1 Peter 5:5b-14
The Easter Season is filled with stories of vitality and growth of the early Christian community. Earlier this week, we heard of Philip. Yesterday we heard of the dramatic turn of events in the life of Saul. And today, we celebrate the evangelist, Mark.
Tradition has it that Mark accompanied Peter to Rome where he also met Paul and faithfully put Peter’s teaching into writing. What a gift Mark has been to the Church! The Gospel according to Mark was the first Gospel written; it is also the shortest one. Mark doesn’t say anything about the birth of Jesus and the years he spent in Nazareth. If we look carefully at the last paragraph of the gospel (Mk 16:9-20), we will be surprised to see that Mark’s early text concludes with the discovery of the empty tomb and it doesn’t mention the appearances of the risen Jesus.
Probably, Mark’s intention behind writing the gospel was to give to the believers the essence of what Jesus had said and done. It is now up to the evangelizer, us, to give witness to the resurrection and proclaim Jesus Christ as savior, beginning with the scandal of the cross.
The stories of people and events that we read from the Acts during the Easter season unfolds for us the dynamism and vitality with which the early Christian community were filled with a sense of mission: “Go and proclaim.” In as much as we are filled with joy listening to or reading these stories, they are also an invitation and a challenge to us in our own times.
The Easter season continues to remind us of our own mission. We recalled and celebrated our Baptismal call as God’s children at Easter. Being a Passionist Priest is for me a ‘call within the call’. Being a parent, spouse, daughter, son, friend, neighbor, colleague – these are all ‘call within the call’. Each day the ‘call’ keeps coming. Just imagine if the disciples or Saul or even Mark had not responded to the call…
We cannot keep our experience of the risen Lord to ourselves. The commission of Jesus to the disciples at the end of Mark’s gospel is the invitation for us to “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.”
Fr. Bruno D’Souza, CP, is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.