Tuesday, April 25, 2017 Feast of St. Mark

1 Samuel, Chapter 23, Verse 1-4
1 David was informed that the Philistines were attacking Keilah and plundering the threshing floors. 2 So he consulted the LORD, asking, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The LORD answered, Go, attack them, and free Keilah. 3 But David’s men said to him: “Even in Judah we have reason to fear. How much more so if we go to Keilah against the forces of the Philistines!” 4 Again David consulted the LORD, who answered: Go down to Keilah, for I will deliver the Philistines into your power.

Again we see David protecting the people; even the people who are the friends of Saul. The same Saul who; out of his envy, is seeking David and his follower’s deaths. David’s faith makes his actions beyond those of rational fairness; and David’s action show the very mercy of God.

St. Mark[1]

John Mark, later known simply as Mark, was a Jew by birth. He was the son of that Mary who was proprietress of the Cenacle or "upper room" which served as the meeting place for the first Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). He was still a youth at the time of the Savior's death. In his description of the young man who was present when Jesus was seized and who fled from the rabble leaving behind his "linen cloth," the second Evangelist might possibly have stamped the mark of his own identity. During the years that followed, the rapidly maturing youth witnessed the growth of the infant Church in his mother's Upper Room and became acquainted with its traditions. This knowledge he put to excellent use when compiling his Gospel. Later, we find Mark acting as a companion to his cousin Barnabas and Saul on their return journey to Antioch and on their first missionary journey. But Mark was too immature for the hardships of this type of work and therefore left them at Perge in Pamphylia to return home. As the two apostles were preparing for their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take his cousin with him. Paul, however, objected. Thereupon the two cousins undertook a missionary journey to Cyprus. Time healed the strained relations between Paul and Mark, and during the former's first Roman captivity (61-63), Mark rendered Paul valuable service (Col. 4:10; Philem. 24), and the Apostle learned to appreciate him. When in chains the second time Paul requested Mark's presence (2 Tim. 4:11). An intimate friendship existed between Mark and Peter; he played the role of Peter's companion, disciple, and interpreter. According to the common patristic opinion, Mark was present at Peter's preaching in Rome and wrote his Gospel under the influence of the prince of the apostles. This explains why incidents which involve Peter are described with telling detail (e.g., the great day at Capharnaum, 1:14f)). Little is known of Mark's later life. It is certain that he died a martyr's death as bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. His relics were transferred from Alexandria to Venice, where a worthy tomb was erected in St. Mark's Cathedral. The Gospel of St. Mark, the shortest of the four, is, above all, a Roman Gospel. It originated in Rome and is addressed to Roman, or shall we say, to Western Christianity. Another high merit is its chronological presentation of the life of Christ. For we should be deeply interested in the historical sequence of the events in our blessed Savior's life. Furthermore, Mark was a skilled painter of word pictures. With one stroke he frequently enhances a familiar scene, shedding upon it new light. His Gospel is the "Gospel of Peter," for he wrote it under the direction and with the aid of the prince of the apostles. "The Evangelist Mark is represented as a lion because he begins his Gospel in the wilderness, `The voice of one crying in the desert: Make ready the way of the Lord,' or because he presents the Lord as the unconquered King."

Patron: Against impenitence; attorneys; barristers; captives; Egypt; glaziers; imprisoned people; insect bites; lions; notaries; prisoners; scrofulous diseases; stained glass workers; struma; Diocese of Venice, Florida; Venice, Italy.

Symbols: Winged lion; fig tree; pen; book and scroll; club; barren fig tree; scroll with words Pax Tibi; winged and nimbed lion; lion.

Often Pictured as: Man writing or holding his gospel; man with a halter around his neck; lion in the desert; man with a book or scroll accompanied by a winged lion; holding a palm and book; holding a book with pax tibi Marce written on it; bishop on a throne decorated with lions; helping Venetian sailors; rescuing Christian slaves from Saracens.

Feast of St. Mark, the Patron Saint of Venice[2]

In Italy April 25th is Liberation Day, a national holiday commemorating the end of World War II in 1945 and the Nazi occupation of Italy. But for Venetians April 25th is an even older holiday, Festa di San Marco, or The Feast of St Mark. April 25th is the anniversary of St Mark’s death in 68 A.D. and in Venice is a lively celebration. Mass is held in the morning at Saint Mark’s Basilica, and there is music, dancing, concerts and carnivals throughout the day. Of course it wouldn’t be a festival in Venice without a Gondola Race! The "Regata di Traghetti" starts at the island of Sant’Elena and ends at the Punta della Dogana, at the entrance of the Grand Canal. One look at Saint Mark’s Square with Saint Mark’s Basilica is proof enough that the city is anything but subtle about their pride in their patron saint. The winged lion, which represents St Mark and is the famous symbol of the city of Venice, can also be found in Piazza San Marco, and all over Venice for that matter. Saint Mark may be a ubiquitous symbol in Venice today, but before the year 828 Saint Mark's remains were in Alexandria. Being an important maritime power, Venice needed equally important relics, a status symbol at the time. Venetian merchants Buono da Malamocco and Rustico da Torcello were up for the job, and smuggled Saint Mark’s remains from Alexandria into Venice. They accomplished the difficult task by hiding the relics in shipments of pork meat, which were understandably off-putting to the Islamic inspectors. Perhaps it’s because of the great effort taken to "import" Saint Mark’s remains that Venetians have always been so proud of their patron saint. 


Festival of the Blooming Rose


The celebration is also known as the "Festival of the Blooming Rose, " and it is tradition for men to give the woman they love a "bocolo," a red rose bud to symbolize their love. The legend surrounding the tradition of the rosebud centers on two star-crossed lovers, Maria Partecipazio, the Doge’s daughter, and Tancredi the troubadour. Maria was a beautiful noblewoman, whose father forbid her romance with Tancredi because of his lower social class. Tancredi enrolls in the army, seeking fame and glory through battle that would elevate his social status, making him able to return home worthy of Maria. He fought valiantly, but was ultimately killed in battle in Spain. Tancredi fell mortally wounded onto a rosebush, and with the last of his strength picked a rosebud and asked his friend Orlando the Paladin to take it back to Maria. Orlando returned to Venice on April 24th, and true to his word gave Maria the rosebud, still stained with Tancredi’s blood. The next day, on April 25th, Maria was found dead with the rose over her broken heart. So while flowers are always a welcome gesture, if you’re in Venice for April 25th, be sure to symbolize your eternal love with a red rosebud!

Daily Devotions/Prayers

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood

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