From Christ We Draw the Strength Lacking in Ourselves.
The Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist.
Lessons from the proper, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• I Peter 5: 5-14.
• Psalm 89: 2-3, 6-7, 16-17.
• Mark 16: 15-20.
The Second Class Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist; and, the Day of the Greater Litanies.*
Lessons from the proper, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Ezechiel 1: 10-14.
• [The Gradual is omitted.]
• Luke 10: 1-9.
6:41 AM 4/25/2018 — Today, of course, is the feast of the Blessed Evangelist Mark, cousin of the Apostle Barnabas and close friend and collaborator of the First of the Apostles, Peter. In fact, Mark's Gospel—and we know this from the testimony of the Fathers—is essentially the Gospel according to Saint Peter, and we know this from no less a source than Saint Jerome, who knew more about the Bible than all of today's modern Scripture scholars combined. From him we learn that Mark and Peter were the best of friends, that it was at the request of Peter and the brethren in Rome that Mark wrote his Gospel; and, since he was not one of the Twelve Apostles,—though it's fairly certain that he knew our Lord personally—he based his Gospel primarily on what Peter had told him. Jerome states: “When Peter had heard this Gospel, he approved it and gave it out to be read to the Church on his authority” (On Church Writers, ch. 8). In other words, Mark's Gospel is the first book ever written to carry an imprimatur, and it came from the first Pope, himself. So, I would suggest to you that the Feast of the Blessed Evangelist Mark is the prefect opportunity for us to renew our devotion to, and to pray for, our Holy Father.
The notion that Mark may have personally known our Lord comes from an incident in his Gospel which is found in no other: it takes place during the Passion of our Lord, when our Lord is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Just after Jesus is arrested, Saint Mark says, “There was a young man there following him, who was wearing only a linen shirt on his bare body; and he, when they laid hold of him, left the shirt in their hands, and ran away from them naked” (14: 51-52 Knox). It's a very mysterious sentence, and some have suggested that this young man was Mark, and that his inclusion of this incident was his cryptic way of providing a kind of signature to his Gospel.
Mark traveled with Saint Paul during the latter's first missionary journey and was with the Apostle to the Gentiles at the hour of his death. It was there in Rome that he solidified his friendship with Peter, and it is primarily from his Gospel that most of the Scriptural proofs for the primacy of the Pope are to be found. According to Saint Jerome, after the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, Mark went to Alexandria, which claims him as its first bishop, and where he died; and, in the year 825 his relics were transferred to the city of Venice, which also regards him as its patron saint, and where his remains are housed in the beautiful Cathedral which today bears his name.
If we accept, as many do, that the young man who ran away in the Garden was Mark, then his example can be a great consolation to us as we contemplate the life of this holy Evangelist; because it means that, in spite of our weakness in the face of temptation and trial, we can trust in the Divine Grace and assistance of Christ and His Church, and that our defeats and our daily acts of cowardice, be they great or small, can help us to be more humble, and unite us more closely to our Lord Jesus, so that we can draw from Him the strength we find lacking in ourselves.
* In the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, the observance of the Greater Litanies is extraneous to the Feast of the Evangelist; it is, nonetheless, observed, and is similar to the observance of the Rogation Days observed on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension Day, with the exception that the procession normally done at Holy Mass on Rogation Days may, on this day, be transferred to another day at the discretion of the diocesan bishop. Nevertheless, those who pray the Divine Office according to the extraordinary form are required to pray the Litany of the Saints in Latin, with the accompanying psalm and penitential prayers, just as on Rogation Days.