Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the feast of one of the four great writers of the Holy Gospels, the accounts of the life and the works of our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Mark was one of the Evangelists, those whose accounts had been deemed by the Church and the by the Apostles and their successors to be true and free of error version of the life of the Lord.
St. Mark, like St. Luke, was not one of the Apostles of the Lord, unlike St. Matthew and St. John, both of whom also wrote their own Gospels. But all four of them were those who were very close to the Lord and had extensive knowledge of what happened during the time of Jesus and His life on earth, from His birth and His years of life, to the time of His ministry and eventually suffering and death on the cross. And they also witnessed the resurrection of the Lord and all other things He had done.
On this day, let us all place our attention to what the Lord had helped to assemble through His Church, a set of witnesses and proofs which His servants had gathered and kept for many centuries and ages, the passages from the history of the Lord’s salvation, and also through the traditions passed down from generations to generations, which we now know as the Bible or the Holy Scriptures.
In the Gospel today, the Lord Jesus gave His disciples one last and important command before He ascended into His heavenly glory. He commanded them to go forth to all the nations, to peoples from all the four corners of the world, to travel to the furthest and uttermost distant land to preach the Good News and the truth of God to all, so that all may come to be reconciled with God, and may seek to be baptised and sealed by the sacrament of baptism in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
That was why the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord went to faraway lands, to all parts of the Roman Empire and also to the land of the Persians, to India and beyond, carrying with them the testimonies of the faith as they had received from the Lord, and which the Holy Spirit affirmed in them, by the divine wisdom granted and provided to them. They laboured hard and showed the Lord’s teachings through their actions, and converted many people to the faith.
The Evangelists like St. Mark also did their part in fulfilling the will of God, by writing down upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, of the account of the life and the works of Jesus, noting down all that He had done in the midst of the people, as attested and witnessed by all those to whom the Lord had shown His deeds and taught His ways. In that way, the venerable testimonies of the faith and traditions will not be forgotten, as they were written and recorded in the Gospels and the Scriptures.
Now, let us heed what we heard from St. Peter in his first Epistle, our first reading today. In his Epistle, St. Peter spoke of the need for us all to be ever vigilant, against the assaults from the devil, our great enemy, who is always ever ready to strike at us whenever we are unprepared and not ready, and whenever he sees an opportunity to bring us down, just as he struck down our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, by the means of false promises, lies and sweet temptations.
The devil has many allies in this world, all of whom are evil spirits, or those affected by the evil spirits, who are then working together trying to claim our souls from the Lord, by bringing us to our downfall, by causing us to sin before God and men alike. This is what St. Peter warned all the people to whom he was writing to, and that is what all of us need to heed and pay attention to as well.
Therefore, how do we then prepare ourselves? How do we then remain vigilant? It is something that surely all of us will be asking. First of all, we must be committed in our faith, and we cannot be lukewarm in living our faith. Our actions must reflect what we believe, and our faith in God must be the foundation and reason for our actions in life, or else we will end up being easily shaken when temptation and challenges come on our way.
We have to know what our faith is about, and the best way to do it is to read what the holy saints and Evangelists had written in the Scriptures and in the Holy Gospels. Let us ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ, whether our answers to the following questions are yes or no. For it is important that we must reflect on how we have lived our faith life thus far.
Have we spent at least some time each day to read the words of the Lord, the history of our salvation, and trying to understand just how much the Lord loves each and every one of us by reading the Scriptures? Have we spent some time amidst our busy life schedules and worldly commitments to take a step back, and remember about the Lord? Have we spent more hours worrying about what to do tomorrow, about what we are to gain tomorrow, than remembering the Lord and knowing just how fortunate it is that we can continue living each and every day by the grace of God?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us need to become stronger in our faith, and the best way to begin is by familiarising ourselves with the word of God found in the Scriptures, particularly in the Gospels where the account of how the Lord gave us His salvation through Christ had been written for our sake. Now that we have access to the truth, should we now then go and actually spend time reading the word of God?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, may all of us draw more closely to the Lord, and deepen our relationship with Him. May all of us grow stronger in our faith, and in all the things we say and do, let us all reflect the faith which we have in the Lord, and let us act in the same way as what the Apostles and the saints of the past had done before us. May God bless us all. St. Mark the Evangelist, holy and devoted saint of God, pray for us. Amen.