My apologies to those who have faithfully followed this blog for its sporadic nature this month. The busyness of Easter, a new complication associated with my CP, and my ever-changing new assignment, have made it a challenge quite honestly for me to focus. Today, however, seemed the perfect day to get back on track.
Today we celebrate Sf. Mark, the author of what most scholars consider the oldest of the gospels. He is also venerated as the founder of the Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the oriental Orthodox branches of Christianity whose center is Alexandria Egypt. He is said to have brought Christianity there in approximately 42 AD.
As for the gospel itself, while there is much debate most would agree that it was composed some time after the fall of Jerusalem, 70 AD.
In art St. Mark is depicted as the Lion, symbol of courage. He traditionally understood to be one who records St. Peter's remembrance of the events. He writes in Greek for primarily Greek speakers. By the time of the writing of the first Gospel, the transformation of Christianity into something distinct from Judaism is well underway.
It is he who chooses to call the story evangelion, gospel, literally a good message.
Very little is known about the person of St. Mark. None of the evangelists signed or titled their work. They understood that it was not them but the message that was important. It is only by tradition that we ascribe the gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
One of the key themes of Mark's gospel is urgency and if you read it in one sitting which is not hard to do you can capture the sense of the urgency to proclaim the message to the World.
This year is a good time in particular for us to celebrate the Feast of St. Mark and unite our prayers with those of our Egyptian/Coptic brothers and sisters.