St. Mark the Evangelist – Disciple of St. Peter, traveling companion of St. Barnabas, evangelist and bishop of Alexandria, credited with founding the first Christian school. Author of the Gospel of Mark. Feast Day – 4/25
I love today’s feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, which reminds each of us to respond in our own personal way and to live out Christ’s great commission:
Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Today, I ask myself what St. Mark might think of my personal response to those words he penned in the sixteenth chapter of his gospel. Perhaps he understands the many ways in which I fall short of that calling — he himself is said to have run away quickly when Christ was arrested. Somehow he moved beyond that fear to become a leader in the early Church and the author of a gospel account which has inspired countless souls to better know and love Jesus.
I often ponder my own personal commitment to using the talents God has showered upon me — and overcoming my personal limitations — to bring his light to others. In today’s first reading from 1 Peter chapter 5, we are exhorted not once, but twice to humble ourselves. One of the great dangers of working in the New Evangelization is the temptation to personalize our efforts to the extent that we may begin to falsely glorify ourselves rather than God.
These days, I feel the need to constantly guard against this and to always seek ways to shine the light away from myself and towards him. And yet, at the same time I am reminded of one of my favorite scripture passages which states in part, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope…” Being ready to give that explanation means deeply examining the source of that hope and being prepared with an answer that suitably captures and pays tribute to the joy my faith in Christ brings me on a daily basis. If I make a mental list of my favorite spiritual mentors, they are men and women in whom I can tangibly feel a personal connection with the Almighty. Knowing them, watching their personal struggles and questions, but also their deeply-held convictions, gives me a tiny peek into the Communion of Saints who have gone before us, assured in their faith. Following their lead inspires me to give my very best to be that witness for others.
Today, on St. Mark’s day, I invite you to answer with me the calling we have received to share the best of news with those we love the most, and with those we’ve yet to meet. Let’s be ready, let’s be not afraid, and let’s be joyful and humble in our evangelization. Let’s teach by doing, by giving, and by the example we set for others. Let’s nourish ourselves with Christ, truly present in the Eucharist, and fortify ourselves with his word in the scriptures. Let’s leave judgment to the side and clothe ourselves in love — of God and of all his children, even those who frustrate, irritate, confound, frighten or challenge us.
St. Mark the Evangelist, help me to follow your lead of joyfully sharing my faith and my live for Christ with those around me. Inspire me to better know Christ through your words in the gospel, and to live out my answer to his call daily.
Copyright 2012 Lisa M. Hendey