On this celebration of the feast of the youngest of the evangelists and of the disciples, there are two lessons we can glean from the life of this man. It is surprising because his writings are minimal and his life is somewhat hidden when compared to the likes of Peter, Paul, John, Matthew and Luke -- leading figures in the earliest days of the Church.
1.) In the first reading there is a call for simplicity and humility. These may well be two words that both frighten and challenge contemporary humanity. Perhaps the reason for these feelings is that the true meaning of the two words is misunderstood. Contemporary people can live a decent life, an enjoyable life at the same time living simply and humbly. Our culture calls for excess most of the time. This is the real challenge to us today. Just for a moment consider all that each of us has. Look around your home, for example. How much excess to we store there? Why is the self-storage business booming. Homes I have visited, including my own rooms where I live, have closets and boxes filled with "things" or "stuff" I should really give away or trash. A friend of mine says to me time and again: "I have so much here in the house. When I die perhaps someone might ask for one or two "mementos." The rest ... well, I should get rid of them!" My response. "Yes! And I know that I should do the same!" What we know about St. Mark is that he was not a man shackled by possessions.
What we should consider is this: What we truly need, we need. What we "treasure" but do not need is little more than a weight thrust upon us. It is belongings that demand time and effort but give little results in our daily lives.
2.) Mark also taught us what all of us proclaim every year in the Easter season. What is that? That I will proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. What does this mean for us today? We should live what we promise when we recite the Creed every Sunday. We are, all of us, in one way or another, called to profess our faith in Jesus Christ and to live our lives in conformity with the Commandments and the laws of our Church.
Am I comfortable in saying, "Yes, I believe. Yes, I do live a life that gives others signals that I endeavor each day to follow the calling of Jesus to me. Do I offer to others the example of what a good Christian is called to be? Do I realize that sometimes "humility" does mean speaking out about my faith or what my Church teaches? Humility does not mean that I play humble bee and hide in the corner when the "going gets tough." Humility does mean that, when challenged, I am not afraid to speak what I promise to speak.
Each of us can easily be an evangelist today. Opportunities abound. Simply ask "Where can I bring the message of my friend, Jesus, to other friends who are seeking peace in their lives?"