Homily April 25th, 2023

Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist – April 25th – Mk 16:15-20

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Mark, evangelist. Both the first reading and the Gospel are a tribute to the saint, since the Mark mentioned at the end of Saint Peter’s first letter is presumed to be Saint Mark, and the Gospel is the conclusion of his gospel, wherein the Eleven are told to preach the Good News to the whole world. Though not one of the Eleven himself, Mark nonetheless took that injunction to heart, as many authors, including Saint Jerome, credit him with bringing the faith to Egypt and founding the Church at Alexandria.[1]

Scholars tell us that Mark’s Gospel offers the most human portrait of Jesus, since Jesus becomes hungry (11:12) and tired (6:31), and exhibits a full range of human emotions, including pity (1:41), anger (3:5), sadness (3:5), wonder (6:6), compassion (6:34), indignation (10:14), love (10:21), and anguish (14:34).[2] Mark also offers a very realistic, though certainty not flattering, picture of the human weaknesses of the Apostles; indeed, in the verse just before where today’s Gospel began, Jesus appeared and “rebuked [the Apostles] for their unbelief and hardness of heart.”

Mark thus reminds us that Jesus came as a man among men, and became incarnate in a world that was far from perfect, one fraught with difficulties and problems. Through his Gospel, we see how Jesus “became like his brothers in every way” (Heb 2:17). Just as little has changed in the world since Mark’s time, so, too, does Peter’s advice in the first reading remain valid for us, as he tells us to be humble and to trust, or, as some translations have it, “Throw back on him the burden of all your anxiety.” That trust is linked to humility, since humility leads to glory, but only “ἐν καιρῷ” not at some fixed chronological moment, Peter notes, but “at a suitable time, at the right moment.” Humility, this recognition of our littleness and our need for God’s constant care and assistance, is our greatest source of strength and comfort. Just as a Father is moved to compassion at the struggles of His child, so God is moved to aid us in our struggles, an aid which far surpasses whatever we could do on our own. As Saint Jose Maria Escriva wrote, “Trust always in your God. He does not lose battles.” God does not lose battles; He wins them, and wins them overwhelmingly.

Today, we can take some time to examine ourselves, asking God to shed His light so that we might be able to see those areas where we lack humility, and ask God to make us humble. Through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Humility, and Saint Mark, let us ask for the grace of true conversion, to really become humble as Mary was and as Mark was.

[1] Cf. Jerome, De Viris Illustribus, ch. 8.

[2] Cf. Mark Allan Powell, Introducing the New Testament.



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