give thanks for the life and witness of St. Mark the Evangelist. Mark is mentioned throughout the New Testament, appearing in Acts, the letters of Sts. Paul and Peter and, of course, as the writer of the gospel that bears his name. Whether the same person appears in all of these accounts is open to conjecture, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it is the same person. In that case, we can see in one man’s life the story of the early church. The Gospel of Mark, in describing the arrest of Jesus (14:51f), speaks of a young man who followed the arresting party, wearing only a linen cloth wrapped around his body. The arresting party tried to seize him, but he slipped out of their hands, leaving the cloth behind. Some believe this young man was the writer himself, since the detail is hardly worth mentioning if he were not. In Acts, we read that Paul and Barnabas took Mark, who was Barnabas’ cousin, along on their first missionary journey. But Mark didn’t finish the trip. The second time around, Paul rejected the idea of bringing Mark. The young man just didn’t seem to be reliable. Later, however, Paul mentions Mark as being a faithful and valued colleague; Peter calls him “my son”; and tradition holds that he carried the gospel to Egypt. It is believed that he wrote his gospel in Rome around 60 A.D., using St. Peter’s recollections as his primary source.
Here is a prayer for his feast day, which is celebrated on April 25: Almighty God, who by the hand of Mark the evangelist have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.