Saturday, 25 April 2015 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red (Apostles and Evangelists)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast day of one of the Four Great Evangelists, the four writers of the Holy Gospels. Today is the feast of St. Mark, one of the important Apostles of Jesus, who went with St. Paul in his travels of preaching the faith, and eventually founded the See of Alexandria in Egypt, now known as the Patriarchate of Alexandria, which can trace their founding from St. Mark himself.
The significance of this day cannot be separated from what we heard from the Gospel, which highlighted the very important mission which Christ had placed on our shoulders, which He entrusted to all those who have placed their trust in Him. This mission is for us to preach the Good News to all the peoples all around the world, all the way to the ends of the earth.

This mission calls us to evangelise the Gospels to those who have yet to hear the Word of God and the Good News, so that all of them may hear them and be saved as well. We cannot deny this mission nor can we ignore it, for it is this mission has been entrusted to all of us who have been baptised in the Name of our Lord. And this mission continues even to this day, as all of us still have the need to proclaim the word of God’s salvation to all the peoples.

Had the Apostles kept to themselves and did not proclaim the salvation in Jesus Christ because they were afraid of all those who were out to persecute them, then there would have been no Church, and at least not the Church that we know of and are accustomed to. All of the greatness of the Church, in terms of its reach and works, are all possible because of the courageous acts and deeds of the Holy Apostles and disciples who braved even death and destruction to bring about salvation to all peoples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all called to walk in the footsteps of the Apostles and all the holy saints, that we may also be able to carry the cross of Christ, by becoming His mouthpiece and witnesses to all the nations. Now the question is if we are ready to bear that cross and do what we are expected to do as the members of God’s Church and as the partakers of the Lord’s work of mercy and salvation of all mankind.

St. Mark had written all these testimonies, so that all of us may be aware of what our faith truly is, and how we ought to live it out faithfully and not just with empty proclamations. Therefore, similarly, we too should also heed it through real and concrete actions, to show that we truly belong to the Lord our God. As in our first reading today, St. Peter exhorted the faithful to don the vest of humility as part of their lives, and be sober and alert against the temptations and corruptions of the devil. This shows us that we must indeed be devoted to the Lord via real and genuine love, and not just with empty faith.

There are many temptations in this world, brothers and sisters, and very often, these have taken their toll on us, by turning us in rebellion against God and by turning our hearts and eyes away from His truth and His ways, and we rather follow our own way. This is the great trouble that is facing our world today, and there is something indeed which we can do in order to make it better.

Can we make use of this great opportunity, which God offers us daily, so that we may wholeheartedly change our ways and abandon our ways of sin and disobedience, and become better disciples of our Lord. Remember, brethren, that people will likely only believe in us and in whatever we preach to them, if we have practiced what we preached in our own actions and deeds.

May Almighty God give us courage and strength, the wisdom and the eloquence of speech, as well as a faithful heart and devoted mind, so that we may, by our examples, lead many more people and save more souls through the same salvation which our Lord Jesus Christ offered us freely for our forgiveness. God bless us all and may He help to keep us safe. Amen.

Saturday, 25 April 2015 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red (Apostles and Evangelists)

Mark 16 : 15-20
At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptised will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned.”

“Signs like these will accompany those who have believed : in My Name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes, and if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
So then, after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and took His place at the right hand of God. The Eleven went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Saturday, 25 April 2015 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red (Apostles and Evangelists)

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 6-7, 16-17

I will sing forever, o Lord, of Your love and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

The heavens proclaim Your wonders, o Lord; the assembly of the holy ones recalls Your faithfulness. Who in the skies can compare with the Lord; who of the heaven born is like Him?

Blessed is the people who know Your praise. They walk in the light of Your face. They celebrate all day Your Name and Your protection lifts them up.

Saturday, 25 April 2015 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red (Apostles and Evangelists)

1 Peter 5 : 5b-14

All of you must clothe yourself with humility in your dealings with one another, because God opposes the proud but gives His grace to the humble. Bow down, then, before the power of God so that He will raise you up at the appointed time. Place all your worries on Him since He takes care of you.

Be sober and alert because your enemy the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Stand your ground, firm in your faith, knowing that our brothers and sisters, scattered throughout the world, are confronting similar sufferings.

God, the giver of all grace, has called you to share in Christ’s eternal Glory and after you have suffered a little He will bring you to perfection : He will confirm, strengthen and establish you forever. Glory be to Him forever and ever. Amen.

I have had these few lines of encouragement written to you by Silvanus, our brother, whom I know to be trustworthy. For I wanted to remind you of the kindness of God really present in all this. Hold on to it. Greetings from the community in Babylon, gathered by God, and from my son, Mark. Greet one another with a friendly embrace. Peace to you all who are in Christ.

Historic visit by Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Tawadros II to the Pope of the Church, Pope Francis

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Pope Tawadros II (Theodore II) of Alexandria, the head of the Coptic Church, Successor of St. Mark the Evangelist, first Bishop of Alexandria, is visiting Rome to pay a visit to the Pope and Supreme leader of the Universal Church and Successor of St. Peter the Prince of the Apostles, Pope Francis.

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The Coptic Church is the direct descendant of the Patriarchate of Alexandria of the early Christian Pentarchy (Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem), which broke apart from Rome and the Universal Church due to the disagreement in the Council of Chalcedon of 451, on the true nature of Christ.

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This disagreement is more due to misunderstanding in the nature of God, whether Christ’s human and divine persona is distinct or mixed. The initial term for non-Chalcedonians is monophysites, which is a heresy stating that both persona are mixed and indistinguishable. In fact, the Coptics and the other non-Chalcedonians in fact adopt miaphysitism, which while distinguishing the human and divine nature of Christ, but also acknowledge the mystery of the relationship between the two persona.

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Pope Tawadros II visits Rome in conjunction with the historic first meeting between the two Popes of Rome and Alexandria in 1973 by Pope Shenouda III, Pope Tawadros II’s predecessor, and Pope Paul VI. During that meeting a historic joint declaration of faith and friendship was announced and declared between the two Churches of God.

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Pope Francis received a gift of an engolpion, which is a form of imagery in medallion, which is worn in the same way as pectoral cross, which are worn by the bishops of the Eastern Rite.

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We hope that all Christians, with the Copts and the Orthodox Churches can be reunited once again with the true and only Church, that is the Church of God, as one Body, indivisible by men and worldly ambitions, in the One, Holy, Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

 

Pray always for Christian Unity. That we are One, just as Christ our Lord and the Father in heaven are One.

 

Ut Omnes Unum Sint, ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam

(That they all may be One, for the greater glory of God)