Blessed Feast of St. Mark!

“Saint Mark, writer of the Gospel and first bishop of Alexandria, was the missionary companion and amanuensis of Saint Peter, the first pope. The third-century theologian Saint Hippolytus (and repentant anti-Pope) claims that Mark was one of the seventy disciples sent forth by Christ, meeting up with Saint Paul (he is likely the ‘John Mark’ mentioned in Acts, cf., 15:37), before joining Saint Peter. Tradition also has him as the ‘young man’, described in his own Gospel, who ‘went away sorrowful’, after Christ’s invitation to ‘leave everything and come follow Him’. Later, the same ‘young man’ watched the tragic events in the Garden of Gethsemane, and ‘ran away naked’ when the authorities tried to arrest him also, but grabbed only his garment (signifying in a vivid way his forced detachment from material things – for some have poverty, like celibacy, thrust upon them).

“Saint Mark, after a few years writing down Peter’s sermons (which comprised the basis for his Gospel), in the year 43 went to Alexandria, thereby founding the Church in Africa, before, as one tradition has it, his martyrdom by the populace by being dragged through the streets, around the time of Saint Peter’s own witness (68 A.D.). He is also connected with Venice, where his relics were transferred, according to historical legend, in 828 to save them from desecration by the Saracens – a tale which makes for some intriguing reading. They now reside in the magnificent basilica dedicated to him.

“Saint Mark’s Gospel seems written in a hurry, like the young man who ran away, and as befits a treatise composed in the tense situation in the nascent Roman Church, where the Christians, who had yet even to be called Christians, faced the imminent threat of persecution and martyrdom under the demonic regime of Nero. The Greek adverb eutheos, ‘immediately’, ‘right away’, occurs forty-one times in this shortest of the Gospels. Mark’s symbol is, after all, a winged lion.

“But this term can also mean ‘fitting’, or ‘well-placed’. All in all, it seems, well, fitting for this Gospel composed with the help of the first Vicar of Christ, whose mission was to found the Church that would govern all the Churches:  As comes across in the very first pages of Acts, the indecisive, wavering Peter had now become courageous, bold, sure, swift and to the point.”

The sarcophagus of Saint Mark –

8 thoughts on “Blessed Feast of St. Mark!”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I thought for a long time it was so tragic that the rich young man walked away from following Jesus. And I never associated him with the one who “ran away naked” at Gethsemane. It does seem to make a certain deep sense, though!

    1. Pius Tradition has Mark as the son of the owner of the Cenacle, so he would have been privy to all the discussions between Mary and the Apostles in the earliest days of the Church, before going with Peter to Antioch and then Rome. Mark’s Gospel was literally dictated by St Peter.

      1. This is just beyond wonderful. I’m telling some people I talk to every Sunday. And I’m going to re-read the Gospel of Mark with this in mind.

  2. When Jesus sent the 72, and said eat what is set before you, I like to think it was His way of saying Eat your vegetables.

  3. Blessed name day to you, Mark. May the holy evangelist, your patron saint, intercede for and guide you always.

    Our priest loves St Mark’s gospel, mainly because he said it was essentially written by St Peter and especially shows little details that St Peter would have noticed / remembered.
    Thank you for further details about St Mark’s life

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