Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

Fighting Words

            Today we celebrate the feast of St. Mark. St. Mark is one of the four evangelists, writing one of the four gospels. Mark probably worked with St. Peter, and so his gospel is probably filled with Peter's account of Jesus' life. Mark also wrote the shortest of the gospels. It's worth noting two items about St. Mark's Gospel. The first is that little of Jesus' teaching is contained in this gospel; instead, it is filled with Jesus' actions. The word “immediately” is used over and over again, indicating that Jesus moved from one event to the next. While we should listen to Jesus' words and teaching found throughout all of the gospels, the scarcity of Jesus' teaching in St. Mark's Gospel reminds us that what is most important is what Jesus has done for us, particularly His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

            The second point plays into the first, which is that Mark begins the gospel with these seemingly innocuous words: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” We think that maybe that's a nice thing to say, but when Mark wrote this, those were fighting words. These were words challenging the status quo. Caesar was considered to be the son of God, so to claim Jesus as the Son of God was a challenge to Caesar's authority and power. A gospel—a message of good news—was announced after a great military victory; again, to claim this to be a gospel challenges to reigning power of that day. Mark is proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, of what Christ has done for us, namely that victory has been won by Christ over our enemies of sin, death, and the devil. Jesus has fought for us and has conquered, and therefore, we are to give our lives to Jesus Christ. Allow Jesus to upset the status quo of our lives now. Jesus Christ is Lord, meaning that nothing, absolutely nothing else, should be the lord of our lives. May we always, like St. Mark, proclaim Jesus as Lord.


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