St. Mark

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Mark.
St. Mark is one of the four evangelists, and his symbol is the Lion. He was a big, strong man with a long nose and a beard. His mother was named Mary and his cousin was St. Barnabas. It is believed that it was at St. Mark’s house where was celebrated the Last Supper and it was where Christians often met.
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Mark was baptized by St. Peter, whom he followed to Rome in the year 42. He was St. Peter’s assistant. In Rome, the people asked Mark to write down what St. Peter remembered about the Lord, and so he wrote the gospel. Peter looked it over and approved it. Then Peter sent St. Mark to Egypt, where he preached the gospel.
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The church grew quickly there, and many miracles were also done by St. Mark. St. Mark’s thumb had been amputated, and so he thought he could never be a priest or say Mass, because of this disfigurment.[i] But St. Peter ordained him a priest anyway, and then made him bishop of Alexandria.
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One day, St. Mark’s shoe fell apart, and so he took it to a man who fixes shoes. But while the man was mending his shoe, he injured his hand; St. Mark mixed clay with saliva, just like Jesus did, and rubbed it on the wound, which healed instantly. So the man took Mark to his home and asked him many questions. St. Mark told him that he is a servant of Jesus Christ, and the man said: ‘I would like to see him.’ ‘I will show him to you, said Mark, and he instructed him in the teachings of Christ, and the man and his whole family were baptized.
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Now in those days, many enemies of the Church plotted against St. Mark, because he was a great teacher. They attacked him while he was celebrating Mass on Easter. Putting a rope around his neck, they dragged him through the city, shouting: ‘let’s haul this wild ox to the slaughterhouse.’ Being dragged, his flesh was cut on the pavement, and the road was drenched with blood. Then he was put in jail, where Jesus appeared to him saying, “Mark, my evangelist, fear not! I will deliver you.’ The next day they again dragged him through the city, until he died as a martyr. His body exuded a wonderful, sweet, odor, so much so, that it could be smelled throughout the entire city of Alexandria.
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His tomb today is in Venice, at the great church of St. Mark near the sea. [ii] St. Mark is the patron saint of attorneys, stained glass workers, insect bites, and lions.

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[i] this is also referenced by Thomas in Summa, Under The States of Life, Q. 185 a2

[ii] The Venetians came to bring his body to Venice, but while they were doing so, men on another ship began to doubt that it was really the body of St. Mark.  With that, the ship carrying St. Mark’s body, suddenly turned around at astonishing speed and rammed that ship of doubters.

 

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