The First Week of Lent: Sunday, March 1, 2020

Read John 12:44-50

The Gospel is occasionally studied as a historical record of the life of Jesus.  And there are others who would want to perceive it as a biography, written that we may know more about Jesus.  But the Gospels were not written for these purposes; they are, as Mark declares in his opening verse,  the written revelation of Jesus Christ—“the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

St. Mark had a dynamic experience of that Good News made real in his personal life.  As we will see in the weeks to come, Mark had a falling away, and a gracious restoration to the faith and ministry.  God never gave up on him, and neither did the Church.  He was mentored by Peter, and much of what we read in the early chapters of his Gospel are the reflections Peter shared with the young evangelist.  What we will see in the Gospel of Mark is his experience of God’s love made manifest in Jesus.  There could be no better reason to write a Gospel narrative.

Young Mark probably did not know Jesus personally during our Lord’s earthly ministry.  He was not one of the twelve, and as a young man (probably no more than a teen) he most likely didn’t travel with the multitude who followed Jesus.  But it is likely that he witnessed the events of our Lord’s Passion.  He may well have been the young man who ran away naked from the garden (Mark 14:51-52), and was thus positioned to see the full extent of our Lord’s sacrificial love in His crucifixion.

What we see in the revelation of Mark’s Gospel is what Jesus declares in today’s Gospel reading:  “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness…I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world to but save the world.”  Mark experienced that truth and recorded it in his Gospel.  Let us now enter into the young evangelist’s experience.

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