A Year of Mark
The new Church year begins on December 3rd with the First Sunday of Advent. Advent begins with a new series of Readings and the Gospel of Mark, which has been called the “gospel of surprises”. Mark does not begin with the birth of Jesus like the other evangelists. The first words we read from Jesus he speaks of the time of fulfilment (1:15) and then he sets out on his ministry, gathering his first disciples and then he goes straight to work. There seems to be urgency in Mark’s gospel as Jesus moves quickly from place to place with more action than words.
The Gospel of Mark
This gospel is the shortest and thought to be the oldest with many theologians believing it is written from direct stories told by Peter. It is believed to have been written in Rome around the year 70 A.D. almost 40 years after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. This community was certainly in a crisis. The Lord had not yet returned as they thought he would. Jerusalem was under attack and the pressure in Rome was great. The Christians had been telling stories of Jesus over the years and they felt it was necessary to write them down.
Throughout this next year we will hear Mark’s version of Jesus in the Sunday Mass. It is helpful to prepare for Mass by studying the selected texts. It’s always interesting to see how it is explained in the sermon. However, the best way to study this Gospel is to follow Mark’s story from the beginning to the end by reading it at home. Notice the emotions of Jesus and how Mark portrays him in all his glory. Find a story that speaks to you and do some research. I enjoy the story of the Woman with a Hemorrhage. It’s an example of Mark’s “sandwich technique” where he interrupts one story to tell another and then returns to the former story. My research led me to a better understanding for the struggle of women in those times and the faith people had in Jesus. Jesus not only heard their needs, he felt it and answered. Let these stories work inside of you and then go out and proclaim the Gospel of the Lord.