April 25, 2020 -Feast of St. Mark, the Evangelist
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042520.cfm)
St. Mark was converted to the faith by Peter, who journeyed with Peter to Rome and served as his secretary or interpreter. When St. Peter wrote his first pastoral letter to the churches in Asia, he called him affectionately as “my son Mark.” Mark is considered as the author of the Gospel of Mark. According to tradition, he was sent to Egypt and founded the Church of Alexandria. One day he was seized by pagan authorities, dragged by ropes over stones and thrown into prison and died as a martyr. (Source: ibreviary)
Today is the Feast of St. Mark, believed to be the author or the person behind the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark is believed also to be the earliest Gospel among the four. One evident characteristic of the Gospel that would tell us about this, is that it is the shortest. The Gospel is more direct in telling the story of Jesus. There are less elaborations or if there are explanations, then, those are short and simple.
This tells us too that the community of St. Mark to whom this Gospel was addressed had that consciousness to preserve the story of Jesus through writing. It is through writing, then, that the memory of the Risen Jesus will be preserved and will be handed down from one generation to another. True indeed, that memory has been preserved and we today, share that memory of the early Christian community.
What actually moved them to do this? Or what made Mark to decide to write what had been told to him by his mentor St. Peter?
We will find the answer at the end part of the Gospel of Mark. Jesus said to the apostles, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
The followers of Jesus were now ready. They have become firm in their faith and so were all sent by Jesus to share and proclaim the joyful message who is Jesus himself.
Yes, the Gospel that they were about to proclaim is the person of Jesus, the God-with-us, who died and restores us through his resurrection. Mark being an assistant to St. Peter had become a witness of such joy. Mark himself experienced the joy of being with Jesus and being loved by the Lord just like Peter.
This joy of being with Jesus is what made Mark and his community to write down their memory of Jesus so that others will also be able to experience the joy that they have tasted.
Today, for all of us who have been the recipients of this great joy proclaimed to us in the Gospel of Mark, each of us is also called to “proclaim Jesus to every creature.” Each of us who have been able to experience the “goodness of God is called to to sing it for ever,” as our Psalm proclaimed to us today.
May I invite you then to be more aware of this invitation from Jesus – to go and share Jesus to every person we meet, to every creature that we will touch and encounter.
Despite the physical distancing, the call of staying home and enhanced community quarantine, sharing Jesus to our brothers and sisters in the most concrete ways is still very possible. Expressing concrete actions of kindness and generosity to your neighbors in need is a way of sharing Jesus. Comforting an anxious and troubled friend is a way of making Jesus alive too. We do share Jesus not just as a mere memory of the past, but making Jesus alive in flesh through us. Thus, go and share Jesus today! Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR