Feast of Saint Mark

Mark does not explicitly give us the purpose of his Gospel. Certainly, one can deduce that he is interested in encouraging Christians to follow Christ, no matter what the cost, for the rewards are great. He also appears to want to show the injustice of the interpretation of Jesus that led to his death. Perhaps, in this small space we should call attention on the very first titles we will hear of Jesus; they appear in Mark’s first verse: Messia (Christ) and Son of God. Mark’s readers were all Christians: they believed Jesus to be Messia and Son of God. Mark evidently means to review the life of Jesus in such a way that the believers will believe even more strongly what they believed at their baptisms. By the time of Mark’s writing, messia had become a part of Jesus’ name: Jesus Christ. Though Peter seems to have grasped part of the identity of Jesus, "You are the Messia", he failed to grasp it all, for, different from the ordinary understanding of Messia and completely unexpected was the Messia’s crucifion and resurrection. Similarly, Son of God was a title which expressed Jesus’ divinity, but one still needed to learn for himself the perfect obedience that the Son gave to His Father: as he said in the Garden, "not my will, but thine be done". For Mark, though miracles and teaching an holiness are important characteristics of Jesus, one will not pierce who he really is till one sees him crucified, then risen. Then, one will have the best chance to truly understand the person to whom one has committed himself in Baptism, the one and only one who died for us. John Kilgallen, SJ

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