Evangelization’s Accompanying Signs, Feast of St. Mark, April 25, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Church of the Holy Family, New York, NY
Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist
April 25, 2015
1 Pet 5:5-14, Ps 89, Mk 16:15-20



Today’s homily was not recorded. The following points were pondered:

  • Today we celebrate the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, whom Scriptural evidence and early Church tradition say was the son whose house was often used for the meetings of the early Church (Acts 12), whose uncle was Barnabas, who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their initial apostolic journeys and who eventually became St. Peter’s companion and secretary, as we see in St. Peter’s mentioning him in today’s first reading from “Babylon,” an ancient Jewish symbolic word for Rome.
  • The Gospel for his feast day, taken from the end of his account of Jesus’ life, is a reminder for us that each of us, like St. Mark, is supposed to be an evangelist. With what we say and even what we write, we’re called to announce Jesus. He finishes his Gospel with what St. Peter remembered: Jesus’ words, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” This is a command that Jesus gives us all. Jesus promises us in his earthly valedictory that as we go he will accompany us just like he accompanied his first followers with the power of his presence and his words. St. Mark stresses that Jesus says “These signs will accompany those who believe” and later summarizes that after Jesus was taken up to heaven, “They went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.” The signs Jesus indicated was driving out demons, speaking new languages, healing the sick, not being afraid of serpents and poisons.
  • The same Jesus continues to accompany us, but we need to ask why we don’t often see the “accompanying signs” like we saw throughout St. Mark’s Gospel and then in St. Luke’s account of the Acts of the Apostles? Is it because the signs had an expiration date? No. I think one of the reasons is because we’re not really proclaiming the Gospel as it deserves to be proclaimed, as a matter of which we’re staking our whole life, as something we believe with one-hundred percent of our heart, mind, soul and strength, as the greatest gift we could ever give to any other human being. We’ve seen in the lives of so many saints that they have, in this life and in the next, been instruments through whom God has worked some great miracles. He does accompany their preaching of the Gospel by the witness of their lives! We’ve seen that the Lord continues to work exorcisms (the internet is full of incontestable examples) and miracles of healings (every saint needs at least two) and we hear all the time stories of people who should have died but didn’t. God continues to accompany and I am convinced that the signs will grow the more the true proclamation of Jesus takes place. This means not just the facts about Jesus, as if he were just an important figure from the past, but the living presence Jesus now with all his power to save. The more people get that Jesus who is very much alive, the more they’re able to respond with faith, and the more mountains will move on account of that faith.
  • Today as we come forward on St. Mark’s feast day, we ponder that he (with St. Matthew and St. Luke) recorded for us the account of the Last Supper, which is not only the greatest of all miracles that happens in the world but also the source of Jesus’ continued accompanying presence. As we approach to receive that same Jesus whom St. Mark received in the Masses celebrated by St. Peter, we ask him to intercede for us that we will use all of our skills to speak about Jesus, to write about Jesus, and to witness to Jesus by a holy life, so that others, through us, may come to experience the same “Power and wisdom” we sung about in the Alleluia verse!

The readings for today’s Mass were:

Reading 1 1 Pt 5:5b-14

Clothe yourselves with humility
in your dealings with one another, for:God opposes the proud
but bestows favor on the humble.

So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time.
Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.

Be sober and vigilant.
Your opponent the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, steadfast in faith,
knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world
undergo the same sufferings.
The God of all grace
who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you
after you have suffered a little.
To him be dominion forever. Amen.

I write you this briefly through Silvanus,
whom I consider a faithful brother,
exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God.
Remain firm in it.
The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son.
Greet one another with a loving kiss.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Responsorial Psalm PS 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17

R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
The heavens proclaim your wonders, O LORD,
and your faithfulness, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can rank with the LORD?
Who is like the LORD among the sons of God?
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel 1 Cor 1:23a-24b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We proclaim Christ crucified;
he is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 16:15-20

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”Then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.