According to Tradition, Mark was one of the 70 disciples of Jesus that were sent out to proclaim the Good News; he is also said to have acted as Peter’s interpreter, founded the Church in Africa, and served as the first bishop of Alexandria. Though early Church tradition believed that The Gospel According to Mark was written by Mark the Evangelist, many contemporary theologians do not believe this is the case. Still, much of what we believe about Mark comes either from legend or interpretation of this Gospel. One of the passages unique to Mark’s Gospel is the story of the young man in the garden of Gethsemane who ran away naked; some have said that this man might have been Mark himself. Others have claimed that Mark was a servant at the wedding at Cana and the owner of the house where the disciples stayed after Jesus’ death — where Jesus appeared to them and where they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Despite this ambiguity concerning Mark’s early life, he is now known as the patron saint of notaries, barristers, Venice, and Egypt, and his feast day is April 25.
“…This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come” (Mark 4:26-29).
Questions for Reflection:
As a disciple of Jesus and a Father of the early church, Mark had a personal relationship with Jesus. Today, the Church teaches that Jesus was fully human and fully divine, but that mystery is impossible to really understand. How do you approach the mystery of Jesus’ humanity and divinity? What do you think it would have been like to have known Jesus was he walked this earth?