Tuesday 2nd Week of Easter
Feast of St. Mark
1 Peter 5:5-14; Mark 16:15-20
The passage from the Gospel of Saint Mark we have just heard is considered by modern exegetes to be an appendix, written by some unknown inspired author who considered Mark’s orgi9nal ending too abrupt or even ambiguous. The last words of the original ending portrayed the women to whom the angel appeared as so overcome by “fear and terror“, as Mark states: ”they fled from the tomb and said nothing to anyone.”
There soon was dissatisfaction with this short ending of Marks’ version and this truncated version was supplemented by other authors. Today’s text is taken from the supplement, which is also inspired by the Holy Spirit although probably not written by Mark himself. The text we have just hear is a major witness, nonetheless, to the fact that, after his Resurrection, Jesus certainly gave his apostles the power to forgive sins. In this version Peter is not explicitly named as he is in other version, although he is included among the eleven who are recipients of this power which they came to understand they were to pass on to their successors.
Saint Mark was a relative of Barnabas who had formed a close personal bond with him, recognizing his gifts of nature and grace. He was a man of very real talent in more fields than one, He not only wrote a Gospel that remains one of the four acknowledged by the Church as inspired by the Holy Spirit, but also served as an assistant apostle. He was a man of strong opinions who went his own way, at times, a characteristic that was the occasion of Barnabas defending him against Paul and , since Paul was not one to compromise caused Barnabas and Mark to separate from Paul and preach on the Island of Cyprus.
For a time there was some tension between Paul and Mark’s cousin Barnabas so the two cousins went their separate way for a time. Before long though. Paul, appreciating the high qualities of Mark, when imprisoned entrusted Mark with important services. Saint Peter as well held Mark in high esteem, for in his first letter he speaks of him as “my son.” It is a witness to the love of Christ for his followers that in spite of human differences a profound unity in spreading the Gospel prevailed in the end.