Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reflections on the Feast of St. Mark

St. Mark is an inspiration to me.  The reason is because he was a failure in a really big way.  What do I mean by that?

St. Mark was the cousin of St. Barnabas and accompanied him and St. Paul during their first missionary journey.  For some unknown reason, Mark abandoned the team.  When Paul and Barnabas returned and were getting ready to set out for a second journey, Barnabas wanted to give Mark another chance.  Paul said no way.  Imagine being on the bad side of St. Paul if you want to do anything in the ancient Church.  That's where Mark found himself. 

If the story ended there we wouldn't be talking about it today.  Paul took Silas and continued his missionary work.  Barnabas took Mark and they began a different missionary journey.  Whatever happened in the ensuing years, Mark proved himself trustworthy in spite of his earlier failure.  By the end of his life we hear Paul giving him a recommendation: "Get Mark and bring him with you; for he is very useful in serving me," (2 Tim. 4:11). We also hear St. Peter referring to Mark as his son in the faith (1 Pet. 5:13).  Tradition says that Mark was the spokesman for Peter and that his gospel is probably from Peter's point of view.  Mark is credited with having laid the foundation for the Church in Alexandria. 

As I said, Mark is an inspiration to me.  I have failed the Lord more times than I care to think about.  Some of those failures have been public and earned me some bad feelings on the part of others.  But I know that if I continue to remain faithful that God will erase my failures and provide opportunities to serve Him that have the potential of leaving something for eternity. 

Regardless of where you find yourself on this feastday of St. Mark, whether a victor or a failure, take heart as you consider the example of St. Mark.  Nothing is impossible with God if we will be faithful to what He has called us to do, even if the person speaking against us happens to be a St. Paul.

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