This lectionary year we listen to the words of Jesus through the prism of Mark’s Gospel, and today we celebrate Mark’s feast day, even though we are in the middle of the Easter season. We do this because the more we understand where Mark is coming from, the more we can grasp what he is trying to share with us.
At the heart of all the Gospels is the person of Jesus. His sudden and ignominious death left his followers wondering whether he had simply been a dreamer; yet another so-called prophet with revolutionary ideals. But then something happened. Individually and as a group they had experiences that could only be explained as his renewed presence among them., and they became convinced that rather than being dead, Jesus was alive. All four Gospel writers are trying to grapple with this experience, and to share their understanding of its meaning with us.
Mark is the shortest and simplest of the four Gospels, and the first to be written. Beginning with his baptism and ending with his death, it gives the reader a vivid, compelling account of the life of Christ. With no editorial comments, Mark lets the narrative tell the story: Jesus is constantly on the move, and the pace is exhausting and breathless. In Mark’s account, Jesus is a heroic man of action, a healer, a miracle worker and an exorcist. He never rests, never ignores a hurting heart, and never avoids controversy, opposition, or danger. He just keeps moving and serving toward his reason for coming to earth—to suffer and die. Those who follow him on this path, his disciples, are often confused and exhausted, but always amazed at his words and works, his compassion and strength.
Mark’s Gospel is definitely worth a read, and I encourage you to do so! Just sixteen short chapters, it can be read in one sitting, giving you a sense of who this Jesus is as together we open up the Gospel week by week in the coming months.
In Peace, Mother Lynda