Genesis 3:9-15 Psalm 129
II Corinthians 4:13-5:1 Mark 3:20-35
“Who was Saint Mark?” by Fr. Peter Edmonds SJ
On most Sundays until the end of November, we will hear the gospel of Mark. Who was this Mark? The gospel itself does not tell us; it is anonymous. But since the second century, it has been known as ‘The Gospel According to Mark’. Because the name Mark occurs several times in the New Testament, its author has been identified with this person. We meet this name first in the Acts of the Apostles. When Peter was released from prison, he went to the ‘house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark where many had gathered and were praying’. The family was prosperous enough to employ Rhoda, a maid, and the house was big enough to provide space for Christians to meet. Mark then was no pauper and Mary would have had the resources to pay for his schooling (Acts 12:12-13).
This John Mark was known to Paul and Barnabas. He was their companion on mission, but at some point, he left them (Acts 12:25; 13:13). No reason is given, but two chapters later, we learn that Paul refused to take him back, despite the urging of Barnabas, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia (Acts 15:38). Mark then, despite his youth, had a mind of his own. The disagreement did not last, because in his Letter to the Colossians (Colossians 4:10) and in his Letter to Philemon (Philemon 24), Paul passes on Mark’s warm greetings. Later, in the Second Letter to Timothy, Paul writes that Mark is useful to his ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).
One source often quoted about Mark is the 2nd century bishop Papias, quoted by the 4th century historian Eusebius, that Mark was the ‘interpreter’ of Peter. He wrote: ‘Mark, having become Peter’s interpreter, wrote down accurately, but not in order’. In the greeting at the end of the First Letter of Peter, its author refers to a Mark as his ‘son’, an expression expressing a relationship that was close and trusting (1 Peter 5:13).
If these references to Mark all refer to the same person, then we rejoice that in reading this gospel, we are in touch with one who, though he had not known Jesus personally and was not one of the Twelve called by Jesus, was a member of the Christian movement from the beginning and closely associated with both Paul and Peter.
But we must be cautious: Mark was a common Roman name. Even if he was not the person mentioned above, it would be advantageous for the authority of his gospel to link him with Peter. Petrine authority is argued because of the vividness of narratives such as the cure of Simon’s mother-in-law (1:29-31) and the story of the Gerasene demoniac (5:1-20). Yet other important incidents, such as the Call of the Twelve on the mountain (3:13-19) are surprisingly vague if Peter is reporting. Surely, he would have had more to say about such a day? A good story teller can write a vivid narrative when required. Who then was Mark? We cannot give a certain answer. His identity is part of the ‘mystery of the kingdom of God’ referred to in this gospel (4:11). Whoever he was, we must be grateful to him for a gospel which is not only the earliest, but for many who know it well, also the best.
Fr. Peter Edmonds S.J.
FAITH MATTERS QUESTION TIME: THE CRISIS IN SYRIA: WHAT NEXT?
Thursday June 28th, 7 to 9pm Farm Street Parish Hall.
All are welcome to an informative lively evening on how as Christians we might respond to the tragedy in Syria.
The panel includes:
-Melanie McDonagh (Evening Standard)
-Revd Nadim Nassar (Director, Awareness Foundation)
-John Pontifex (Head of Press and Information, Aid to the Church in Need)
-Fr Martin Newell, CP (Peace activist & campaigner)
Recommended donation: £10 on the door. Online advance booking via www.pathwaystogod.org
STATIONS OF THE CROSS: BOOK LAUNCH
Monday June 18th, 6.30pm
Farm Street Parish Hall
All are welcome to the launch of a new book by Fr James Hanvey S.J., current Master of Campion Hall, with prayers and photographs of the restored Stations of the Cross displayed in Farm Street Church. The event is free and open to all but for catering purposes please contact Scott McCombe at Farmstreetoffice@rcdow.org.uk if you wish to attend.
FRONT RECEPTION VOLUNTEER NEEDED
We urgently need help at the front reception in the evenings between 5pm and 8:30pm on a once a month commitment. Supper provided. Please call Leslie Giltz on 0207 408 1234.
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land from October 9th to October 17th for £1,229 including all excursions.
Pilgrimage to Fatima from November 25th to December 1st including all excursions for £759.
For further information call Mrs Mozzi on 0208 472 0843 or 0785 902 7301
FARM STREET CAMINO
Bookings are open for the Farm Street Camino in the Steps of St Ignatius, walking 200 km in the steps of the founder of the Jesuits through Catalonia, visiting the Shrine of St Peter Claver in Verdú, Igualada, the Abbey of Montserrat and Manresa, followed by a 3-day retreat and visiting the Ignatian sites in Barcelona. September 23rd – October 6th. For more information please speak to Fr Dominic or, to request a brochure and to book, contact Pax Travel direct on (020)-7485-3003; firstname.lastname@example.org For full details visit http://www.paxtravel.co.uk/robinson-fr-dominic