Today we celebrate the feast of St. Mark who wrote the first of the four Gospels. He might have been the only writer of a Gospel who was actually an eyewitness of what his Gospel described. We take him to have been the boy who followed the soldiers who led Jesus from the Garden of Olives to the home of the high priest. We see him as the cousin of Barnabas, and as the companion of Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. To his shame, partway through that journey he became homesick, deserting the apostles. Then, after he matured, he became a valuable companion to St. Peter, going on to found the Church in Alexandria.
A careful reading of his Gospel leads us to suppose he wrote it to silence those who were saying that because he was executed as a criminal, Jesus could not be the Messiah.
Mark’s Gospel of seventeen chapters breaks evenly into two halves. His first eight and a half chapters gives all the miracles and fulfillments of prophecies that show that Jesus had to be the Savior. The second eight and a half chapters of his Gospel, leading up to his hanging naked on the cross, far from showing that Jesus was not the Savior, actually dramatize the inhumanly heroic way by which he saved us all.