25 April, Wednesday – Proclaiming Our Faith

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

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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.

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Mark 16:15-20

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.

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“Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Gospel to all creation.”

Having a mentor and someone to pray for you regularly could affect you profoundly. The supporting scripture for us Catholics comes from James 5:16 which says, “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.”  This supports the Catholic practice of seeking the saints’ intercession.
As I was going through my reversion to the Catholic faith, I became very aware of having a patron saint, and mine just so happens to be Saint Mark. As God-incidence would have it, I’m writing this reflection today as a further testament of the power of being devoted to your patron saint.
Saint Mark the Evangelist wrote the Gospel of Mark, but they weren’t his words. He wasn’t a first hand witness of Jesus’ life and miracles, although most scholars tell us that he did become a follower at some point in Jesus’ public ministry. Some legends tell us that he was the naked man who ran away in the garden of Gethsamany after Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:51-52), perhaps referring to himself. Most importantly, Saint Mark was the scribe of Saint Peter, our first Pope. The Gospel according to Mark was Saint Peter’s narration of Jesus’ life and ministry.
So how did this patron Saint impact me? Maybe it started even before my reversion as I was always the happiest when I was writing compositions. After my reversion, the first ministry I joined was communications in my parish, where I was mostly involved with writing the parish bulletin and articles on faith. So here am now 8 years later, writing reflections on this blog. A lot of these writings are representations of other books, articles and websites I read too, much like Saint Mark, not a first-hand witness but re-presenter of a story with some personal anecdotes and musings.
So as Saint Mark has so profoundly impacted my life, I would encourage one and all to get to know the life of your own patron saints and, in your own way, go out into the whole world proclaiming the Gospel. It could be in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, writing, teaching, administration, cleaning or just being present to people. Let us come under someone’s patronage and get some heavenly help in whatever area we are called to.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Daryl de Payva)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for the grace of being able to discern the will of our patron Saint.

Thanksgiving:  We give thanks for all who have sacrificed so much for us in their own faith journeys.

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