Today we celebrate St. Mark the Evangelist, author of the Gospel according to Mark. I have always loved Mark’s gospel. His writing is so succinct that you have to run to keep up. He gives very little detail at times, leaving the reader to use their imagination. Mark feels like the Gospel for the 21st century: quick snippets that you have to catch before they are gone.
What’s funny about celebrating Mark is that he is the same Mark who bails out on Paul in the book of Acts. Paul, Barnabus and Mark were to go on a missionary journey, but Mark decided not to go. Paul was so upset that he refused to travel with Mark on the next trip. They eventually made up, but Mark is always that guy who turned his back on a missionary journey with Paul and Barnabus.
What I appreciate about this flaw is that Mark gives us all permission to be human, something we do not always give to ourselves. We are a people who strive to be good Christians, to use the gifts God has given us. When we fail, we beat ourselves up and wallow in guilt. We can take more time to forgive ourselves than we take to forgive others. And we see all our flaws with a magnifying glass – we know our failures better than anyone.
How perfect is it then that we get the gospel lesson for today? Mark, the guy who bailed on a missionary journey, writes about Jesus’ commission to share the good news. Mark’s inclusion of this text shows both his humility and his redemption. If an abandoner of mission can be “Mark the Evangelist” and can write one of the four gospels about Jesus Christ, then there must be plenty of redemption for all of us.
When we were potty-training our daughter, we watched a Sesame Street video about potty training. One of her favorite parts was a song by Elmo and Grover. The chorus goes, “Accidents happen and that’s okay.” Just the other day, I caught my daughter doing something she wasn’t supposed to. When caught, she looked at me and said, “Accidents happen Mommy, and that’s okay.” She took a lesson about using the potty and could make it a much larger concept about forgiveness and redemption. If only we could do the same! Amen.