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FSC Associate Articles

The Gospel of Mark - Part 2 - Presenter Dawn Mayer - Saturday, May 18, 2024

By Mary Mosser, FSC Associate

In April, May and June, we are learning about the Gospel of Mark. In May, some of the topics Dawn covered in her presentation were Jesus’ miracles, His healings, the call of Levi (Matthew), the death of John the Baptist, conflict stories and parables.    

 

At the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is very busy. He cures the demonic, cures Simon’s mother-in-law, heals the leper, the paralytic, and the man with the withered hand.

 

Each table of Associates and Sisters in Marian Hall was given a miracle story from the list above to read, along with questions to answer. My table had the story of the man with a withered hand (Mark 3:1–6). In this story, Jesus cured a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. 

One of the questions we were given was: How do you think the people of approximately 70AD would hear this story? The answer was that it depends on if they were believers or non-believers. A non-believer would have responded similarly to the Pharisees in this story, arguing that Jesus should not cure on the Sabbath. If someone believed that Jesus was the Messiah, they would have felt hopeful to hear this story.  

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The Man with the Withered Hand 

by James Tissot

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The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn

Another question was: How does this story speak to us today?  One part of our response was that this story affirmed our belief that Jesus can and does still perform miracles even in our time. The second part of our answer was that this story shows we should do good even if it is controversial and counter cultural.  

 

After the group exercise, we discussed the story where Jesus calmed the sea (Mark 4: 35-41). Sitting in a boat on the sea of Galilee, Jesus had been teaching a crowd of people using parables.

As evening approached, Jesus instructed the disciples to go to the other side of the sea.  A storm arose, but Jesus was sleeping. The disciples were afraid, so they woke Jesus. He rebuked the wind and the storm died down.

 

Sudden storms were not unusual on the sea of Galilee. As experienced fishermen, Jesus’ disciples were familiar with the sea and would have known how to navigate a storm. After He had calmed the storm, Jesus asked the disciples why they had been afraid. Jesus made it clear that the storm was not the problem, but rather the disciples’ lack of faith.

 

We examined the message of this story to people of our time. When there are problems in our lives, we too may lose faith in God. We forget that God is always with us, and with His assistance, we can overcome the challenges in our lives.

We also discussed the story of Jarius’ daughter (Mark 5: 21–24, Mark 5: 35-43) Jarius is a synagogue official whose daughter was dying. Jarius asks Jesus to come to his house to heal his daughter, so Jesus departed with Jarius. By the time Jesus got to Jarius’ house, Jarius’ daughter had died. Jesus ignored the people who told Him that the little girl had died and went into the house. Jesus took the little girl’s hand and said, “Talitha koum” which means “Little girl, get up!” The little girl woke up and Jesus asked that she be given something to eat. Between the two sections of the story in Mark’s Gospel about the healing of Jarius’ daughter is the story of the woman with a hemorrhage.

 

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The Raising of Jairus' Daughter, by Henry Thomson

There is a women who had a hemorrhage for 12 years. She heard about Jesus’ healings, came up behind Him in the crowd, and touched His cloak. Immediately the woman was healed. Jesus realized that healing had gone out from Him and stopped to find out who had touched Him. The woman admitted she was the one who had touched Jesus’ cloak. Jesus called her “daughter” and told her that her faith had healed her.

Dawn showed us The Chosen episode that contained this story. Because she was bleeding from the hemorrhage, the women was considered unclean and should not have been in the crowd. However, the woman was very determined to get close enough to Jesus to touch His garment. She didn’t want to touch Jesus because she would have made Him unclean.  After Jesus stopped to find out who had touched Him, the episode showed how He really saw the woman as one of God’s children.

 

With the two healing stories in mind, Dawn asked us what was similar about them. For one thing, both referenced 12 years. The woman’s hemorrhage lasted for 12 years, and the little girl was 12 years old. Both women are called “daughter”. Also, in both stories, faith is an important factor in their healing.

 

The stories about faith and healing from part 2 of Dawn’s presentation were good lessons for reflection. I admire the woman with the hemorrhage, Jarius, and all those whose faith was so strong that they sought out Jesus to be healed.

The Gospel of Mark - Part 1 - Presenter Dawn Mayer - Saturday, April 27, 2024

By Mary Mosser, FSC Associate

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After our gathering prayer, the Associates and Sisters assembled in Marian Hall participated in a quiz.  Dawn presented several topics. For each topic, we voted “yes” or “no” if we thought that topic was in the Gospel of Mark. When we finished the quiz, we recognized that the Gospel of Mark is very sparse. It does not contain the Infancy Narrative, the Lord’s prayer, or the Beatitudes.   

 

The Gospel of Mark is the shortest and simplest Gospel with16 Chapters.  The Sunday readings at Mass follow a three-year cycle using the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Since the Gospel of Mark is shorter than the other two Gospels, the church adds readings from the Gospel of Luke or the Gospel of John when needed.

Written in Greek for a Gentile audience around the year 65AD, the Gospel of Mark was the first Gospel composed. This Gospel was possibly used to proclaim or preach about Jesus’ life.  It contains repetition which would support the theory that it was written to be preached.

 

Dawn had explained the “Q” source theory in one of her previous presentations. The “Q” source is a document of Jesus’ teachings that was used by the Gospel writers. However, it is thought that Mark did not have the “Q” source when he wrote his Gospel because much of the contents of “Q” are not in Mark’s Gospel.

The Gospel of Mark contains very vivid details, which are not found in the Gospels of Luke or Matthew.  In this Gospel, the most human picture of Jesus is shown.  Jesus becomes hungry and tired, and He displays a full range of emotions, including pity, anger, sadness, compassion, strong displeasure, and love.  The disciples are portrayed as self-centered and unperceptive. They deny Jesus and don’t get a chance to redeem themselves.

 

Contrary to what was originally believed, the Gospel of Mark is not a simple book.  It contains different narrative techniques and organizations.  It uses historical present, which means that it tells stories in the present tense as if they are happening now.  This is used to draw the reader into the story.  

Another technique used is Parataxis, which is stringing together short, loosely connected episodes.  Of the 678 verses in the Gospel of Mark, 410 of them started with “and” in the original Greek.  Mark’s Gospel also contains instances of intercalation, which is narrating two stories simultaneously.  

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Head of Christ

by  Antonio da Correggio 

(1521)

The Gospel of Mark starts with the following: The Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Around the time that this Gospel was written, people assumed that Jesus would return soon.  When Jesus came back, there would be more Good News. The Gospel of Mark is an urgent Gospel.  Mark is telling the people to change their ways to prepare for Jesus’ return.

 

In this Gospel, Jesus doesn’t tell people that He is the Messiah. This is the Messianic Secret. The identity of Jesus as the Messiah is revealed at the end of the Gospel when Jesus suffers and dies.

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The Gospel of Mark is divided into three sections which are as follows: Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, journeying to Jerusalem and Jesus’ time in Jerusalem.  There are two endings to this Gospel. The first ending stops with the empty tomb; Jesus has risen from the dead.  The second ending was added on later, most likely by someone other than Mark.

 

I found part 1 of what some would call the most overlooked Gospel to be very interesting.  As with the other Gospels, the Gospel of Mark had a purpose and was written for a specific audience.  There were several things in Dawn’s presentation that I hadn’t heard before.  One was the likelihood that this Gospel was written to be preached.  I’m looking forward to the next two presentations on the Gospel of Mark.

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