Readings: 1 Peter 5:5-14, Ps. 89:2-3,6-7,16-17, Mark 16:15-20

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name, they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18)

Today, we celebrate one of the great heroes of our Christian Faith. Mark was a personal assistant to the first Pope, St. Peter the Apostle, and the Gospel he wrote was based on what he heard Peter preach as they travelled on the mission of evangelisation.

In today's first reading, Peter even refers to Mark as a son. Mark was not just an assistant but a man who humbly served the mission by applying his talents and gifts. Perhaps Peter had him in mind when he wrote about our need to clothe ourselves with humility.

Indeed, one shining virtue we should all have is humility. Without it, we cannot learn from others or grow. We should never do anything to attract praise or exaltation to ourselves; let us allow God himself to exalt us.

It is believed that Mark was among the Seventy that Jesus sent out two by two to go into the surrounding countries in Luke 10: 1-20. As Luke narrates, the seventy returned rejoicing and declaring how the evil spirits obeyed their bidding.

This is the same reality Mark conveys in the concluding part of his Gospel passage, which we read today. “And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by signs that attended it.” (Mark 16:20).

As we can see, miracles are signs that accompany and confirm the message, not vice versa. Jesus asked us to go and preach everywhere, but he didn’t say to go and work miracles everywhere. Today’s Christianity has turned things around: No one says, “Come and hear the word of God;” instead, you hear, “Come and receive your miracle.”

Any place where miracles are happening yet the word of God is not preached or given little attention and time, we must be on guard for native doctors, magicians, and occultists have taken over the miracle business.

All we are called to do is preach. Let Jesus work miracles according to His will. Mark says, “The Lord worked with them confirming the message by signs…” No one can claim any miracle, but Jesus is the only one who works miracles.

According to scripture scholars, Mark was the first person to write a Gospel as early as 64 A.D. Matthew and Luke copied from him, accounting for the deep similarities in the three Gospels.

Saint Mark’s journey with Saint Peter and Barnabas is recorded in Acts as they travelled through Cyprus and Rome carrying the Word. Church writings accredit Saint Mark with founding the Church in Alexandria and consequently serving as bishop there.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, use me to spread your word like Mark the Evangelist. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

Remember, amid all challenges, choose to be happy. Live with a positive mindset and believe in God’s plan for you. God bless you abundantly. (Saint Mark, Evangelist - Feast. Bible Study: 1 Peter 5:5-14, Ps. 89:2-3,6-7,16-17, Mark 16:15-20)

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu