Friday, April 25, 2008

Saint of the Week -- Mark the Evangelist

Mark the Evangelist is shrouded in the mists of the Bible and history. He is traditionally thought to be a companion of Peter, a person who heard Peter's stories about Jesus and recorded them at a later date. He is also linked to the Mark mentioned in Acts who travels briefly with Paul and Barnabas. Tradition holds that he went to Alexandria after Peter's death, and there in Alexandria, he was martyred.

Although we know little about the biography of the man Mark, he has left us a most astounding legacy. His Gospel According to Mark is the first gospel ever to be written; he created a whole new literary genre from scratch. His story of the life and ministry and death and resurrection of Jesus forms the core of the other Synoptic Gospels, Matthew and Luke.

Mark's gospel is brief, to the point, and should be read, as someone I once heard say, "With the throttle of your imagination wide open." Yet for all its brevity, it is filled with power, grace, and with a singular focus on the Messianic Secret: namely that the only way to really know Jesus as Messiah is to discover him on the cross.

So on this feast day of St. Mark the Evangelist, why not dip into that first gospel, and "Read, mark (or rather Read Mark), learn and inwardly digest" it?

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