The Holy Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St. Mark. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Charity and receive St. Mark’s help in forgiving others and by pursuing the Virtue of Piety so he can seek in the intercession of the Saints.
Feast of St. Mark – April 25 – Mk 16:15-20
Following their mysterious encounter with the disguised Jesus on the road to Emmaus, and His revelation of His identity in the Eucharist, Cleopas (likely, the brother of St. Joseph; Jesus’ uncle) and another disciple (likely his wife, Mary – Jn 19:2) rush 7 miles back to Jerusalem in the dark of night to tell the Eleven Apostles in the Upper Room. The Apostles refuse to believe and later, Jesus suddenly appears in the Upper Room and “upbraided (Greek: oneidizó, meaning, a harsh, angry rebuke that brings disgrace) them for their unbelief and “hardness of heart.”
Jesus then commissions the Apostles to preach the Gospel, to “all the world…the whole Creation.” He confirms the absolute requirement of belief for all converts, and those who refuse or fail to believe in His Gospel are condemned. Jesus then promises that extraordinary gifts will be given to some disciples through the Holy Spirit, and that the proof of these gifts will be their ability to cast out demons, speak in new tongues, etc.; this spectacular promise by Jesus comes to pass shortly afterwards (Acts 2:1-13, 1 Cor 12:1-12). After instructing the Apostles, Jesus ascends to the right hand of God the Father.
Tradition holds that John Mark (called Mark) was the son of Cleopas and Mary (who were on the road to Emmaus) and is the author of the Gospel of Mark. Also a cousin of Barnabas, Mark was a Jewish priest prior to becoming a follower of Jesus and had close working relationships with both St. Paul and St. Peter. The Gospel of Mark is said to be Peter’s Gospel, written down by Mark at Peter’s direction; Peter calls Mark, his “son” (1 Pet 5:13). After Peter and Paul are martyred, tradition holds that Mark traveled to present day Egypt and founded the Catholic Church in Alexandria; he was martyred by pagans in 68 AD. St. Mark is the patron saint of Venice and his relics continue to be venerated there in the Basilica of St. Mark.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed at Jesus the Divine King as He builds His Kingdom: with absolute Authority, Jesus charges His Apostles, the unlikely group of average men in the Middle East, with the seemingly impossible command to build a Church that encompasses the whole world; with Divine Knowledge and Power, He creates St. Mark and leads him to be an indispensable help to both St. Paul and St. Peter.
Seek St. Mark’s help to forgive others
Realize: While on mission in Asia Minor, Paul and Barnabas have a falling out over Mark and split up (Acts 15:36-41); later, Paul and Mark forgive each other and were reconciled (2 Tim 4:11) and Mark humbly serves Paul.
Believe: Reflect upon Forgiveness (CCC 2838-2845).
Pray: St. Mark, pray for me that I can grow in the Virtue of Charity so I love especially those who are difficult to love, and I can forgive and be reconciled with those with whom I have disagreements.
Seek the intercession of the Saints
Realize: In the Communion of Saints, every Catholic man is blessed to be able to strive to imitate and seek the intercession of the Saints, the greatest human beings who have ever lived.
Believe: Reflect upon the Communion of the Saints (CCC 946-962, 2683) and Patron Saints (CCC 2156, 2165).
Pray: St. Mark, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I honor the Saints and I develop a veneration for those Saints who can help in my own particular struggles in the Spiritual Combat.