St. Mark, Evangelist
1 Peter 5:5b-14; Mark 16:15-20
This past weekend Chicago was invaded by a host of people dressed as superheroes, anti-heroes and fantasy creatures of various kinds for the annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo or C2E2. It was their opportunity to “geek out” and be with others who are part of the popular subculture of comic books, graphic novels, online gaming, movies, etc. It’s big business: a three-day advance purchase pass cost $80 and an autographed photo with a favorite star could set you back $50-$75…and that’s before picking up a t-shirt, hoodie, cap or some other merchandise.
I imagine that even if they never attend C2E2 or Comic-Con, most people would think that having a superpower of some sort would be pretty cool. Being able to fly or swing from lamppost to lamppost on a steely web would make the daily commute here in Chicago a lot shorter…and a lot more interesting!
In today’s gospel reading Jesus assures the Eleven that various signs or “superpowers” will accompany believers: driving out demons, speaking new languages, picking up snakes and drinking deadly things. However, he doesn’t explicitly guarantee that all believers will be so graced. For most of us, our gifts and talents are more mundane.
St. Mark’s gift was writing and telling stories in succinct but compelling ways. His gospel became the framework on which two others (Matthew and Luke) were built and for the past 1950 years or so it has been used to bring generations of people to Christ and to help them grow as disciples. When I am approached by people who have never studied the Bible but are interested in starting, I often recommend the Gospel of Mark.
Most of us would do the world a favor by trying not to wear a cape, tights and body armor; and for most of us picking up a deadly snake, drinking poison or trying to cast out a demon isn’t a good idea. But God has given all of us gifts, talents or powers of some kind. Whether or not they are “super” depends on how we use them, in whose name we use them, and for whom we use them. If we use them for God’s glory, the spread of the gospel and to serve others we can be assured that the Lord will work with us, too, and confirm the word through accompanying signs.—JC