Saturday, 25 April 2020 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great feast day of the Evangelist, St. Mark, one of the Four Holy Evangelists, the writers of the Four Holy Gospels. St. Mark was a great disciple of Christ, and while he was not one of the Twelve Apostles, he was accorded the same honour and respect as the Apostles and he was also the founder of the very important See of Alexandria. Thus St. Mark was considered retroactively as the very first Patriarch of Alexandria, one of the five greatest centres of early Christendom.

And on this day we recall the great deeds of St. Mark in his efforts as one of the followers of Christ, not just in writing the Gospel according to St. Mark, but also in his evangelising and preaching ministry among many of the people, in Alexandria where he would establish the Church there, in Egypt as a whole and in other parts of the world such as in other parts of North Africa and also the Mediterranean, as he also accompanied St. Peter during some of his travels.

This relationship can be seen as part of our first reading today from the Epistle of St. Peter in which St. Peter referred to St. Mark as his ‘son’, alluding to the close Christian relationship that they had between them, and how St. Mark must have been an important companion to at least some of St. Peter’s travels and works. And in that same passage from St. Peter’s Epistle, the Apostle also reminded us all the faithful that we must be filled with virtues and humility, to serve God with all of our strength and to be vigilant against the temptations of evil.

In all of today’s readings therefore, including that of the Gospel in which the Lord Jesus after His resurrection described what His disciples would be sent out to do, and how the Lord would protect them from harm, all of us are reminded now therefore of this calling which God had called us into, the mission that He has shared with us and entrusted to us, which is the mission to save the whole world, to bring God’s salvation to them and to call them to embrace the fullness of His grace.

If God has called St. Mark and the Apostles, the many disciples He had called and chosen, then we must also realise that God has also called all of us, His faithful ones, to be His followers and to do what He desires of us to do in accordance with His will. And this means that we have been entrusted with the same mission which the Lord had given and entrusted to His Apostles and disciples, to go forth to the world and spread His Good News of salvation, and bring all souls to Him.

Are we willing and able to take up this mission that the Lord has entrusted to us? God wants us to follow Him and to contribute to the missions of the Church in whatever way we can. And the Lord had given us many gifts and abilities, talents and opportunities to follow Him and give all these for the sake of His greater glory. But many of us have not been using them properly as we should have, and many of us even abused and misused them for our own selfish purposes.

Today, all of us are called to discern carefully with our lives and our actions. We are called to follow in the footsteps of St. Mark the Evangelist and the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord, in their courageous and devout pursuit of service to God and His people. God has called all of us through our baptism, which we all share, to walk down the path of faith and to be His witnesses and workers, to be faithful to Him and to be inspirations for one another especially during these difficult times.

During these dark and challenging times, we are challenged to be bearers of hope and to be beacons of God’s wonderful light amidst the darkness that have been covering this world. We are now living through particularly difficult and dark times, and we see all around us all forms of sufferings and pains, conflicts and evil. Many among us have fallen into despair and gave in to our fears and uncertainties, our desires and selfishness, resulting in us acting and behaving in ways that often cause hurt and pain upon others.

Are we able to challenge ourselves to overcome these temptations of our desires and pride? Are we able to focus our attention instead on God and on His love and providence, rather than being obsessed and overcome by the pride and ego within us? Let us all spend some time to think about these matters, and let us all be inspired by the faith and the dedication of our holy predecessors that we, too, may follow in their footsteps and do our best to serve the Lord at all times. May God bless us all and our many good endeavours for our faith. May St. Mark intercede for us sinners too before our Lord and Master. Amen.

Saturday, 25 April 2020 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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 2020 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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 2020 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the feast of one of the Holy Evangelists, who wrote the Four Holy Gospels. And today we focus therefore on St. Mark the Evangelist, who wrote the Gospel of St. Mark, and who was also mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as one of those who followed St. Paul in some of his journeys around the Mediterranean sea.

St. Mark wrote his Gospel book with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as well as with the accounts of the Apostles and the disciples, first-hand accounts from all those who have witnessed the actual events recorded in the Gospels and in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Through his works, St. Mark and the other three Evangelists made sure that all of us are also aware of what had happened at that time.

And that is how St. Mark had devoted himself in his effort of evangelisation, as he recorded all the things he saw and experienced throughout those journeys, so that he might be able to pass down the teachings of the Apostles through the recorded works in the Gospels, and later on, the Church would come together and decide what would encompass the body of Scriptures that would eventually become the Holy Scriptures or the Holy Bible.

We might misunderstand or we might not realise the importance and significance of St. Mark’s works, but do you realise that the power of a pen is truly mighty, just as the saying goes, that the power of pen is mightier than the power of swords. Just at the stroke of a pen, countries had gone to war and countless lives have been lost, just at the stroke of a mere pen.

And those were done by the wisdom of men. How much greater and mightier then, if the work was done by God and by His wisdom? Then, it would have ended up in a much greater deed! And that was exactly what happened with St. Mark and his Divine inspired works in the Gospel. Through the sacred treasure of the Word of God, compiled together as the Bible, the Church has spread the words of the Good News and salvation far and wide to many people.

And that was exactly what we have heard in our Gospel passage today. The Lord Jesus, just before He ascended into heaven and left this world, gave His disciples a final commandment, one that is still the command that He gives His Church to this very day, the obligation which He gave to His Church and to all of us as Christians. What is this obligation? It is the command that all of us should go forth to all the nations and preach the Good News of God’s salvation to all.

St. Mark has done his part, by doing such a great service to the Church and to countless faithful ones through his writing of the Holy Gospel, the one attributed to him. Many people have believed in God through what he had written, and many turned to Him and repented because of what they have read from the accounts of the life of Christ, the Saviour of the world in that Gospel.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our turn to do our part, to follow in the footsteps of the Lord, in doing whatever we can, to be the bearers of the truth of God and His Good News to the people of many nations. And how can we do this? It is by living our faith seriously and with commitment, devoting ourselves and our entire lives to God, by doing His will, and by practicing our faith with real and concrete action, that we truly live up to our Christian obligations.

Let us all do this, brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us do our best and spend time and effort to develop ourselves in faith further and deepen our spirituality and relationship with God. Let us all follow in the footsteps of St. Mark the Evangelist, that we may, in our own way, be it through words, or actions, or through our works and writings even, as the Evangelist had done, or both, or all, we may bring more and more souls closer to God. May God bless us all and our endeavours. Amen.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 : Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
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.