Saint of the Day – 25 April – St Mark the Evangelist – also known as John Mark (Born 1st century – Martyred 25 April 68 at Alexandria, Egypt) – The Winged Lion – Evangelist, Martyr, Missionary, Preacher, Teacher, friend and assistant to St Peter, St Paul, cousin of St Barnabas.
John Mark, later known simply as Mark, was a Jew by birth. He was the son of that Mary who was proprietress of the Cenacle or “upper room” which served as the meeting place for the first Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). He was still a youth at the time of the Saviour’s death. We cannot be certain whether he knew Jesus personally. Some scholars feel that the evangelist is speaking of himself (so he then did know Jesus) when describing the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane: “Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked” (Mark 14:51-52).
During the years that followed, the rapidly maturing youth witnessed the growth of the infant Church in his mother’s Upper Room and became acquainted with its traditions. This knowledge he put to excellent use when compiling his Gospel. Later, we find Mark acting as a companion to his cousin Barnabas and Saul on their return journey to Antioch and on their first missionary journey. But Mark was too immature for the hardships of this type of work and therefore left them at Perge in Pamphylia to return home.
As the two apostles were preparing for their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take his cousin with him. Paul, however, objected. Thereupon the two cousins undertook a missionary journey to Cyprus. Time healed the strained relations between Paul and Mark and during the former’s first Roman captivity (61-63), Mark rendered Paul valuable service (Col. 4:10; Philem. 24) and the Apostle learned to appreciate him. When in chains the second time Paul requested Mark’s presence (2 Tim. 4:11).
An intimate friendship existed between Mark and Peter; he played the role of Peter’s companion, disciple and interpreter. According to the common patristic opinion, Mark was present at Peter’s preaching in Rome and wrote his Gospel under the influence of the prince of the apostles. This explains why incidents which involve Peter are described with telling detail (e.g., the great day at Capharnaum, 1:14f)). Little is known of Mark’s later life. It is certain that he died a Martyr’s death as bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. His relics were transferred from Alexandria to Venice, where a worthy tomb was erected in St Mark’s Cathedral.
The Gospel of St Mark, the shortest of the four, is, above all, a Roman Gospel. It originated in Rome and is addressed to Roman, or shall we say, to Western Christianity. Another high merit is its chronological presentation of the life of Christ. For we should be deeply interested in the historical sequence of the events in our blessed Saviour’s life.
Furthermore, Mark was a skilled painter of word pictures. With one stroke he frequently enhances a familiar scene, shedding upon it new light. His Gospel is the “Gospel of Peter,” for he wrote it under the direction and with the aid of the prince of the apostles. “The Evangelist Mark is represented as a lion because he begins his Gospel in the wilderness, ‘The voice of one crying in the desert: Make ready the way of the Lord,’ or because he presents the Lord as the unconquered King.”…Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
3 thoughts on “Saint of the Day – 25 April – St Mark the Evangelist”
Greetings. I have a question. If Mark is the “Gospel of Peter,” what are the other gospels?
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This is a BIG question Stacy – and I thank you. However, of course, in this small environment it would be difficult to answer in detailed truth. I post a great article on the Gospels and the writers thereof – http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06655b.htm (The Catholic Encyclopedia). For 20 centuries, students have been examining each word of all the Gospels and attempting to determine not only the writers, when, where, how but agreeing and disagreeing. The Church is the authority and the Church is our guide. Mark’s is the first Gospel and even though this is true, some say he copied Matthew, etc etc etc. There is much information online but discernment is necessary to sift through the info. I would recommend someone like Scott Hahn as an accessible expert to help us. He has a beautiful and comprehensive website http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06655b.htm and a fabulous book “Catholic Bible Dictionary”. Let me know if the above is helpful. God bless you and yours!