This Wednesday, April 25, is the feast of Saint Mark,  the author of the first Gospel, and the companion of St. Paul. It is the patronal feast of our Sister Diocese, San Marcos in Guatemala and today our Global Solidarity Committee will celebrate the 15th anniversary of our partnership. Some of the “Marquenses” who have immigrated to our Diocese over these past 25 years will be there at the celebration in Chesapeake City. I hope that our parish will begin to take a modest part in assisting the efforts to ensure a truly human life for these brothers and sisters.

            I was confirmed on April 25, and without realizing it was his feast, took “Mark” as my Confirmation name. The disciple’s actual name was in fact “John Mark”, so I have wondered from time to time how my way of life embodies the faith of St. Mark. Several things have occurred to me: 

(1) Mark’s gospel, the earliest presents a very human Jesus: he is angered by human injustice and mistreatment; he cries out to God in his suffering. This encourages me.  (2) Mark is usually identified with the young man who followed Jesus to the garden wrapped in a sheet but fled naked when they tried to seize him. He also was dropped by St. Paul because he lost heart on the first missionary journey and turned back. However, at the end of Paul’s life (Colossians 4:10) he is once again a trusted companion. In fact, he is at Peter’s side also, in Rome, when the chips are down (cf 1 Peter 5:13)

            This quality of starting off with enthusiasm, then stopping when an obstacle appears, and trying to avoid it, but finally coming back strong to finish, seems to me to be part of my sacred history. I know I have let down at times on my commitments out of fear or sloth or discouragement, but “by God’s grace I am what I am.” That long-ago confirmation has deepened and extended my soul over these many years, since I received at age 11. So I pray or our newly confirmed to be “strong, loving and wise,” however long it may take.

                                    Father John Hynes