25 Apr – Feast of St Mark, Evangelist
St. Mark is believed to be the young man who ran away when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:51-52), and the “John whose other name was Mark” (Acts 12:25). He was a disciple of St. Peter who travelled with him to Rome, and was referred to as “my son Mark” by the first Pope. He was the author of the earliest canonical Gospel. He travelled with his cousin St. Barnabas, and with St. Paul through Cyprus. He evangelized in Alexandria, established the Church there, and founded the first famous Christian school.
- Patron Saint Index
1 Peter 5:5-14
All wrap yourselves in humility to be servants of each other, because God refuses the proud and will always favour the humble. Bow down, then, before the power of God now, and he will raise you up on the appointed day; unload all your worries on to him, since he is looking after you. Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will see that all is well again: he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen.
I write these few words to you through Silvanus, who is a brother I know I can trust, to encourage you never to let go this true grace of God to which I bear witness.
Your sister in Babylon, who is with you among the chosen, sends you greetings; so does my son, Mark.
Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Jesus showed himself to the Eleven, and said to them: ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.
Proclaim the Good News to all creation
Not too long ago a colleague of mine started a weekly fellowship at our workplace, gathering her Christian friends from various divisions for lunch meet-ups to talk about scripture. While I admire her consistency at sustaining the weekly lunch sessions, I am rather embarrassed to say that I have somehow not managed to attend a single session. I think I have this strange insecure feeling about my lack of bible knowledge compared to my Protestant friends.
Today being the feast day of St Mark the Evangelist, I did a quick Google browse on evangelising in the Catholic Church, and was reminded of how, to a lot of people, Catholics do not seem to evangelise. At least, it is highly unlikely that you will find a Catholic approaching you on the street to talk to you about God. Then again, there are many ways of evangelising, through the way we live our lives, our reactions to setbacks, our ability to give thanks even in times of darkness. Even so, I wonder whether I am living the Good News in my life to an extent that I can inspire my non-Christian friends around me.
There is a line from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that says – “Our love for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith.” I guess that for anyone, Christian or Catholic, the heart to evangelise comes from a personal relationship with Jesus. Only when we have been touched by God’s love, can we have the impetus and courage to share it with others.
Personally, I find it difficult to talk about my personal relationship with God verbally, especially in secular settings. I am far more comfortable expressing myself in writing, and though I have gotten good feedback about that, I have seen the importance of talking about God to others. Just a few spoken words can really make a difference.
“I encourage you to never let go this true grace of God to which I bear witness.” – St Peter
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for the grace of confidence in evangelising ourselves and others.
Thanksgiving: Lord, thank you for the family, friends and colleagues who have evangelised to us in their own ways.