Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Mark, author of the Gospel According to Saint Mark. In Mark’s Gospel, we read succinct passages central to the life of Christ. Mark was not loquacious, but, rather to the point! His gospel was termed, urgent, brief and direct. For example, the evangelist’s entire message can be considered summed up within one verse: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
Mark wrote his gospel for the Roman Gentiles. Therefore, he wrote it in Greek, sometime around 67-70 A.D. It is considered to be the first of the four Gospels to be documented in writing. Saint Mark portrayed Jesus as the Son of Man and the Suffering Servant. The theme of his gospel was humanity. Being a Synoptic Gospel, this means that Mark wrote from the essence of Jesus’ humanity toward an awareness of Jesus’ divinity. Bottom line: Mark helps us to know the man, Jesus, before knowing Him as God.
Mark takes us on a journey, from the preaching of John the Baptist, to the Baptism of the Lord, through the ministry of Jesus, to His passion, death, resurrection and ascension. Mark’s writing demonstrates an intimate knowledge of Jesus as the “way.” He depicts Jesus as a healer, a forgiver of sins, a man of mercy and great faith. Through the parables, Jesus’ wisdom shines forth. Yet, most importantly, Mark helps us to comprehend Jesus’ love that He has for each one of us, through the depiction of Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross. It is through Mark’s writing that we see Jesus’ virtue. Mark provides the template of instruction for us to follow on our “way” through this life. He tells us to follow Jesus; to be like Jesus. For that, we owe Saint Mark a debt of gratitude. Happy Feast Day, Saint Mark!