Peter’s Kiss

Feast of Saint Mark, evangelist

April 25, 2020

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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate Saint Mark the Evangelist.

Pordenone: M‡rk evangelista
Mark the Evangelist by Il Pordenone (c. 1484-1539)

Who exactly that person was hides in the mists of early Church history. Several possible “Marks” are mentioned at various points in the New Testament. Whether they are the same or different persons and which, if any, is the author of Mark’s Gospel are questions scripture detectives have chased for centuries.

What the readings offer us today is a young man whom Peter loved and who absorbed the Good News under Peter’s own tutelage.

In today’s passage from Acts, Peter writes to Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor at the time of the persecutions. His teaching is clearly that of the universal leader of the Church helping the scattered flock to hold on to the faith.

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.

It isn’t hard to read these ancient words and imagine Pope Francis speaking them to all of us across the empty reaches of St. Peter’s Square. The suffering of the pandemic tests our faith and resolve. It too is a crucible which can either deepen or fracture our relationship with God.

Peter’s assurance can strengthen us:
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.

Mark, who sat at the feet of Peter’s strong and loving leadership, himself went on to become a devoted leader of Christ’s flock. How Mark must have cherished Peter’s brave and tender words to the young suffering Church and harkened back to them so often over the course of his life:

The chosen one (early Christian code for “the whole Church”)
sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son.

Greet one another with a loving kiss.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

1Peter5_14 kiss

That gracious “kiss” from Peter carried the the love and power of every Christian, just as we carry it today in our constant prayer for and encouragement of one another.

Music: He Will Make You Strong – hymn based on 1 Peter

4 thoughts on “Peter’s Kiss

  1. I wonder if the Scripture detectives will ever it the mark. If anyone should know whether the Evangelist was Peter’s companion and secretary, it would be an early Church Father. But there might not be an extant document of theirs pertaining to this matter since most of the early Church writings were tragically destroyed by the Romans during the persecutions. Thanks again for another thoughtful post. You certainly hit the mark!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks, Renee. But reading your posts as often as I can is why I’m following your blog. It’s amazing how much well laid out content with depth and insight you can put out on a daily basis. You’re a prolific writer. Have you ever published a book or considered publishing one? Your posts are short but, because of their depth, there’s so much room for expansion. One page for each of the sets of daily Mass Readings should comprise the right volume of a book for Catholics in need of regular spiritual direction. You’ve got all the material you need to get started in your archive. I pray God’s will be done if it’s His will for you. Too many Catholics have left the Church or don’t practice the faith because God is alienated in their lives. John stressed the love God has for us and the love we should have for each other in his Epistles. It’s God’s love that draws us to Him and helps us to be faithful. Your blog is a Divine instrument for drawing people to God who is love made visible in Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

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