Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
On the feast of Saint Mark
These signs will accompany those who believe. (Mark 16:17)
The New Testament includes several references to the Mark whom Peter mentions in today’s first reading. Also known as John Mark, he was the cousin of Barnabas, whom he accompanied, along with Paul, on their first missionary journey. Later, he worked closely with Peter in Rome and became his trusted companion. Tradition tells us that Mark evangelized in Alexandria, and some believe he was the young man in Gethsemane who ran away naked from the soldiers (Mark 14:51-52). Finally, he is revered as the author of the Gospel that bears his name.
When we read the words of Jesus preserved in Mark’s Gospel, we get a sense that Mark saw some of the “signs” that accompany those who believe (Mark 16:17). After all, he helped spread Christianity both by his writing and by the missionary work he shared with some of the most renowned preachers of his day. Casting out demons, healing the sick, speaking in new tongues, being unharmed when picking up snakes or drinking poison—these spectacular feats seemed to have been common in the early Church.
Instead of focusing on Jesus’ lengthier sermons, which we find in the other Gospels, Mark pays more attention to Jesus’ power over sickness and evil. Then, as today’s reading shows, he makes it clear that the miracles are not supposed to stop with Jesus. Mark expected that Christians of all eras would work wonders in order to bring people to faith.
That includes you! The Holy Spirit is more than capable of working in your life and making you into a living testimony to the kingdom of God. Remember: miracles are not relics of the past; they are meant for every age and every situation. It may be hard to expect healings or spectacular signs when we pray or share the gospel, but that’s what faith is all about. Keep on believing that God wants to manifest his kingdom through you. Ask the Spirit to deepen your confidence. Ask him for the assurance that he really can make you an instrument of his grace.
“Holy Spirit, use me to bring God’s kingdom into the world. Help me to expect great things from you. Lord, I want to proclaim your good news!”
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Bendigo - Victoria