April 24, 2017

Saint Mark, Evangelist and Eye Witness at Gethsemane

Saint Mark, the EvangelistApril 25th, is the optional memorial of Saint Mark (also referred to as John Mark), an early disciple of Our Lord, best known for the Gospel that bears his name. Tradition holds that members of Mark's family greatly abetted Christ’s work and earthly ministry.

Concerning his Gospel; Roman Christians were Mark’s primary audience. Mark emphasizes Jesus as the leader of a new Exodus. Saint Peter the apostle was Mark’s main source for the events of Jesus’ life. Many scholars believe that Mark’s Gospel was the earliest among the four.

John Mark was a disciple of Peter who followed Peter to Rome and later went to Egypt. He was very close to Peter: Peter calls him “my son Mark” at the end of his first letter (1 Pt 5:13). Mark wrote his Gospel based on the stories Peter had told him. The main audience was probably the Gentile Christians in Rome. Peter was so pleased with Mark’s Gospel that he had copies of it made for all the churches.

Of the four Gospels, Mark’s is the shortest, and many scholars believe it was the earliest. Many also believe that Matthew and Luke used it as a source for writing their Gospels, and indeed, certain accounts are in each of the "synoptic" Gospels.

Mark’s Gospel tells the story of Jesus’ life in a straightforward way. Although he includes many of the words of Jesus, Mark is more interested in what Jesus did. Throughout, we see Jesus leading us – the new Israel – on a new Exodus. Mark includes one story that none of the other Gospels mention. After Jesus had been arrested, the authorities led him off to the high priest.
And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body; and they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked. (Mk 14:51-52)
Why does Mark report this embarrassing incident? Most scholars believe that the naked young man was Mark himself, who added this little story to remind people who knew him that he was an eyewitness to some of the events of Christ's life.

Mark’s favorite word is "immediately". He uses it more than forty times, and his Gospel moves along at a brisk pace. Reading Mark’s Gospel in one sitting is easy, and it’s a good way to understand how exciting the Good News must have been to the earliest believers. O God, who raised up Saint Mark, your Evangelist, and endowed him with the grace to preach the Gospel, grant, we pray, that we may so profit from his teaching as to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ. Who lives and reigns with you, and with the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

No comments :