Today, April 25, is the Feast Day of St. Mark. We’re also in Year B of the lectionary cycle — the prescribed readings for church each Sunday in the Lutheran Church, among others — which is the year of Mark. That’s why most of the Gospel readings in church this year have been from Mark’s Gospel (although we turn to John and Luke during Easter, since Mark’s Gospel ends abruptly at the women’s discovery of the empty tomb).
Mark was not numbered among the twelve apostles, yet he was probably a member of the early church community. The Gospel that bears his name is the shortest and most direct, and many scholars think it was the first to be written.
He may have been a cousin of St. Barnabas (Colossians 4:10) or a son of St. Peter (1 Peter 5:13); at any rate, he accompanies St. Paul and St. Barnabas on their missions in Acts 12 and 13 and is last mentioned journeying on with St. Barnabas in Acts 15.
Mark’s symbol is a winged lion. He is the patron saint of both Venice, Italy and the diocese of Venice, Florida, as well as of attorneys, glaziers, captives, and against insect bites and scrofulous diseases.