For Palm Sunday every year we have the reading for the Passion of Jesus. One year it’s from Luke, one year from Matthew; this year it’s from Mark. Luke’s account is a fourth longer than Mark’s. Matthew’s is a third longer. They have some of our favorite parts: like the weeping women of Jerusalem and the good thief who would be with Jesus in Paradise.
What Mark’s story of the Passion has is authenticity, even intimacy. He seems to have been the boy wrapped in a bed sheet who followed the crowd that captured Jesus. When soldiers grabbed his sheet, he left it behind, running home naked. He knew not only Simon of Cyrene, he also knew Simon’s sons Alexander and Rufus.
Mark’s was the first Gospel written, with Matthew and Luke borrowing large chunks of it for their accounts.
Mark wrote to change the minds of those who felt that a person crucified as a traitor could not be the Savior. Mark demonstrated that it was by holding strong through the insults and pain that Jesus demonstrated himself to be the Savior.