The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, also known as John Mark (Acts 12:12), was one of the Seventy Apostles, and also the nephew of St. Barnabas. He was born in Jerusalem. The house of his mother Mary adjoined the Garden of Gethsemane. After the Ascension of the Lord, the mouse of his mother Mary became a place where Christians gathered, and a place of lodging for some of the Apostles (Acts 12:12). St. Mark was a very close companion of the Apostles Peter and Paul and Barnabas. St. Mark was at Seleucia with Paul and Barnabas, and from there he set off to the island of Cyprus, and he traversed the whole of it from east to west. In the city of Paphos, St. Mark witnessed the blinding of the sorcerer Elymas by St. Paul (Acts 13: 6-12). After working with the Apostle Paul, St. Mark returned to Jerusalem, and then went to Rome with the Apostle Peter. From there, he set out for Egypt, where he established a local Church. Finally, he founded the Church of Alexandria.
You became an apostle to Christ through the teaching of Peter, and you traveled like the sun over foreign lands. You fathered the Alexandrians in Christ, O blessed saint, and, by you, Egypt was set free from her mistakes. You guide us all like a beacon, O Mark, voice of God. You are a pillar of the Church by your gospel teaching. We rejoice in this and keep your memory. Intercede with God, who proclaims the Gospel through you, to forgive us our many sins.
Receiving the grace of the Spirit from heaven, you silenced the babble of the orators, O apostle. You attracted the pagans by preaching of the Gospel and led them to your Master, O blessed Mark.
1st Peter 5: 6-14
Brothers and sisters: Bow humbly under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time he may lift you high. Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you. Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith, realizing that the brotherhood of believers is undergoing the same sufferings throughout the world. The God of all grace, who called you to his everlasting glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish those who have suffered a little while. Dominion be his throughout the ages! Amen.
I am writing briefly through Silvanus, whom I take to be a faithful brother to you. Herewith are expressed my encouragement and my testimony that this is the true grace of God. Be steadfast in it. The church that is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greeting, as does Mark my son. Greet one another with the embrace of true love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Mark 6: 7-13
At that time Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two, giving them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing on the journey but a walking stick–no food, no traveling bag, not a coin in the purse in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals. “Do not bring a second tunic,” he said, and added: “Whatever house you find yourself in, stay there until you leave the locality. If any place will not receive you or hear you, shake your dust from your feet in testimony against them as you leave.” With that they went off, preaching the need of repentance. They expelled many demons, anointed the sick with oil, and worked many cures.
Acts 8: 5-17
In those days, Philip went down to the town of Samaria and there proclaimed the Messiah. Without exception, the crowds that heard Philip and saw the miracles he performed attended closely to what he had to say. There were many who had unclean spirits, which came out shrieking loudly. Many others were paralytics or cripples, and these were cured. The rejoicing in that town rose to fever pitch.
A certain man named Simon had been practicing magic in the town and holding the Samaritans spellbound. He passed himself off as someone of great importance. People from every rank of society were paying attention to him. “He is the power of the great God,” they said. Those who followed him had been under the spell of his magic over a long period; but once they began to believe in the good news that Philip preached about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women alike accepted baptism. Even Simon believed. He was baptized like the rest and became a devoted follower of Philip. He watched the signs and the great miracles as they occurred, and was quite carried away.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down to these people and prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit. It had not as yet come down upon any of them since they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The pair upon arriving imposed hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
John 6: 27-33
At that time Jesus said to the people coming to him, “You should not be working for perishable food but for food that remains unto life eternal, food which the Son of Man will give you; it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” At this they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus replied: “This is the work of God: have faith in the One whom he sent.”
They asked him, “So that we can put faith in you, what sign are you going to perform for us to see? What is the ‘work’ you do? Our ancestors had manna to eat in the desert; according to Scripture, ‘He gave them bread from heavens to eat.’”
Jesus said to them: “I solemnly assure you, it was not Moses who gave you bread from the heavens; it is my Father who gives the real heavenly bread. God’s bread comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, April 24 –