St. Mark the Evangelist

The John Mark in Rabbi Lucas’ Acts 12:122515:37 is widely accepted as Rabbi Paul ’s Mark in Col 4:10 and 2 Tim 4:11, and Rabbi Kefa’s in 1 Pet 5:13. Rabbi Kefa’s “my son Mark” 1 Pet 5:13 refers to the widely accepted tradition that the Christian community in Rome asked Rabbi Marcus to write down Rabbi Kefa’s teachings, which makes the Second Gospel a record of Rabbi Yeshua’s life and teachings as Rabbi Kefa understood them while he was in Rome.

Among the four evangelists, Rabbi Marcus particularly modeled humility. In the Garden of Gethsemane, at the time of Rabbi Yeshua‘s arrest, when all who had been with him fled, “A young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body; and they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked” Mk 14:5152. Only a humble man would have included this detail in his own Gospel; none of the other Gospels refer to it. Rabbi Marcus was evidently a young man. Rabbi Paul and Rabbi Barnabas brought him with them when they went to Antioch. Acts 12:25. Rabbi Marcus evidently became their assistant, “And they had John to assist them” Acts 13:5. His Gospel is also appreciably shorter than the other three. But, while everything about Rabbi Marcus suggests “junior” compared with the other evangelists, his Gospel is always ranked equally with the other canonical gospels.

Rabbi Marcus was closely associated with Rabbi Paul during their missionary journey through the island of Cyprus Acts 13:45. Evidently at the start of their journeys Rabbi Paul was still known as Rabbi Shaul Acts 13:2 and Rabbi Marcus was still known as Yokhanan (John). About that time the Jewish Rabbi Shaul changed his name to Paul Acts 13:9, revealing his Roman citizenship Acts 22:2728.

About that same time the Jewish Yokhanan (John) also began using the Latin (Roman) name Marcus (Mark) Acts 12:122515:37. Certainly being called Marcus in Rome made his life easier than it would have been as Yokhanan. We can see the effects of the Roman imperial presence in his Gospel.

The Catholic Church’s official language remains Latin. Divino Afflante Spiritu § 21, Dei Verbum § 22. Holy Mother Church has consistently called him in Latin Marcus. St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate consistently calls him MarcusActs 12:12Acts 12:25Acts 15:37Col 4:102 Tim 4:11; 1 Pet 5:13. And so we always speak of St. Mark’s Gospel.

Since he was certainly Jewish, and was known as Marcus during his most influential time with us, he was most likely called Rabbi Marcus. So we call him here.

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