1 Peter 5: 5b-14
Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for
“God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.”
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
Through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, I have written this short letter to encourage you and to testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. Your sister church in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Psalm 89: 1-2, 5-6, 15-16
I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.
Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
they exult in your name all day long,
and extol[d] your righteousness.
Mark 16: 15-20
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.
The Easter season provides us with a beautiful opportunity to meditate deeply on the Paschal Mystery – the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus – and reflect on God’s work throughout. Today on this Feast of St. Mark, we look at the journey of the disciples and how their participation in the Paschal Mystery led to their own spiritual death and resurrection, as well as the birth of the Church.
St. Mark was not one of the original Twelve, though it is believed he was one of the first 70 disciples that Jesus sent out during His ministry on Earth. We do know that the faith of Jesus’ followers was tested severely during His Passion. Most of them failed in one way or another to stand by the Lord during this time. After His death they were crippled with fear, and even doubted after eyewitnesses had told of the Resurrection. While the Lord was doing a great work in them, they were suffering, and their faith was challenged in many respects. But this spiritual death for them led to a greater maturity of their faith, and an openness to receiving the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended to the Father. While the Lord was no longer physically present with them, the disciples’ faith and power was greater because they knew He was still working with them. By journeying with Jesus through His death and resurrection, the Church also saw new life and then experienced tremendous growth.
The reading from St. Peter’s letter today confirms that even though the Lord’s followers may have to suffer for a time, just as the Lord’s suffering and death was not in vain, our own suffering can lead to restoration, strengthening, and even new life if we unite it with the Lord’s. Having experienced this firsthand, St. Peter (who was a close friend of St. Mark) encourages us to cling to the Lord, to cast our cares upon Him and to guard our faith stubbornly, even in times of testing.
Reflect today on the ways you may have “died,” throughout your life and ask the Lord to show you where there has been resurrection in that death or how to prepare you for the resurrection He has planned. Cast all your cares on Him today and, if your faith is struggling now, trust that you are not alone in your suffering and that the Lord has a plan for new life for you.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the gift of your Death and Resurrection. May I see my life in light of the Paschal Mystery, unite any sufferings I endure to your Cross, and trust that your ultimate plan for me is for blessings and rebirth, both in this life and the next. Amen.