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St.Mark - Catholic Church

An introduction to the Gospel of St. Mark.

by L.A. "Tony" Kovach

Gospel of St. Mark

Among all the many things that a soul can do to deepen their Faith, the reading of The Word must rank very high! While all Scripture is inspired by God, and thus all Biblical reading is praiseworthy, certainly the reading of the Gospels must be the pinnacle of Biblical study, as it brings us the Good News in our Lord's own words, deeds and actions. The Church gives us many opportunities for indulgences for the daily reading of Sacred Scripture, even if we read for just 10 or 15 minutes a day.

Sound Catholic scholarship tells us that each of the Gospels had a focus on a particular 'audience.' St. Luke wrote primarly for the Greek speaking world, St. Matthew's many references to Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus was directed to a Hebrew audience, St. Mark wrote for Romans and St. John's Gospel, the last to be written, was for the growing Christian population. Mark's Gospel is the briefest, and it is conveyed with a dramatic flair. I often think of it as the "Galloping Gospel" with words such as "immediately" being used in it so often. Indeed, while covering the same essential material that St. Matthew's Gospel does, it does so in about half the pages.

Starting with the very first verse, we see a clear reference to Jesus being the Son of God. The many accounts of miracles, signs and wonders all underscore St. Mark's clear belief in the Divinity of Christ. This is important for Catholics to know, as we see groups ranging from the New Agers, to Jehovah's Witnesses, to the mislead followers of Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code" questioning or denying Jesus' Divinity in our age. We can see so many Catholic doctrines clearly supported in St. Mark's account of Jesus' life, death and Resurrection.

St. Mark is thought to be close to St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles and our first Pope. So it is interesting to see how the Petrine influence in St. Mark's writings plays out, we see Peter corrected, but in his humility, St. Peter doesn't recount being confirmed as the head of the Apostles by Jesus in the parallel passages to Matthew 16:18-20. While St. Mark's account goes from one scene rapidly to the next, we see glimpses of interesting details, like the fact that Jesus was asleep "on a cushion" in the boat during the storm on the Sea of Galilee .

Let us not let misguided modernist minds to confuse us about the Truth and reliability of the Words that God Himself inspired St. Mark and the other writers of the Bible to pen. While there are many weak or even unCatholic commentaries out there, for those seeking a doctrinally solid Catholic commentary on St. Mark's Gospel, in the Douay-Rheim's version, we have the Haydock Bible. Fr. Haydock collected and wrote this commentary based on solidly Catholic tradition, starting with the early Church Fathers and up to his time in the late 1800s. For those who prefer a modern translation, consider the commentary in the Navarre Bible. The Navarre Bible was commissioned by Pope John Paul II and initiated by now St. Jose-Maria Escriva. It contains both English and the Latin text, is very beautiful in its insights, cross references to other Scripture passages, the thoughts of the saints, various popes and councils and many of St. Jose-Maria Escriva's own insightful reflections.

Begin your reading with the prayer, "Come Holy Ghost (Holy Sprit), fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in us the fire of your love." This is one of many ways to prepare our minds and hearts for reading not just any book, but The Book! This prayer is also indulgenced, and speaking for myself, I need all of the indulgences I can get! I like to read a passage, then read the commentary below, and then re-read the passage (chapter) again. In this fashion, we allow ourselves to be formed and guided by the thinking of our Holy Mother, the Church.

When I'm introducing someone to Sacred Scripture, St. Luke's and St. Mark's Gospels are the two that I love to get people started with! Place yourself at the Lord's feet, prayerfully follow Him along the dusty roads of Israel during the Roman era. Imagine the amazed reaction of the souls as they watch the cripples healed! Bread multiplied! The stormy waters of Galilee calmed! Feel the pain of His agonizing death. Imagine the immense shock, doubt and then joy of His disciples when they hear and then see Him risen again! Truly, the Gospels are the Greatest Story ever told! They are the story of our Savior's total giving of self to redeem us from our sins!


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