We are starting a new liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent. Our Gospel for most Sunday Masses will be from St. Mark. As some may remember the Church has formed the lectionary into a three parts – years A, B, and C. This year in the lectionary we will be in cycle B.
Who was St. Mark and why did he write down the teachings of Jesus. Mark was a
disciple of Peter, Paul and a cousin of Barnabas. The family home in Jerusalem might have been where Jesus’ Last Supper took place. It is believed that the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount Olives probably belonged to Mark’s mother, Mary.
After Pentecost, Mark went with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch, Syria. Mark, who
was an adolescent, did not appreciate the difficulties involve with spreading the Gospel so he returned home. Barnabas and Paul divided up their missionary work and Barnabas again asked Mark to travel with him to Cyprus. Some ten years later Mark is in Rome helping Peter and then Paul in the spreading of the Gospel. He is thought to have founded the Church in Alexandria, Egypt and died a martyr around the year 74. Mark’s bones were transferred in 825 A.D. to Venice where a basilica was dedicated to him.
It is believed that Mark wrote his Gospel before the year 70 A.D. while in Rome.
Many of the phases found in Mark’s Gospel are a firsthand account which would indicate that Mark was using the word of St. Peter. His Gospel was written for the Church in Rome and explains many Jewish customs for the gentile community. It follows closely St. Peters discourse found in the Acts of Apostles. The Gospel of Mark is divided into six parts – prelude to the public ministry, Jesus’s Galilean ministry, Jesus journey with his Apostles, making for Juda and Jerusalem, Jesus revealing the end of time and, finally the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Mark is giving us a straightforward view of Jesus and his “Good News.”
Blessings, Father Dooley
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT
If I were to write the story of my faith journey what would I call it? Have I read the Gospel of Mark completely? Do I believe the Gospel is “Good News” to society?