1 Peter 5:5b-14
Mark’s gospel is the oldest and the shortest of the four gospels. It was probably written in Rome for a Gentile community of converts. Of the four gospels Mark’s is a manifestation of the "scandal" of a Crucified Messiah. It is fitting that Mark is represented as a winged lion. The roar of the lion was so loud, all shuttered at the sound.
Mark’s gospel is divided into three parts. Chapters 1-8, no one seems to understand the true identity of Jesus, not even his disciples. Chapters 9-15, true discipleship constitutes service to others. The ultimate example of service to others is Jesus who dies for his people. Chapter 16, Jesus’ death is not the end of the story. The disciples of Jesus are challenged to follow his example and are imbued with the Spirit of Jesus to serve those to whom they are sent.
Mark’s gospel gives a very human portrait of Jesus. In it, Jesus is able to be "sharp." In Capernaum Jesus rebukes the spirit possessing a man in the synagogue (1:25). Jesus is capable of grief and anger. After healing the man with a withered hand, Jesus is upset with those who criticized Him for healing on the Sabbath (3:5). He is indignant when the disciples try to prevent the mothers from bringing their children to him (10:14). At the same time Mark shows the sensitive Jesus, who after curing the daughter of Jairus tells her family the little girl should be "given something to eat." (5:43). When Jesus meets the rich, young man who asks to follow Jesus. Jesus looks at him and "loves him." (10:20).
Trust is the heart of discipleship for Mark. Jesus could give sight to someone who was blind, but could not give insight to his disciples about his mission as a Crucified and Suffering Savior. It is service to others that the disciples take up the cup and cross of suffering and attain the glory of his Resurrection.
Fr. Kenneth O’Malley, C.P. is the director of Formation and local superior at Holy Name Passionist Community in Houston, Texas.