Then he told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned. Signs like these will accompany those who have believed: in my name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes, and if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
So then, after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took his place at the right hand of God. The Eleven went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.
We are celebrating today the feast of St. Mark, the author of one of our four gospels. Experts are pretty unanimous in saying that Mark, who had probably never heard Jesus personally, put down in writing the preaching of Peter, with whom he was so closely associated that Peter calls him “my son” in today’s first reading. The most ancient tradition we have calls Mark “the interpreter” of Peter, probably because Peter did not know Greek well enough to preach in that language, and Mark served as Peter’s interpreter.
Mark was the first to write a full-length gospel. He did this most probably between the years 60-70.
Tradition is unanimous in saying that Mark wrote his gospel in Rome and for Gentile Christians, that is, former pagans converted to Christianity. He wrote in elementary Greek, much less polished than Matthew’s and Luke’s Greek, but his style is much more lively. He is a born storyteller and is always interesting. He loves details and can regale his reader with all kinds of vivid notations which suggest an eyewitness (Peter) behind his stories. We owe a great debt of gratitude to this great raconteur.
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