Feast of Saint Mark, Apostle and Evangelist
Among the sacred books used in the liturgy it is only the Book of Gospels that is carried during the processional at the beginning of the Mass and at the Gospel acclamation. The Sacramentary, the book of the prayers of the faithful and the Roman Pontifical are not being given the dignity of being carried in the processional. This liturgical gesture tells us that the Book of Gospels occupied a very significant place in the life and worship of the Church. Now, what makes the Book of Gospel very important for us and the Church? It is simply because it contains the account of the words and deeds of Jesus who made all things possible for our salvation. In this way, this book is indeed a Good News.
Today, we have the privilege of seeing, touching and most of all reading this Good News of our salvation because of some dedicated individuals who made such great efforts of writing them down. We owe it to the evangelists who readily made themselves available to write down their particular witness of Jesus. None of us today, have seen Jesus walk on this earth, yet because of the work of evangelists we came to know much about who Jesus is. For this, we are very much thankful to the evangelist who allowed the Holy Spirit to work in them and bring to us Jesus, the word of God. In particular, we recognize and acknowledge Saint Mark for preserving for us the memory of Jesus. Mark did not only consign to writing the story of Jesus and his work of our redemption but was the first to do so. Thus, what he wrote possesses the authority of being the closest link to Jesus’ lifetime.
On his part, Mark stresses Jesus’ message that the Kingdom of God is now beginning to be realized and its realization in our midst is Jesus himself. That this kingdom is the one of redemption through Jesus who by his suffering and death on the cross make himself a sacrificial offering in order to save us. Because of the redemption accompanying the Kingdom of God, Jesus felt the urgency of for this Good News to be preached by the Apostles as told to us in the last part of the Gospel from Mark which we have read today: “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News. He who believes and is baptized will be saved…”
It is precisely because of this faith and baptism we have received that we too are called to share in the same mission of the Apostles. Like the Apostles, Jesus is also calling us to preach the Good News. Our mission is to share Jesus to others. Without being aware of it, we have already carried out this mission of the Apostles of sharing the story of Jesus to others by our kind words and generous deeds. For the best way to preach the Good News is first and foremost to live it. As Pope Paul VI once powerfully said, “Today the world listens to teachers, not because of what they preach but because they are witnesses.” This is to tell us that one effectively preaches Jesus by becoming first his witness. This is what Mark, an apostle and evangelist wishes to tell us today, to be witnesses of Jesus, the Divine Word.